Ryan Murray | Co-Owner | Chief Editor | Contributor
📸 – Andrea Falaschi
In February of 2021, fans of Delain got a huge shock when they found out the band would be dissolving, and that Delain would be continuing as a solo project by founder, keyboardist and main song writer Martijn Westerholt. Surrounded by much uncertainty, Westerholt announced that the Delain would revert to its original format of a project; working with different guest musicians.
A few months later in June however, it was announced that the band would indeed continue on as a live band and that a new lineup would shortly be announced, still keeping the same DNA that Delain is known for. Original members Sander Zoer (drums) and Ronald Landa (guitar) were then announced as returning, followed by the introduction of Delain’s new bass player in May of 2022, Ludovico Cioffi.
With a new and re-energized lineup just about set, the band released their first new single on August 9th of 2022 entitled “The Quest and the Curse”, along with announcing Diana Leah as the new lead singer of the band.
“Dark Waters”, releasing February 10th via Napalm Records not only sees an undeniable, fresh energy that Delain needed to keep things moving forward, but also sees the band comfortably setting the stage for having created what could be one of their most successful albums to date.
From start to finish, this album has an incredibly organic flow to it, both instrumentally and vocally. Everything from the incredible orchestrations Delain is known for, to the pop elements, catchy melodic hooks, cinematic, score-like epics and just straight up metal, this album is filled with excitement from start to finish.
With Diana Leah’s history as a Trance/EDM artist who is used to using more ethereal-like vocals, this new album gave her the chance to reflect on and draw from her metal/symphonic metal inspirations and to really explore the different aspects of her incredible vocal capabilities!
With tracks such as “Hideaway Paradise” and “Moth to a Flame”, these two tracks are great examples of how pop has successfully blended in with a more guitar-driven symphonic metal sound. Diana’s vocals on tracks like these are more ethereal at times, yet in a more playful way. “Moth to a Flame” even reminds me of Lil Suzy from the 90’s, yet includes some incredible riffing to go along with the pop vibe.
“The Quest and the Curse”, “The Cold”, “Invictus” and “Underland” see the more epic tracks on the album! Filled with bombastic guitars, incredible and powerful string arrangements, and a live choir on “The Cold”, these tracks are sure to be live favorites! Diana’s vocals are incredible here. Having only heard her trance/EDM music in the past, I didn’t know what to expect with the bigger sound Delain can bring, but she absolutely nails it! From her more powerful chest voice, to the soft, yet powerful head voice, Diana’s vocals compliment the band in a powerful way. “Invictus” even sees the incredible vocals of Paolo Ribaldini and Marko Hietala (ex-Nightwish)! With everything Marko has been going through, it was heart-warming to hear his vocals shine yet again!
“Tainted Hearts” sees a deep dive into the creative mind of Westerholt, with breath-taking arrangements and catchy melodic hooks that leave you wanting more. The darker, yet hauntingly beautiful tracks such as “Beneath”, “Mirror of Night” (feat Within Temptation’s Ruud Jolie) and “Queen of Shadow” shows a somewhat less epic, yet beautifully crafted darker side to the album. These tracks have got it all – great melodies and melodic, yet heavy guitars, all woven into incredible orchestrations and instrumental arrangements. Paolo Ribaldini amazing vocals can be heard again here, who definitely highlights the vocals on this track.
Closing out the album is a beautiful orchestrated and piano version of “The Quest and the Curse”, which sees a whole different energy and vibe, giving off a more intimate and heart-felt performance of this song. The vocals and instruments are simply beautiful.