Overall Score: 7/10 Vocals: 8/10 Guitar Work: 7/10 Stand Out Songs: 6/10 Pros: Great riffs and solos | Charlotte Wellbury’s vocals sound wonderful Cons: Some songs are repetitive and drag on
The Human Contradiction is the third release in as many years from Dutch symphonic metallers Delain. While this shouldn’t be something to complain about, surely with such a rapid release of music, the quality will be affected. Right?
Well actually the answer is no. Getting off to a blinding start; ‘Here Comes the Vultures’ has an eerie, ethereal feel to it as Charlotte Wellbury’s dreamlike vocals contrast wonderfully against the hulking riffs. Its bizarre but brilliant, like Danny Elfman injected with a large dose of metal. Further along in the album, ‘Stardust’ is a standout piece of symphonic metal, with its duelling guitars and a soaring, infectiously catchy chorus.
The album is wonderfully textured, with keyboards layered under heavy metal guitars, with Timo Somer’s solos providing a wonderful presence. His obvious technical skill and ear for melody make them all the more of a joy to listen to as well as adding an extra dimension to the songs.
However there is a downside to the album. Occasionally the music seems to get lost in its own complex structure, with too much symphony and not enough metal. There are long, dragging interludes with nothing to anchor back to the song, which makes it easy to lose interest. Elsewhere, the melancholic ‘My Masquerade’ falls flat; it’s woefully repetitive and Wellbury’s otherwise stunning vocals simply come across as dreary in this song.
For a band playing what some will consider a niche sub-genre of metal, Delain’s ‘The Human Contradiction’ is surprisingly accessible. Though occasionally lacklustre, it is undoubtedly full of intelligent, complex music that still manages to be obscenely catchy. It will certainly win over many new fans; not just to the band but to the genre itself.