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Delain have always been a bit of a quandary for me to fully understand. They were seemingly thrust into the rock/metal limelight, mostly due to having Charlotte Wessels on vocals. We all know sex sells but I'm not at all keen on a band being promoted purely on the basis of looks and talents other than a good voice or musical prowess. Unfortunately, I seem to be in a minority with that opinion as both Huntress and Halestorm, amongst others, have received copious amount of space in 'scene' publications, whilst utterly failing to produce anything of real quality in a musical sense. There are, of course, plenty of superb female singers and musicians out there who deserve lots of coverage but never seem to get it. However, when I've listened to Delain in the past, I've always quite liked them, and now they've arrived with album number four, 'The Human Contradiction', and I do have to say I think it's their best album to date.

In their chosen genre of melodic/pop/goth metal Delain don't do anything particularly original, but what they have done with nearly every song on this album is make them so ridiculously catchy that you find yourself singing along almost immediately. This also seems heavier than previous albums and the gothic and symphonic influences appear much more to the fore. Miss Wessels does indeed have a very good voice and it perfectly suits the material here. Of course, the other issue with having a female singer who always seems to be the subject of pictures/interviews is that the rest of the band sometimes get overlooked and, even though Martin Westerholt (keyboards) and Timo Somers (guitar) are very good at what they do, I bet you some 'fans' of the band wouldn't be able to name them if asked! Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije (bass) and Sander Zoer (drums) also keep everything tight without really having anything too much asked of them. As per usual with a Delain release, there are several guest vocalists. Marco Hietala (Nightwish) makes another appearance on 'Your Body Is A Battleground' and the fabulous 'Sing To Me' (my favourite track here), George Oosthoek (Celestial Season) lends his growl on 'Tell Me, Mechanist' and new Arch Enemy vocalist Alissa White Gluz puts in a somewhat muted performance on final track 'The Tragedy Of The Commons'. If there is one weak track then it's 'My Masquerade', which has a chorus that's been done far too often before and is overlong.

My apologies to Delain if this is a somewhat rantish review but, ironically, you only have to read the many ridiculous comments that have been written recently over the aforementioned Alissa White Gluz's 'promotion' to Arch Enemy, and even more ironically the announcement of Vicky Psarakis, Alissa's replacement in The Agonist to see that many people put looks before talent. A very sad state of affairs indeed but if you want to listen to an extremely good album from a female fronted band then Delain's 'The Human Contradiction' is a great choice because, musically, they have delivered.
Napalm Records
Review by Rick Tilley
7th April 2014
1) Here Come the Vultures
2) Your Body is a Battleground
3) Stardust
4) My Masquerade
5) Tell Me, Mechanist
6) Sing to Me
7) Army of Dolls
8) Lullaby
9) The Tragedy of the Commons
"...their best album to date."