Live Review: Delain

Cathouse – 28/11

It’s always a pleasure when symphonic metal bands decide to make the trip north of Hadrian’s Wall. There are certain genres that tend to stick to the capital and it means missing out on numerous names we would love to see up here (though Amaranthe are finally making their Scottish debut next year!), and Delain are particularly good at visiting Scottish shores.

It’s a varied bill overall – openers The Raven Age make a melodic-metal noise comparable to Hours-era Funeral for a Friend. It’s nothing like the headliners, but people get into it, and given the right tour they ought to strike a chord.

Wolf, a heavy metal band formed in the 90s, belong in the early 80s. Going from the modern metal of The Raven Age to the classic formations of metal with Wolf’s odes to Iron Maiden and Judas Priest is like an educational session on heavy music. With long hair flowing, masculine chests beating, and songs about voodoo and, er, wolves, Wolf get the horns-raised-high-in-the-air treatment.

Delain’s origins are in symphonic metal, though where they are now is anyone’s guess. Older tracks like ‘April Rain’ and ‘The Gathering’ are high on melody with sweeping synths accompanying, but it’s newer songs like ‘Here Come the Vultures’ and ‘Milk and Honey’ where they hit their stride. These recent tracks are more straight forward on the metal and headbanging scale with Charlotte’s vocals taking you through her observations of the world.

It’s a no-thrills type of show – straight forward (symphonic) rock ‘n’ roll. When everyone in your band has past-shoulder-length hair then the image of synchronised headbanging is more than enough to get the crowd to follow suit.

Tracks off 2014’s The Human Contradiction are greeted like old favourites – no doubt the beautiful video to ‘Stardust’ helped people familiarise themselves with it quickly, ‘Army of Dolls’ and ‘Sing to Me’ are both highlights off a strong album, and ‘Here Come the Vultures’ has a uniqueness to it in its long length and creeping repetition.

There’s a chance that Delain won’t make another track like ‘We Are the Others’ – the obvious set-closer – but songs that good and that important are what all bands strive for. No less impactful years after its subject matter, it’s a necessary anthem for “otherness” which Wessels says she is fascinated by. It’s both a celebration and a remembrance anthem, and the perfect way to send the crowd home feeling lucky to have been able to see Delain whilst they are still playing the smaller venues.

[Scott Wilson – @HeartofFire]

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