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Delain: The Human Contradiction

Dutch symphonic rockers turn to their dark side

Eight years after the original release of the all-star debut Lucidity, Martijn Westerholt’s dark symph-rock outfit have decided to retrace their more theatrical roots with this strong follow-up to the full-on We Are The Others.

The Human Contradiction is crammed with dramatic gothic metal and sweeping symphonic overtones but it’s lyrically and musically far darker than its predecessor and 2009’s April Rain.

Taking its title from a post-apocalyptic novel – apparently one of frontwoman Charlotte Wessels’ favourites – Delain’s fourth album tiptoes away from familiar ground with a more experimental sound that’s been carefully mixed by Dream Evil’s Fredrik Nordström (Arch Enemy/Opeth).

There’s a twist of Danny Elfman in the opener Here Come The Vultures and even an elegant duet with The Agonist’s blue-haired screamer Alissa White-Gluz on The Tragedy Of The Commons. Add to that the brief return of former Orphanage grunter George Oosthoek and Nightwish’s Marco Hietala, whose distinctive vocals entwine with Charlotte’s on the power anthems Your Body Is A Battleground and Sing To Me, and Delain have cracked the winning combination of the bitter-sweet symphony.

Natasha Scharf

Dark prog (and chocolate) fan Natasha has been a Prog regular since 2009. News Editor between 2014 and 2019, now Deputy Editor, she is the only member of the team to have appeared on Prog's cover.