Delain - Lucidity
Roadrunner Records
Symphonic/Power/Gothic Metal
11 songs (49:51)
Release year: 2006
Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Vrechek
Archive review

For as much crap as I give Nightwish's Once, I have to admit that it at least seems to have some passion buried beneath the mallcore sheen of down-tuned power chord chugging. Sure, I still believe it to be Nightwish's creative nadir, but re-listening to it now with all the disappointment behind me it's not so bad.

What has caused me to change my tune about that album? Well, once you've heard a genuine Once ripoff, one that is genuinely poor and not just decent like Edenbridge's Solitaire which I reviewed recently, you start to realize just how bad that formula can get. I'd heard a thing or two about Within Temptation keyboardist Martijn Westerholt's new band called Delain, and none of it sounded very appealing. Apparently their second album went towards an even more pop-oriented sound than this, and the connection to Within Tempatation did nothing to bolster my spirits. But, after glancing over a few reviews I expected their first effort, Lucidity, to be at least passable.

It wasn't. And it wasn't good either.

So, what's wrong with Lucidity? For one thing, it's fucking boring! Rare is the album that I find impossible to sit through. I can't even count the number of times I up and walked away while a song was playing to go get some food or take a piss and came back to find that I had missed nothing. Just listen to the chorus of Frozen or Shattered for chrissake! I've heard more sincere vocal performances by eighth graders at a school talent show. It wasn't until my second play-through that I even noticed there were guitar solos on this album; I don't know what happened when they entered my ears, but they certainly didn't make it to my brain. Unfortunately, even after only the limited number of times I've heard the songs on here, obnoxious poppy hooks have dug their claws in and stuck to me, so my memory is dominated by the worst parts of this godforsaken album. It's not like the guitars did very much to get themselves noticed, as even at their best they play riffs which wouldn't be fit for a Sonata Arctica b-side, and at their worst manage to approach nu-metal territory with their stop-start one-note grooves.

Oh, and if you want a good laugh, have a listen to The Gathering. Go on, go look it up. Can you make any comparisons to a rather well-known song? I'll give you a hint: Marco Hietala does guest vocals on it (as well as many other songs on Lucidity). I played it for my friend after saying the same thing I wrote here, and he burst out laughing within the first couple seconds, so it's not as though I'm alone in my opinion here.

I suppose I should appear to be at least a little fair and point out some of the better aspects of Lucidity. The keyboards are very good, which is to be expected since it is basically a keyboardist's solo album. Looking over the liner notes I don't see that there were any real orchestral instruments besides a cello, so I applaud Martijn for managing to make a better sounding digital orchestra than Tuomas ever could in pre-Once Nightwish. The drums are well-played, but then again what Metal band these days doesn't have a good drummer? Marco's bass-playing is of course excellent when you can hear the god-damned thing since the guitars tend to drown it out so often with their excessively low tuning, and his vocals are as good as they have ever been. There are also a few rare moments of brilliance: Sleepwalker's Dream has some undeniably beautiful moments that remind me of better Gothic Metal bands, making it one of the highlights of the album for me (though the guitars are still as boring as ever). It's even followed up by the good, but short, Day for Ghosts which has some honest to god Metal Riffs and a very audible bass.

However, much like the aforementioned Edenbridge album, a few good songs at the end will not save you. In Delain's case it is much, much worse, if only because it is so much duller. The first five tracks are complete forgettable, whereas at least with Solitaire and Once you've got if not good, at least memorable songs in that time span. If it is true what I've been told about Delain's followup album being much more poppy, then that can only be a good thing. Pop has much more energy to it, however disingenuous, than Lucidity does.

Killing Songs :
Sleepwalker's Dream, Day for Ghosts
Vrechek quoted 40 / 100
Other albums by Delain that we have reviewed:
Delain - The Human Contradiction reviewed by Joel and quoted 82 / 100
Delain - We Are The Others reviewed by Andy and quoted 60 / 100
Delain - April Rain reviewed by Alex and quoted 60 / 100
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