In this day and age, you can’t switch on the television or browse the internet without hearing of tragic stories from around the world. We are indeed living in unprecedented times.
These events and times have fed into the sixth album of symphonic metal outfit Delain. Their new record is titled Apocalypse and Chill – a perfect and thought-provoking name for 2020.
Despite these troubling stories the big news in Manchester tonight is the return of the Dutch five-piece. And to add to the spectacle of the event, today also marks the actual release date of their latest offering.
Over is the waiting, the build-up and anticipation by their fans. And this is immediately apparent on arrival at the O2 Ritz where the merchandise queue sprawls around the hall with eager Delainers looking to pick up a copy of the album in question.
The pressure for the band is how much of the new record they can include in their setlist, along with the additional challenge that many in attendance have now heard the album, so they can easily spot any mistakes. This proves to be no problem at all for Delain who had the opportunity to iron out any issues with road testing their new material last night in Birmingham.
From the top of the set, it’s all about Apocalypse and Chill with three back to back tracks from the album featuring including recent single Burning Bridges, Creatures and the Glory and the Scum.
But by song four we are on familiar territory with a crowd-pleasing airing of Suckerpunch and the thunderous April Rain. Much like the latter Masters of Destiny looks like it will become a future classic in the Delain repertoire. With its crunchy guitar riffs set against Charlotte’s soaring vocals, it certainly hits the spot.
Wessels is captivating throughout. Bedecked in a silver sequin dress she can often be found grasping her illuminated mic stand whilst wholeheartedly thrashing her hair into the band’s atmospheric strobe lighting. Whilst Martijn Westerholt leads from the back, quite literally orchestrating the group’s distinctive symphonic sound.
One of the standout tracks of the set is Let’s Dance. Not to be confused by the David Bowie song of the same name. But who knows, if Mr Stardust had tried his hand at heavy metal it might have sounded something like this. Wessels informs the crowd that the song was inspired by the notion that metalheads can’t dance, but tonight Delain and their fans prove their naysayers wrong.
Wessels truly showcases her spellbinding voice and range with a stunning airing of Ghost House Heart, which comes complete with cello accompaniment. This being the group’s first ballad since 2007. This dramatic piece has a real cinematic quality to it and could easily fit on a movie soundtrack.
Guitarist Timo Somers delivers some virtuoso playing and takes his moment in the spotlight alongside drummer Joey de Boer during the epic instrumental piece Combustion.
If the top of the show has been about the band’s freshest cuts, the latter stages of the evening are all about the classics. From the fist-pumping Hands of Gold, the synth-heavy Don’t Let Go through to The Gathering the crowd are literally in their element throughout. And as inflatable balloons fill the air and streamers fire from cannons at the front of the stage, the sentiment of the aforementioned track rings true as Delain has brought their North West crowd together to have a good time this evening.
A live debut to new track We Had Everything is the penultimate song of the evening before the night is brought to its conclusion with a song that holds extra meaning in this area – We Are The Others.
Looking at the five band members stood on stage at the O2 Ritz, they are visibly lost for words at the response they received this evening, and rightly so. The feeling amongst the fans in attendance along with this writer, is most certainly mutual.