|Melodic Gothic Metal, Symphonic Gothic Metal
Roadrunner Records, Sensory Records (2010)
September 4th, 2006 / 2010
Release length: 54:44 / 1:11:25 (2010)
For anyone who hasn’t checked out Delain before, then they will be in for both a shock, and a letdown. Lucidity is a fantastic album that really pulls from the traditional Gothic sound, and really moves along through the fantastic, yet somewhat restricted female vocal performance. There are plenty of moments where the music breaks down from it’s melodic aspect to go into more of a symphony fueled bridge through the keyboards, and often the vocals are meant to push the track along, and typically it is done well. The only problem lies within the somewhat restricted vocal style that accompanies these sections, as they are much lower then they should be, especially since these areas typically wind up building back into the music, or in the case of “Frozen”, into a rather emotional guitar solo that works very well with the music and builds up towards the already established chorus that leads to a proper ending to the song. Had the vocals been pushed a little more, it would have been a fantastic track, and the same goes for “Sever” which has more of these slower paced moments, but for the most part on that track, the almost whispered singing works for the verses, but it starts to get repetitive and almost screams for the vocalist to belt out something and show her talent as the song continues, though it’s never delivered. This essentially described much of the album, but for Delain it works out well, making their material seem as if it’s ripped from some well produced musical that just falls short of an operatic style that Nightwish has, which isn’t too shocking.
Musically, Delain isn’t the most original group out there, but the music is just so well done it’s hard to dismiss this group as some kind of offspring from other acts. When you break down the obvious influences of the music, you can clearly hear strong similarities between the Roadrunner Records career Nightwish, as well as later Beseech. These inspirations, however, seem to only be used as that, and not come too into play outside of how the song is structured, and what use the instruments play throughout the album, as one listen to Lucidity shows that the band has clear intentions of having their own unique sound, however it’s unclear with this album if the band managed to pull this unique sound off themselves, or if it was thanks (solely or in part of) the nine guest musicians that appear on this release that do everything from guest vocals, guitars, drums, even cello. The most stand out ones on this release would be the guest vocals of Merco Hietala of Nightwish, which helps push the clear Nightwish inspirations, as well as Liv Kristine appearing on this release as well [see below for complete guest musician list]. These guests definitely wind up helping the album out greatly in standing out, even though Marco really does wind up making his appearances sound more like Nightwish then anything else on this release.
The only drawbacks to the album is that practically every song on this album is essentially set up the same exact way. “No Compliance” does break things up a bit when the slower bridge comes into play, and there is a cello, more then likely Rupert Gillet’s contribution but is unclear due to a lack of information in the booklet outside of those are “project” members, which sounds really nice and makes this section a rather beautiful composition. The following track “See Me in Shadows” does shift around when the slower instrumental bridges kick in, as it simply happens at the start, and features that push in vocals that the listener more then likely has been craving to happen from the start, as well as features Liv Kristine and really adds that extra vocal push through a duet that gives the vocals more power then on other tracks in the album against a rather slow track that finds beauty through traditional pianos and symphonic keyboards to build up the song’s power, though the song never really gets past this and really seems to be lacking in focusing in on moments where the song could have really benefitted from stronger music to create a much more powerful sound. Luckily, there’s a few songs here that really seem to push the band.
“Daylight Lucidity” is the only track that really shows what the band is able to do musically as far as bring in some real power to music near the end, but instead of using a slower bridge, the music picks up and goes a lot faster with a strong drumming influence that lasts for a short time before going back to closing the song out like every other track with going back to the chorus to wrap things up. Aside that, “A Day for Ghosts” breaks up the slow paced monotony and is actually a pretty fast song that finds some extra input from the guests musicians to build things up prior to it’s climactic track “Pristine”. Of all the songs, this is the one that stands out the most due to the operatic chants in the background, some fantastic drumming, a superb guitar solo, and music that really makes the song take a slight fantastical feel without violating the overall unique Symphonic Gothic feel that Delain had already established throughout the release. It’s just sad that the song seems to end as abruptly as it does, as “A Day for Ghosts” feels like it has a little more life left to it, as well as could have been pushed into a longer, more dramatic track for the album had enough attention been paid to the song in the long run.
The 2010 reissue features five bonus tracks, two of which were already previously available, but limited. “(Deep) Frozen” had appeared on the original version of Lucidity and is simply the track “Frozen” but turns into a duet with gutteral vocals performed (presumably) by George Oosthoek, but not on all copies that were made available, making it a bit hard to come by after a while, and “Silhouette of a Dancer (Acoustic)” had originally only been available on the Japanese pressing of the release. Now, both of these tracks, as well as three other acoustic songs, are made available to everyone with this pressing from Sensory Records. The only problem with the bonus tracks would just be the way they were tracked. Considering “(Deep) Frozen” is the first, one would assume the next track would be the already made available “Silhouette of a Dancer (Acousic)”, but instead it’s “Frozen (Acoustic)”, meaning you’ll hear it back-to-back with “(Deep) Frozen”, which takes away a bit of the impact, as this acoustic rendition should have been farther from the duet version that starts this chunk of additional material to keep it from getting a little repetitive. Aside that, the acoustic tracks available here are fantastic, and even more beautiful then the original tracks that are on the main album. The real gem of these tracks, however, is “No Compliance (Charlotte vocals)”, which has a much more powerful performance by Charlotte Wessers, the main vocalist of the project.
In the end, Lucidity is a fantastic album that has a unique sound that, due to certain guests, can sometimes pull more towards the inspirational acts that seem to play a strong part in the roots of the band’s compositions. The only problem with the album is that Delain seem to really stick to composing tracks that really stick to a slow to mid-pace without getting really extravagant outside of one track. Had the band brough in more diversity to their music, Lucidity would be a phenomenal stand out release instead of an overlooked album that shows great potential. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Delain in the past, make sure to take some time to experience Lucidity, as this reissue is the definitive version to own at this point, and will take you on a quite remarkable trip regardless of the somewhat stiff musical structure on many of the songs.
01. Sever – 4:53
02. Frozen – 4:43
03. Silhouette of a Dancer – 5:25
04. No Compliance – 5:10
05. See Me in Shadow – 4:41
06. Shattered – 4:20
07. The Gathering – 3:35
08. Daylight Lucidity – 4:36
09. Sleepwalker’s Dream – 4:27
10. Day for Ghosts – 3:37
11. Pristine – 4:31
|Initial Pressing Score: 7/10
2010 Reissue Score: 7.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Sensory Records.