Delain - The Human Contradiction review


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Band: Delain
Album: The Human Contradiction
Release date: April 2014

Disc I
01. Here Come The Vultures
02. Your Body Is A Battleground
03. Stardust
04. My Masquerade
05. Tell Me, Mechanist
06. Sing To Me
07. Army Of Dolls
08. Lullaby
09. The Tragedy Of The Commons

Disc II [limited edition bonus]
01. Scarlet
02. Don't Let Go
03. My Masquerade [live]
04. April Rain [live]
05. Go Away [live]
06. Sever [live]
07. Stay Forever [live]
08. Sing To Me [orchestral version]
09. Your Body Is A Battleground [orchestral version]

Beware! Accessible melodic metal alert!

Now that the wrist-slitting kvlt readers are gone, we can focus on Delain, which hardly needs introducing as one of the more popular female-fronted symphonic metal bands around as an offshoot of sorts from Within Temptation. Loyal readers may recall my scathing review of their previous release We Are The Others, but being a fan of their first two albums, my expectations were still there.

Either my prayers were answered or the band had simply taken some criticism on board, because their latest opus - The Human Contradiction - sounds considerably more inspired to say the least. One may accuse the band of playing pop dressed in metal, but just like good metal and bad metal music, there are better written pop tunes, and thankfully the songs sound much better this time round, and each track has some individual character. In fact, the whole album brings a darker sound, and some much welcomed bite. Just don't expect to feel the urge to hang your useless self-sort of darkness, nor the savage bite of a berserk werewolf equipped with whirring chainsaws. It is more of a brooding feel of yearning, or some sort of witch-like playfulness, depending on the track you're listening to, while the bite is more of a feisty feline one, which suits this type of music very well.

Despite being absent in the last record, Marco Hietala returns to lend his signature vocals to a couple of tracks, whereas George Oosthoek adds some unexpected harsh growls for that extra dimension that works well as opposed to being there for the sake of giving the beauty-and-the-beast formula a whirl. Newly minted Arch Enemy vocalist Alissa White-Gluz also makes an appearance to add more growls. Although that track does sound too simplistic for my tastes, it's hard to write an album with hits for every single track, right?

It's not as if Delain had done anything particularly crazy on this album. I am glad that they decided not to go down the route of having those mega-bombastic choir / orchestra productions, but the inspiration levels are clearly at an all-time high for the band, which has restored my faith in them as one of the elite female fronted acts.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Written on 07.06.2014 by Ag Fox loves listening to music but is far from being a prolific writer. This corner just shows how territorial he is.


Comments: 11   Visited by: 232 users
07.06.2014 - 17:01
We are the Others had some good songs, but was hit or miss (I read an interview where the band hinted at outside distractions affecting the album). This album is through and through quality stuff. Charlotte is the highlight and focal point here and she more than delivers amidst crunchy guitars and catchy rhythms. From the lyrics to the delivery she reminds me of what I loved so much about April Rain. The tracklisting is also set up marvelously (something most bands royally screw up). One of my favorites of the year so far.
08.06.2014 - 10:57
Yeah this album is miles ahead of the previous one, at first I didn't like how poppy it was but the songs are just so catchy.
08.06.2014 - 13:06
I...I don't know why, buy face on cover remind me of my 50 year orthodonthist doctor.
08.06.2014 - 14:37
Au Pays Natal
Their last album was such a bummer that I had no desire to listen to this one. With your words you have instilled some hope, will check it out. Thanks!
08.06.2014 - 16:11
R Lewis
That Useless Guy
Same as tea[m]ster. Think I'll have to check this one too. Thanks for the review.
We could be so much more than we are. Stop.
08.06.2014 - 19:56
What I like about this album is that it isn't heavily doused in symphonic elements like Epica's newest. For a slight poppy, melodic metal album, it's pretty decent album
09.06.2014 - 18:13
Hey this is pretty good! My favorite by them by far, sweeeet.
09.06.2014 - 20:11
Great album, one of the few to overcome the expectations this year.
10.06.2014 - 03:35
Something is missing with this album, but I can't put my finger on it.

On paper, it has everything. Great vocals, great music, great melodies, catchiness... but for some reason listening to it feels a bit tiresome.

The only thing I can think of is maybe that a lot of the choruses are too simplistic. I'm all for catchy choruses, but a lot of the chorus melodies on this album are about 1-3 seconds long and then just repeated over and over.

"Lullaby" (basically same word/melody makes up the entire chorus)
"Sing To Me" (same thing again, just with the words "sing to me" repeated)
My Masquerade

These songs are all catchy, but with each of them the entire song seems to revolve around 3-4 seconds worth of musical ideas.

7.5/10 for me. Maybe an 8. I still think it's a good album.
10.06.2014 - 23:54
Written by Ag Fox on 09.06.2014 at 20:11

I am glad that they decided not to go down the route of having those mega-bombastic choir / orchestra productions

That would have been good in my opinion. I'm actually glad they didn't go down the shameless cheesy pop route. Well, at least not all the way.

It's nice the sound is heavier than the previous album but there are still some elements that don't fit in very well, like for instance Charlotte's jazzy singing style in some songs like "Here Come The Vultures".

While a few songs are reminiscent of the first 2 albums other remind me of Garbage (the band) -pay attention to "My Masquerade". Actually, now that I think of it, maybe Charlotte was inspired by Shirley Manson at some point.
07.12.2014 - 15:46
Wow! It doesn't suck! I am pleasantly shocked. You're right about how it "brings a darker sound, and some much welcomed bite."

Also, the vocals are much stronger than I remember.

Their first album was cute, generic, very pretty, yet too overloaded w guests for the band to have their own sound of any kind. The next two went progressively downhill. Finally now they do something that's theirs and that's good. Never thought it'd happen. Congratulations to them A good balance of pop and metal.
"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs

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