Delain: The Human Contradiction

Dutch symphonic rockers turn to their dark side

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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
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.