Apocalypse & Chill
MELODIC SYMPHONIC METAL: Dutch rockers Delain offer some new surprises to its fans on its delectable sixth full-length album, Apocalypse & Chill.
For one, the abundant usage of infectious electronic/dance music influences is on display even more than on their previous material, yet in a very unobtrusive, classy way. Secondly, Delain still flirts with pop elements, but now they add even more melodic synth hooks combined with some new world music and gothic influences, creating a cinematic atmosphere. Thirdly, the guitars have some added heft to them (“Combustion”), where the whole band gets to shine instrumentally. And lastly, the use of choir vocal harmonies and various orchestral elements (“Legions of the Lost,” “Chemical Redemption,” Burning Bridges”) adds more musical depth that the band hasn’t explored nearly to this extent on previous releases.
Vocalist Charlotte Wessels is on fire throughout the entire album, as are the rest of the band—keyboardist Martijn Westerholt, guitarist Timo Somers, bassist Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije, and drummer Joey de Boer—most notably on album closer “Combustion,” which is an explosive instrumental giving them the time to flex their musical chops.
The band’s lyrical inspiration is also quite reflective, introducing personal and social commentary including everyday life experiences from an inside looking out perspective of what’s happening in the world around us. There are some various apocalyptic and dystopian tracks such as “Creatures,” “Legions of the Lost,” and “Let’s Dance,” which is about a doomsday rave. By contrast, there are also some very melancholic love songs (“Ghost House Heart,” “The Greatest Escape”), which keep the album diverse and interesting.
First single/video “Burning Bridges” combines melody with aggression to achieve a happy medium. The riffs are heavy, the orchestral elements add a cinematic quality, and Wessels’ dynamic range is infectious, complete with heavier growled vocals from guitarist Timo Somers. Beast In Black’s Yannis Papadoupolis serves as guest vocalist on the energetic album opener “One Second,” giving the vocal juxtaposition a nice underlying heaviness to Wessels’ sweetly sung harmonies.
Delain has been pushing the boundaries within the symphonic metal genre for 18 years now and only keeps getting better and better. Apocalypse & Chill is so infectious, melodic yet heavy, and aggressive—just enough to please the staunchest of metalheads. ~ Kelley Simms