I’m feeling a touch of guilt as I begin writing this review. Now, I know guilt is not a very metal emotion, but I have good reason. Back in May, Martell handed me a copy of the upcoming release from Delain, We Are The Others, and said “Hey, I found you some symphonic metal, I know how you like it.” And I do, I really do, so I eagerly put it on the top of my “to-review” pile. Then I got side-tracked… in a big way. One project after another popped up and the next thing I knew it was two months later. And I figure I better write a new review soon, otherwise the people who read my posts (my mother and that oddly friendly guy from New York City) will think I no longer work here.
You know what, I’m surprised I managed to stay away from the sixteen tracks contained in We Are The Others as long as I did. Why? Because the leading lady (and vocalist) for Delain, Charlotte Wessels, is hot. Yeah, it’s not professional to say that, but she is. Like Emma Stone meets Tinkerbell’s naughty sister hot. To top off her smoldering good looks she projects a voice that is one part honey, one part sex and one part smoke. It’s oddly alluring, surprisingly sweet and slightly sassy. (By the way, if you’re into dudes, the rest of Delain are an attractive bunch of guys. Delain offers equal opportunity hotness.)
Let’s put guilt and lust aside and talk about the music, shall we? We Are The Others is the third album by the Dutch group. They’ve been putting out full length CDs at a rate of about one a year, while touring all over the world, showing a drive and passion for their music. And that passion comes across in the sound. With so many tracks on one album it’s not easy to pin down one specific description, but my overall impression of We Are The Others is one of a audio dance. Typically, Charlotte comes in strong at the beginning, laying down bitter sweet lyrics, then she fades back, giving room for the bass, guitar and keyboard to step forward. Then they step back and the vocals climb the musical bars, hitting their climax and falling back again as the instruments rise once more. The pattern is fairly consistent across the tracks and insures that we’re not only presented with a constant flow of interesting, complex sound, but we’re also never bored.
Though keyboards and guitars get the bulk of the front-n-centre attention on this album, drummer Sander Zoer deserves some props as well. His work is subtle, but strong. I believe a good drummer is the glue of a band, the unsung coordinator of the music, and Sander plays the roll well, weaving his beat throughout the tapestry of We Are The Others.
I haven’t talked much about the genre yet, and my impression is that Delain is on the lighter end of the metal spectrum. Where heavy metal is often full of growls and roars, where instruments often overshadow lyrics, We Are The Others might seem out of place. Here the lyrics take much of the spotlight and the band focuses more on finesse than on power. Their path often borders hard, modern European rock as much as it does metal. Still, the imagery and message is one of struggle and pain, of independent strength and of being on the outside, looking in. The message is all the more chilling being delivered by the seraphic voice of Ms Wessels.
We Are The Others is an excellent album and I can’t come up with anything critical to say about it. That’s not just the aforementioned guilt talking, this is truly a strong album that combines the masterful talents of five metal veterans. Give this one a listen, specifically the songs “Mother Machine” and “Babylon”, both beautifully showcase the multilayered skills of this talented group.
Let me hear you!
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