Delain – “Moonbathers” (Napalm Records)
Following hot off their “Lunar Prelude” EP earlier this year comes the full blown “Moonbathers” – and what a rocker it is! Although 10 years into their career and now onto their 5th full length album, Delain have been a relatively low key band until recently, when they have undertaken some serious touring. Well, that’s all paid off in “Moonbathers”! This is an absolute gem of an album that both rocks across its 11 tracks and is probably the most catchy of all Delain’s releases. Although classified as a symphonic band, I would say that’s taken something of a back seat here, with strong metallised rock and a huge emphasis on live energy taking its place. Bearing in mind that the material is also diverse from heavy tracks to ballads and rockers, I cannot commend the band more for maintaining the energy consistently throughout the album, not to mention their own excelling musicianship and a par excellence production, courtesy of founder keyboardist Martijn Westerholt himself! Given all that, it doesn’t surprise me that they’ve covered Queen’s ‘Scandal’ masterfully from Charlotte Wessels own stupendous soaring vocals to the addition of guitarist Merel Bechtold, whose youthful talents only add to the star quota here. There really isn’t one track here that I didn’t enjoy for its breathtaking excitement although ‘Fire With Fire‘, ‘The Glory and the Scum‘ and ‘Danse Macabre‘ certainly stood out for me, and that’s really saying something given the overall quality of this amazing album!