Delain – Apocalypse & Chill: Album Review

Release Date:   7th February 2020

Label:  Napalm Records

Formats: CD, DL, vinyl, deluxe box set, coloured vinyl

Delain continue their unstoppable rise through the premier league of melodic heavy rock – could Apocalypse & Chill be the one that elevates them into genuine contenders. An album that Delain think “will surprise our listeners” as well as being one that’s “heavy with new influences.” Intrigued? Read on…

It might not come as a surprise that Delain have joined a large proportion of musicians and gone down the dystopian future wrapped in an apocalyptic vision route. Not surprising either given the visual clues on the album art that in turn echoes Supertramp’s 1975 cry of “Crisis? What Crisis?” Crisis indeed, whether or not it’s a ‘let them eat cake’ indifference or simply get on with making the best of the situation. The latter seems about right as Delain have resurfaced with an album packed with their trademarks that combine the mighty and the powerful with the impassioned.

Teased by the ‘singles’, One Second (“it takes a second just to fall in love” apparently…) that shows the poppier side of the band and the typically grand Burning Bridges, there’s plenty of opportunity for the synchronized headbanging witnessed at Delain gigs. Add to that a hefty helping of fury, thunder and guts with the theme of  impending doom and human indifference which finds its way into much of the material, and you have an album that prompts the thought that Delain have delivered the album of their career so far.

That’s possibly the influence of an early rose-tinted glow of the first few listens, but there’s so a feeling that these songs will continue to grow in stature. It’s packed with some wonderfully epic arrangements that offer a contrast to some of the more reflective moments and of course the haunting ballad Ghost House Heart. Creatures – “our cities have turned to ash, all our stories have been told” – offers up some brutality and the iron fist in a velvet glove approach as well as possibly the most somber lyric on the record.

Collaborators feature again too; Vengeance features Yannis Papadopoulos (Beast in Black) asCharlotteWessels’ foil and it confirms Delain can comfortably match the standards set by the likes of Within Temptation and Avantasia for whom the guest singer duets are part and parcel of the package. However, there’s no denying that as we build towards the instrumental conclusion in Combustion, that in Masters Of Destiny, they’ve created a monster. The “We are the dreamers, We roll the dice, We’re alive, We’ll always be, The masters of our destiny” section is destined to be one that will invoke the raised fist defiance of the Delain and metal fraternity.  Combined with Legions Of The Lost, in itself a song that’s going to be one that rises to the top of the Apocalypse & Chill favourites, the best are saved till last.

There’s a  hint of things to come (maybe?)  with the bonus tracks which give an orchestral flavor to three songs from the album, yet they’re just icing on the cake. Not to condone them, they’re an interesting addition that  fills a space on the fourth side of a double vinyl or room on a CD.

But in the thirteen songs of Apocalypse & Chill, the understanding that Delain have always made good albums isn’t just confirmed. Now they have started to make great ones.

Watch the video for One Second from the album here:

Delain online:  website / facebook / Twitter / Instagram  

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