Review of ‘Apocalypse & Chill’ by Delain

Review by Ryan Murray | Feb. 21, 2020

I hadn’t heard of Delain until 2015, which is when I saw them with Nightwish at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, and they were awesome! The Human Contradiction got a lot of listens from me after that show!

This album, to me personally anyway, is a bit different! It definitely has a symphonic metal feel to it still, but there are definitely some straight rock elements, and interestingly there’s also a bit of a dance feel for me as well. The vocals at times are very bright and the melodies and rhythms are really catchy! The vocals compliment each other nicely, even when they are using harsh vocals! There are still in your face heavy moments, and still moments of symphonic metal, so this album has it all!

Below is my track by track review of Apocalypse & Chill.

One Second

This song starts out light and ethereal sounding, but at :14 seconds the guitars and drums kick in. Charlotte starts off on her own, but is quickly joined with clean backing vocals in a nice harmony.  The chorus is really catchy, and ends with Otto’s harsh vocals screaming “just one second to love!” The melody is very memorable, and hooks you into wanting to hear it more and more!

Absolutely love the guitar breakdown in this too, along with the solo!

We Had Everything

So I said this album has dance vibes, and this song has a great upbeat vibe to it! It still has a symphonic rock vibe beneath the layers, but definitely makes you want to move!  

This one sees mainly Charlotte on vocals, and is a lot of fun to crank up! Her vocals are very light and airy, with almost a playful vibe. This whole song is also really catchy and I really like the melodies throughout.

Absolutely love the guitars towards the end in this one too!

Chemical Redemption

This one has a mix of different sounds and feels throughout. I really like this song. It starts out with a dance/house groove, but then at :08 seconds this hard guitar riff hits you right in the face!  (Which kind of actually gives me a Rob Zombie vibe.)

I really like the backing mid range mini choir feel that starts at 2:46. It starts out strong, but then goes under a guitar solo, but then gets stronger again. It gives it a very epic feel. 

This song again sees mostly Charlotte, and again her vocals are great. They feel light and airy, but play around with the melodies nicely! 

Burning Bridges

This one starts off right in your face with the main riff, which is hard with strings behind it, but then slightly lightens up for the verses. The verses are very catchy in this one. This song also has some harsh vocals as well, in a very epic sounding breakdown! I love the strings in this one too!

This song kind of spoke to me lyrically. This song, for me, is about people in our lives that burn bridges down with us with their actions. I’ve know someone personally for a very long time that has constantly burned so many bridges with people she knows with her words and her actions. This person was supposed to be like family and has burnt down so many bridges.  

“So why
Would you set to self-destruct?
Aim to annihilate
You are burning”

This person, whether consciously or not, has been set on self destruct for quite some time now. Constantly blaming others for things, can never accept blame and always demonizes others.

“You’re burning your bridges down
You’re burning them to the ground
You’re burning your bridges down
What goes around
Must come around
And you burn your bridges down”

Vengeance

This one has a pretty epic sound to it! I really enjoy this song. It starts out with an ethereal sounding intro, but then kicks into the main groove, which is really catchy and heavy. I also love the backing, choir like vocals throughout the song!

Male vocals kick this one off, but Charlotte joins in shortly after before the first chorus. These vocals really do compliment each other very well!

For me, this song is about heart break and the anger we feel and the need for vengeance that we can’t escape. We’ve all been hurt badly before, some even many times. What we do with that anger and feeling of needing vengeance can set us on an irreversible path of endless hurt and destruction. 

“Give me a reason
Give me a sign or a sacrifice
One more reason to lay down these arms
And stop the fight
Give me a reason 
Give me a sign you get one more try
Or tonight
Vengeance is mine“

When it’s someone we love that hurts us, we want to look for a reason to give them another chance. When two people “lay down their arms” and stop fighting and actually listen to each other, real healing can take place. 

To Live Is To Die

This one starts out with a bit of a dance/house vibe, but the guitars quickly follow! This song, musically speaking, kind of gives me a Crüxshadows vibe throughout. We hear mostly just Charlotte on this one. I also really like the guitar solo towards the end. 

This song seems to talk about our limited time and that we need to fill the space in our lives with happiness, love and joy, not anger.  

