Charlotte Wessels' track-by-track guide to Delain's new album Moonbathers

The cover artwork for Delain's new album Moonbathers

“We didn’t want to let the milestone of our decade in music go by without a proper celebration,” says Delain’s Charlotte Wessels. It’s been a busy year for the Dutch symphonic rockers; first came their EP, Lunar Prelude, in February, and their fifth studio album Moonbathers will follow on August 26. As well as nine new songs and a Queen cover, it’ll feature a bonus CD of live tracks, and their anniversary concert in Amsterdam in December will be filmed for a live DVD.

“We’ve always got our eyes focused on the future – planning tours and music, so we thought our 10-year anniversary was a nice opportunity to step back,” says Charlotte. “We thought it’s the perfect occasion to make the live DVD fans have been asking for for ages. We’re inviting a lot of guests [to the anniversary show] and we’re making a documentary as well which we’re filming now.”

Charlotte admits it’s a ‘costly’ project, so the band set up a PledgeMusic campaign to enable it to happen. “We reached our 100% goal in no time,” she says. “Anything that comes in over the goal will go to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which we’ve supported for a very long time.”

In the run-up to the release Moonbathers, we asked Charlotte to give us a track-by-track guide.

Hands Of Gold

“We’ve been playing with a lot of upbeat orchestral riffs and Hands of Gold came out of that. It’s a collage of all the books and movies I’ve been watching and reading lately. When I wrote Alyssa [White-Gluz]’s part I was actually reading an old poem by Oscar Wilde, and it fits so perfectly within the lyrics that I adapted it to the song’s phrasing. So the part that Alyssa is singing is part of an Oscar Wilde poem, and I really like the way she interpreted it.”

The Glory and the Scum

“This is the only song [on the new album] that we’ve already performed live. A lot of people get confused because when we played it live, it was written as Claw Finger on the set list. So to those people confused that Claw Finger is not on the album, it is! The lyrics are inspired by a book called The Better Angels of Our Nature by Stephen Pinker, which is a history of violence in humankind. I know that might not sound very uplifting but the general conclusion of the book is that we live in one of the most peaceful times ever. I got that book from a friend when I was feeling really down because of all the violence in the world, and he said it would make me feel better. It actually did. The lyrics are inspired by that, and the title is from a quote from a 17th-century philosopher.”

Sucker Punch

“This is a more upbeat track about fighting your own demons. It’s in the shape of a love song or breakup song, but that’s a metaphor – it’s about taking on your own demons as well, whether that’s a toxic relationship with someone outside of you or whether it is a challenge within yourself. We used it as our first song live now and it’s a really cool set opener.”

The Hurricane

“This really wrote itself. I had the lyrics and the melody and [keys player] Martijn Westerholt was experimenting with some crazy beats. I could take what I was writing and put it on there and it was such a perfect match. We took it from there, and I think Martijn worked on the middle part and made some really nice orchestral parts. It came together really easily. It was a very nice and smooth writing process for that track.”

Chrysalis – The Last Breath

“Formally this was just called The Last Breath. It’s based on a film script. We met a movie director in LA; he had a film script and he was a Delain fan and asked if we could write a song about the protagonist’s struggles. I could kind of relate to it, and it was a hard song to write because it’s kind of depressing. I was going into a lot of stuff emotionally that I didn’t feel like going into. I did break my one songwriting rule and that is, as a lyricist, no matter how dark a song starts, there should be a light at the end of the tunnel because I don’t want to glorify feeling miserable. I just couldn’t find the light with this song. I can’t say too much about the film it was for, but it was about a teenage girl dealing with certain emotional stress that I could relate to.”

Fire With Fire

“This one has a real rock vibe, and I’m looking forward to doing it live. It’s a party track with quite positive lyrics, about not having people walk over you or steal your fire. So it’s a bit of a lighter note after Chrysalis, and I think it will definitely be a live favourite.”


“This is quite a heavy track. On both Pendulum and The Glory and the Scum, I do grunts for the first time – just on the backing vocals, but for me it’s a first to do that on a record. Pendulum is also one of the earlier tracks that we feel set the tone for the album, like the heaviness of the riffs. Thematically, I’m someone who doesn’t care about growing old. I can’t wait to be old and wise and grey and I’m not as obsessed with being young or looking back as women are told to be by commercials. But Pendulum is one track about wanting to slow down time every now and then. I wrote the lyrics right after the passing of my grandmother which happened a few days before we had to go on tour. It was a very sad and stressful time because I felt I couldn’t be part of that process of saying goodbye.”

Danse Macabre

“This one is also based on the film script. It’s basically a teen horror, so some of the stuff is totally out there. The protagonist flirts with death but decides to stick around. The gist of this song is her looking death straight in the eyes and saying, ‘one day, but not today’. It comes from a completely different angle to The Last Breath.”


“Our Queen cover! I must be honest, it wasn’t my idea to cover this one. Martijn suggested we do it – he’s very fond of the track. My first response was, ‘Oh my God, you cannot burn your fingers on a Queen track!’ But I listened to this song and thought, it’s not one of their most well-known tracks so perhaps we should give it a shot. And it was so much fun. We got the explicit permission of Brian May to cover the track which was a big honour. We really tried to have the right balance of making the song our own, and we did so by making it a lot faster and higher, but we didn’t change the original track too much because it’s a great song.”

Turn the Lights Out

“This one was already on the EP. It’s inspired by Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics and specifically by the character of Death, which is, in his comics, contrary to most western personifications of death which are very scary and Grim Reaper-y. She’s a young goth woman who does her job with love and empathy and I always found her one of the most fascinating and compelling characters in the series. She translated to lyrics so well. I think it’s really cool to have my fandom for Neil Gaiman translated in one of the songs.”

The Monarch

“This song is the resolution to Chrysalis – The Last Breath. We were at the end of the album process and all songs were nearly done, and I was settling for the fact that The Last Breath had no resolution to it. Then we came up with a humming melody that we liked so much we thought we could make it a bonus track. After writing The Last Breath, I found myself writing poems with some kind of resolution, and I put one of those poems to the music. It worked so well that in the mixing process they put my a cappella vocals of the poem to the track. [It became] the last track on the album, The Monarch. That’s why I gave The Last Breath the subtitle Chrysalis, because it’s all about transformation. The Monarch is the final shape.”

Delain will release Moonbathers on August 26 through Napalm.