Delain are back! On February 10, 2023, Delain will be releasing their seventh full length album, Dark Waters. This long awaited release comes 3 years after the appropriately titled “Apocalypse & Chill” in 2020. Much has changed within the band since then, which has left fans curious about how this new version of Delain sounds. I can confidently say that Delain fans will be happy when they hear the new songs.
The opening track, Hideaway Paradise, starts with a soft intro as it introduces the new singer, Diana Leah. Diana’s voice is youthful and a bit more poppy, but holds similarity to Charlotte. This is quickly noticed not only on the opening track but throughout the album. Lyrically, the Delain keyboardist, main songwriter, and only original member to appear on all albums, Martijn Westerholt, gets the album started on a darker path which brings the listener into Dark Waters.
“Feel the distance grow between two hearts that lose touch in the crowd
The storm is bearing down”
We then come to the first single which introduces the new version of Delain to the world. After many years original guitarist, Ronald Landa, and drummer, Sander Zoer, return with new bassist, Ludovico Cioffi to form out the remainder of the band. The Quest and the Curse sounds like a track that could have been on one of the previous Delain albums and it’s no surprise when you realize how much of the new band is actually the old band. A catchy chorus that features harsh vocals from both Ronald and Ludovico that might remind Delain fans of past guests vocalists George Oosthoek and Alissa White-Gluz.
The second single, Beneath, doubles down on the Dark Waters concept from the intro track. Heavy somber tones mixed with a softness of Diana’s voice. This track features singer Paolo Ribaldini who adds depth to the chorus which is a very captivating one that I kept coming back to.
Mirror of the Night brings a similar style seen from Within Temptation which is no surprise given that Martijn was the original keyboardist, additionally, this song features the guitarist of Within Temptation, Ruud Jolie. Mirror of the Night features chugging guitars and melodic vocal hooks and continues the theme of dark lyrics. Furthermore, this track presents the softest moments that show off Diana’s beautiful voice at both the end of the bridge and in the song’s finale.
“The dying dreams I never reached
But I know these dark reflections
Can change nothing
Reality is staring back at me”
The listener is then taken away by the sweeping symphonic metal intro of Tainted Hearts before we hear the only moments of acoustic guitar on the album. A song about rebuilding after battle that gets heavier as it ends with a slightly changed vocal melody on the final chorus before another epic Diana ending.
A grand symphonic intro brings us to a story of moonlight with choirs laying the path before we get back to what Delain does best. The Cold is another track of heavy guitars and melodic vocals mixed with that same grand symphonic and choir driven sound from the intro. A fun guitar moment during the bridge that I would love to see used more by Delain. Moreover a perfect lyrical reference to “stay forever.”
Moth to a Flame immediately starts with Diana showing off her poppy vocals with an extremely catchy chorus line sucking the listener in right as it hits into heaviness of that same melody. The third single from Dark Waters and the first song featuring lyrics written by Diana. This song stands out with a very different tone and more electronic elements than the rest of the album and will leave you singing the chorus over and over.
At this point we are really getting to the depth of how strong this album is. These final tracks really lift the album to another level. Queen of Shadow starts with some of the most interesting and fun guitar melodies that Delain has done thus far. The song also features Paolo Ribaldini on the chorus to add layered vocals. You may find another earworm from the chorus that undoubtedly exemplifies how powerful Paolo’s voice is when paired with Diana’s. This is my favorite song on the album.
Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if most fans find the next track to be the best. Invictus is an epic track that brings back a familiar voice. Marko Hietala (ex-Nightwish) returns to lend his vocals. He has appeared on multiple Delain albums including live performances. We see Diana sing a bit differently on this track, showing some real power in her voice as choirs and guitars hit heavy in the background. The song comes to an epic conclusion with Marko and Diana singing together that will bring a smile to your face.
We come to the final song, Underland, and you feel a sense of anticipation as the epic conclusion from the previous song turns into a tense piano build up before blasting off with familiar guitars and Diana’s layered vocals. More choirs that have become increasingly used throughout the album before another beautifully crafted chorus and harmonized guitars in the bridge before an epic choir ending that fades away.
The album closes with a reprise of The Quest and the Curse, simplified with just piano and vocals. Reminding the listener that this new duo of Martijn and Diana are making sure Delain continues and continues to impress.
Album Rating: 8/10
The Quest and the Curse
Mirror of Night
Moth to a Flame
Queen of Shadow