Released: 2016, Napalm Records
It has been a great year for Delain fans. The teaser EP LUNAR PRELUDE was released earlier this year and now in August we get their fifth full length album, MOONBATHERS. At this point in Delain’s career they really need no introduction, as they are one of the leaders in female fronted metal. The album includes 11 new tracks from the band and the bonus version tacks on an additional 6 songs, four of which are live versions and two full orchestra versions of songs from the album. All told, MOONBATHERS delivers a host of new material for fans.
“Hands Of Gold” leads things off with an appropriate balance of crunch and symphonic keys. It is a fine tune until the guttural growls of guest singer Alissa White-Gluz are inserted near the last third of the track. It is a trope that Delain has largely avoided through their history and it does nothing to enhance the song. “Suckerpunch” is the most accessible song on the album, Delain getting very good at these catchy songs and their potential for mass appeal without sacrificing their integrity.
Thematically and lyrically, MOONBATHERS is a dark album, with Wessels penning songs of emotional turmoil, fractured relationships and sadness. “Hurricane” in particular feels deeply personal, as Wessels delivers one of her best performances on the album. The music supports this with balanced combinations of heavy guitars, melodic lines, and the expected orchestral elements that the band employs. Some momentum is lost on the piano ballad “Chrysalis – The Last Breath” but picks up again on “Fight Fire With Fire” and its melodic opening guitar riff. A pleasant surprise is the bands cover of Queen song, “Scandal”, imprinted with the bands personality and additional heaviness compared to the original.
Ultimately, MOONBATHERS is a remarkably consistent album from start to finish and a better album than previous release THE HUMAN CONTRADICTION. Keyboardist Martijn Westerholt handles production on the new album and he has delivered a sound that captures the diverse elements with balance. Charlotte Wessels remains the band’s greatest weapon, employing a variety of styles and ranges on what is one of Delain’s most varied albums. Fans of the band and female-fronted metal in general will find MOONBATHERS one of the subgenre’s better releases this year.