REVIEW: DELAIN – “Apocalypse & Chill”
In the scene of symphonic metal, Delain have established themselves a status that is nothing sort of being legendary. The past decade has of the band’s music has shown the band’s versatility and uncompromising dedication towards music and their art. Delain’s latest offering ‘Apocalypse & Chill’ is another great album keeping in tune with the band’s efforts of making exceptional albums since their beginnings.
Their newest offering stands out a little from all their past work. So let us dive right in. ‘Apocalypse & Chill’ is a pretty long album with 13 songs. The album opens up with “One Second”. The new side of the band’s sound is not so direct from the first moment. But soon enough, with the new production style, the use of a hook that trades places between vocal arrangements and instrumentations is the band’s cue to slowly ease in its new sounds. The riffs are heavier and I was taken by surprise too. The vocals hook sort of reminded me a little of ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ by the legendary composer Ennio Morricone.
“We Had Everything” is largely a synth driven song. At this point it is well established that the band is not just reorienting its style with heavier riffs on the guitars but also a heavier approach on the syth side of things. The orchestral elements add up very nicely here. “Chemical Redemption” too heavily sets the vibe going with heavy synth and guitar sections. The choir arrangements in the song coupled with the brass sections sounded fantastic. With songs like “Vengence”, “To Live Is To Die”, “Let’s Dance” and “Creatures”, the band follows a particular stylistic that now sets itself as the motif in the album in respect to carving a sound. While timbre in the music across all the instrumental sections and the beautiful singing adds a rich lush of textures, the riff work on the instrumental side make these textures much more intricate. Of course, one could argue that some of these instrumental parts are not technically complex. But what makes it rather wonderful is that the band knew exactly what works with quality and timbre of sounds that their playing in respect to their music puts out. This playing style creates a ton of space to really get deep into the variety of sounds in the music.
“Ghost House Heart” is the shortest song off the record coming in just shy of three minutes. It takes a back seat from all the action and heat on the record with the lovely singing and soft yet massive sounding orchestral parts. I think its a great break in the album that slowly builds a hype for the remainder of the album. “Masters of Destiny” picks up the pace from where “Ghost House Heart” left off, proceeding into a bang that opens up all the huge arrangements that the band has been setting in stone so far. “Legions of the Lost” and “The Greatest Escape” set themselves as massive epic sounding songs that usher in the end of the album. These songs herald in the crescendo of the album as the closing song “Combustion” approaches. “Combustion” sums up the whole album. Long drawn out sounds with a mellow yet well paced intro that opens up the song into a heavy and destructive riff rich epic. The instrumental extravagance is quintessentially what modern metal sounds like today. A fitting close to a great album.
‘Apocalypse & Chill’ by Delain is a well-thought-out, well-written and superbly produced album. The lyrics touch a personal note and also get nicely political. It’s always a wonderful thing to see a band talk themes and ideas that matter and impact all of us. The wonderful thing about Delain is that in the process of talking about things that matter, they gave a fitting soundtrack to all of it- a sound evocative the possibility of a violent end or well, an apocalypse. But the music reminds us while the possibility of an apocalypse is around the corner, none of us are going down without a fight. The band has once again demonstrated their writing and playing skills superbly. Of course, irrespective of who you are or what music you are into, you cannot help but fall in love with the singing on this superb record. The record sounds fantastic, fresh and modern. Delain’s vision of the band’s sound very nicely blends a modern metal sound with many typical symphonic metal sounds with either overpowering the other. This is a well made album that should not be given a miss.