Napalm Records

Review by Warren Mayocchi

“This is fine.” In 2013 a comic was released in which one panel showed a dog seated calmly in front of a coffee cup. The ceiling is covered in smoke and the entire room is on fire. A similar scene adorns the latest Delain album and the promo material for the album states the album has a theme, “a sense of impending doom and human indifference to it.” I have been anticipating the album since it was announced. Delain have experience in creating an anthem of protest, see the brilliant “We Are The Others” released in 2012 and dedicated to the memory of Sophie Lancaster. As a prelude to the album, the music video for “Burning Bridges” was released with apocalyptic children, balloons, and fire. Lyrically the burnt bridge signals no way back and the song deals in memories. It does ask an important question, “So why would you set to self-destruct”. However, in 1989 Warren Zevon sang “Flurocarbons in the ozone layer / First the water and the wildlife go / Pretty soon there’s not a creature stirring” (from “Run Straight Down”). In 2010 Disturbed sang “Glaciers melt as we pollute the sky / A sign of devastation coming […] The time bomb is ticking / And no one is listening / Our future is fading / Is there any hope we’ll survive?” (from “Another Way To Die”).

In relative terms the first song has emotional impact, but is lyrically sparse. As I write this review another music video has been released. The song is “One Second” – this time the song is less apocalyptic, at face value it tells us how easy it is to fall in love. In comparison recent songs about our collective destructive actions are becoming blunter. In 2018 Villainy sang “But in the end the ice will melt – we’ll kiss the sky […] You get the feeling that your offspring won’t survive” (from “Tiny Little Island”). Here in Australia, December 2019 gave us an informal song from Eamon Sandwith – from The Chats – it goes, “I’ve heard all your lies and excuses / I’ve heard all your thoughts and prayers / Two firefighters dead and a thousand homes lost / I don’t think Scotty cares.”

It takes Delain until “Legions Of The Lost” for the lyrical content to become provocative; “Stop / Idolisation of the rich / Money commanding politics […] And if you think you’re doing fine / Stop and ask yourself, who am I / Am I the hunter / Or the lion?” An earlier song, “Let’s Dance”, makes a more artistic allusion to world events, “We all knew this day would come / Skies are turning red / Let’s dance / Like ants in a hill fire / All the holes here in the sand / All these holes the size of heads.”

For me “Let’s Dance” wins the protest song award on Apocalypse & Chill. The imagery suits what is happening in my home country of Australia. The future is now, the country is on fire (as are many locations across our planet), the skies are red, and our political ‘leaders’ continue to push their heads into sandy beaches. For those who like their music without the real world gloom, Apocalypse & Chill will be just fine. The references of doom are few and probably easy to ignore. For those expecting the apocalypse, the album does prefer to chill. But, this is Delain. The music is fantastic.  Delain’s signature sound is center stage – heavy guitars, aggressive drumming, orchestral synths, excellent choice in guest artists, and the vocals of Charlotte Wessels. There are aspects I thought would be present, but expectations are an enemy to appreciation. Welcome to the apocalypse, would you prefer to experience it by the pool or on the beach?

Rating – 89/100

Tracklist:

  1. One Second
  2. We Had Everything
  3. Chemical Redemption
  4. Burning Bridges
  5. Vengeance
  6. To Live Is To Die
  7. Let’s Dance
  8. Creatures
  9. Ghost House Heart
  10. Masters Of Destiny
  11. Legions Of The Lost
  12. The Greatest Escape
  13. Combustion

Line Up:

  • Charlotte Wessels – Vocals
  • Martijn Westerholt – Keyboards
  • Timo Somers – Guitars
  • Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije – Bass
  • Joey de Boer – Drums

Links:

Delain Official Website
Delain Official FB Page
Delain Twitter Page
Delain Instagram Page


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