Lucidity is the impressive debut album of Delain, a unique gothic rock project initiated by (ex-Within Temptation) keyboardist Martijn Westerholt. He has surrounded himself with a number of extremely talented musicians such as Finnish bassist Marko Hielata (Nightwish, Tarot), guitarist Jan Yrlund (ex-Lacrimosa) and Norwegian vocalist Liv Kristine (ex-Theatre of Tragedy, Leaves' Eyes). A number of renowned Dutch rock musicians contributed to the project as well: singer Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation), guitarist Ad Sluyter (Epica), drummer Arin van Weezenbeek (God Dethroned) and singer George Oosthoek and guitarist Guus Eikens (ex-Orphanage). Delain has room for new talent as well: the young and relatively unknown singer Charlotte Wessels (ex-To Elysium) contributed most of the vocals on the album.
Imagine this: you have been part of a band for five years, and when they finally break through, you are unable to reap the fruit of success! It happened to Martijn Westerholt. From 1996 until 2001, he was a fulltime member of Within Temptation, by now one of the most successful and internationally renowned Dutch rock bands. While his brother Robert and his fellow Dutch goth-rockers set out to conquer the world, Martijn was forced to leave the band because of a chronic illness. But he did not give up. As soon as he was physically fit, he began to write songs again, at first just as a way to pass the time. But it felt so good that his desire to make music on a professional level got stronger everyday. Slowly but surely, his idea for a musical project began to take shape.
Martijn made a wish list of talented musicians and began to contact each of them personally by sending out demos and making phone calls. Sooner than he'd expected, his wish list began to materialize into a project of international standing. He called it Delain, inspired by the kingdom of Delain from Stephen King's The Eyes of the Dragon.
In July 2005, Delain signed a recording deal with Roadrunner Records, the ultimate metal label and the ideal partner for Delain because of their international contacts and knowledge of the genre. Soon afterwards, Delain started recording their debut album in Germany, Finland, Sweden and The Netherlands with Oliver Phillips and Martijn himself at the production desk, whereas Stefan Helleblad (Opeth, Rammstein and Dark Funeral) did the final mixing.
Delain is an exceptional band because of its project-like set-up. The many musicians and vocalists on Lucidity have all left their mark on the music. "I wanted to encourage interaction between the different musicians," says project leader Martijn. But despite his prominent role, he provided enough room for personal contributions. "I think it is important to create a positive vibe in the studio. I had a final say with regard to the overall sound, but I made sure my ego did not get in the way of the best final result."
Despite the fact that Delain is, first and foremost, a project, Martijn and the talented Charlotte Wessels make up the core of the band. Martijn wrote most of the songs, whereas the characteristic voice of Charlotte gives Delain its own identity. Her serene and poppy sound differs from the high opera-like vocals so typical for the gothic genre. Martijn met the then still 18-year-old Charlotte by chance. He wasn't looking for a lead vocalist at the time, so he just asked her to write lyrics and vocal parts. But when he heard her sing a few tracks in the studio, he was so impressed that he immediately asked her to join Delain.
Lucidity contains some interesting duets: Liv Kristine sings with Marko Hielata on 'Day For Ghosts' and with Charlotte on 'See Me In Shadow'. Sharon den Adel's distinctive voice is a great counterpart to Marko's intense vocals on 'No Compliance', whereas the heavy grunts of George Oosthoek combine very well with Charlotte's peaceful voice on a number of other tracks.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the musical and vocal diversity on the album, the songs on Lucidity form an appealing unity. Musically characteristic for Delain are the prominent keyboards, bombastic choirs and changes in tempo, added with heavy guitars, ultra-tight drums and great melodies. "I love beautiful, melancholic and powerful, even euphoric, music. But most important for me is the vibe a song has," explains Martijn.
The album release will be preceded by the first single 'Frozen', which contains the same ingredients as most of the songs of Lucidity: a catchy chorus, heavy riffs, a guitar solo, a choir, but also a more mellow and melodic break. In short, it is a great taste of everything Delain has to offer!
Words & translation: Word Up! for Roadrunner Records