ALBUM REVIEW: Delain – Dark Waters


Dark Waters (Napalm Records), the seventh record by Dutch group Delain is met with quite a few lineup changes – a new vocalist and bassist in Diana Leah and Ludovico Cioffi, and the return of the long-term guitarist and drummer Ronald Landa and Sander Zoer. People may have come and gone but the symphonic quintet’s sound is still the same – operatic metal with liberal amounts of bombast and pomp.


There is plenty here for fans of the genre to like, as the grandiose opening track ‘Hideaway Paradise’ with its sizeable chorus and metallic wall of sound shows. New vocalist Diana fits right in, especially amongst the urgent melodies of ‘The Quest and the Curse’ and its hefty serving of harsh vocals.


Their sound is as big as ever, the cinematic ‘Tainted Hearts’ aims for the sky with its burly guitar and layers upon layers of battle-ready drums and soaring vocals. This enormity reaches its dizzying peak in ‘The Cold’, with its film soundtrack style orchestration and cacophonous, Avantasia levels of subtlety. Keyboardist and main songwriter Martijn Westerholt has certainly kept the Delain spirit alive and well.


It is not for the faint of heart, as its bombast and cinematic scope are all-encompassing. It is certainly stirring and gets you in the mood, though it can all feels a bit too much by the end. ‘Moth to a Flame’ adds a brief moment of brevity, the melodramatic keys and bludgeoning riffs are married to a Eurodance-like hook that reminds me of ‘Every Time We Touch’ by Cascada. Now there’s a reference I never thought I’d make!


The constant flurry of excitement and pomp is entertaining but all-consuming, with Dark Waters feeling a tad too top-heavy by the time the grand closing statement ‘Underland’ comes around.


A bombastic serving of Symphonic Metal with a huge sense of scale and giddying levels of melodrama and grandiosity that fans will lap up.


Buy the album here:


7 / 10