Dutch symphonic metal band Delain released their fifth CD, Moonbathers, last month. It’s nothing unexpected; driving melodies, lavish orchestration, and the angelic voice of Charlotte Wessels. In other words, the same old, exceptional Delain. The anticipated follow-up to February’s Lunar Prelude speaks to familiar archetypes. There are 11 theatrical songs on love and loss, good and evil, and of course, perseverance. Guest vocalist Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy, ex-The Agonist) returns to kick off the first track,”Hands of Gold.” Power riffs and strings forge an aggressive melody, perhaps Delain’s heaviest offering to date. The contrast between Wessels’ airiness and White-Gluz’ eerie gutteral death growls is sublime. It’s the perfect song to set the mood and tone of a CD that feels more like a performance than a recording.
Beyond that, there aren’t many highlights to note. Each song is as exquisite as the one before. Every musician in Delain is a master of their craft, so perfection is a given. Wessels may, if it’s possible, be even better than in previous recordings. In “Chrysalis – The Last Breath,” her familiar falsetto is on display, but she belts out some hair-raising notes from her chest. If there are any other surprises, it’s the Queen cover “Scandal” with its Abba-On-Metal feel.
Moonbathers is a gorgeous combination of assailing metal tunes and etherial ballads, delivering an elegant and majestic escape. In other words, it’s exactly what Delain lovers have come to expect.