“To live is to die
Remember to live
To live is to die
Tell me how you’ll fill the void
And live a life worth dying for?
To live is to die
Remember to live 
To live is to die” 

How will we fill our “void” or time?  With a life worth living for?  Or a life we’ll regret at the end of it all?

Let’s Dance

This one starts heavy and in your face, but pulls back substantially on the verses and choruses. That main riff definitely hooks you in though, and you hear throughout, as well as the end of the song. I really like that main riff a lot, it brings me back to this song often! And there’s a nice face shredding guitar solo too!

Creatures

Another in your face heavy intro! This one has a slower tempo, but still drives hard. When the verse comes in, the band pulls back and Charlotte comes in lightly. This song is pretty dark, and definitely keeps with the apocalypse vibe.

There are two sections that really stood out to me lyrically.

“Our cities turned to ash
Our stories all been told
Our final melody is slowly
Dying with the light
But you are the night
You are the night.”

“You don’t walk alone tonight
You will learn the price of time
You’ve got the weight of memory
Forever chained onto your feet
Chained onto your feet
Chained onto your feet
But when your back’s against the wall 
Who’s gonna catch you when you fall?”

Ghost House Heart

Time to bring it down quite a bit. This song is mostly keyboard and Charlotte, with strings throughout. An absolutely beautiful ballad. I really love the strings in this one. 

The vocals throughout are light and airy, and this song feels really ethereal.

Charlotte starts off lightly with the line “Why do we fall like the leaves to the ground?”

We all fall in our lives, but it’s not the fall that defines us.  It’s how we pick ourselves up and how we overcome that defines us.

“This is not the end
There’s a million things to see
But it’s not for you and me
It’s a cross that we carry
Oh, this is not the end
There’s a million things to say
There’s a heavy price to pay
(This is not the end)
And there’s a million things to say.”

Our fall isn’t the end.  There’s so much beyond a bump in the road that is yet to be seen.  

Masters Of Destiny

This one starts off softer, but gets really big and epic for the choruses! The symphonic feel with strings and choir-like backing really draws me into this one a lot. I kind of get a “Meadows of Heaven” (by Nightwish) vibe. This one is definitely a big favorite of mine!

To me, this song is saying that we are the masters of our own destiny.

“We are the dreamers
We roll the dice so we’re alive
We’ll always be
Masters of destiny.”

We have the power to fulfill our dreams! As long as we take risks and never give in to the world telling us we can’t, nothing can stop us! 

Legions Of The Lost

This one is really catchy right off that bat with yet another epic feel!  I feel like this could be playing during an epic battle scene in a movie!  Needless to say this is another favorite!

From the guitars and drums, to the strings and choral background, this song puts you through a roller coaster of feelings and emotions. 

With an epic sounding choral intro in Latin, this adds a really different feel to this song and it’s really cool!

“Temet Nosce
Acta Non Verba
Temet Nosce
Dum Spero Spero
Omnium rerum principia parva sunt”

This roughly translates to –

“Know thyself
Actions not words
Know thyself
As long as I hope, I hope,
All small beginning”

By the first verse, this song seems to be about standing up for what you believe in, and not letting money, power and politics get in your way.

When listening to the bridge, we hear – “Never forget what you are made of. Or what you started fighting for. Always remember who you are.” These words really stood out to me.

The Greatest Escape

This one starts out with just a keyboard, but is quickly joined by guitars and strings. The verses are light and the choruses are catchy! I really love the strings in this one.  This song is oddly relaxing and gives a calming feeling to the listener.  

“Cut through the highest waves
Finding your soul a haven
Water the garden over your grave.”

This song, for me, is about finding rest for ourselves.  In a world that is overloaded with information and noise, we need to give our hearts and souls a rest.

Combustion

The final track. No vocals here, just straight instrumental. This song starts out with just a keyboard and builds into a guitar solo. At 1:37 though, hang on because things are about to pick up. Then we get a really heavy break down groove. We then go back into the lead guitar solo again, but this time with a heavier groove under it. The song outro has a heavy groove and a lead solo with the note hanging over and fading into an echo.

As I said above, when I first saw Delain with Nightwish in 2015, I really enjoyed them and loved their music! This whole album is enjoyable, but I definitely like the second half more! I would rate this album a 4.0 out of 5.0!

For me, this album has a great mix of styles, all without losing the symphonic metal vibe.

If you haven’t listened to “Apocalypse & Chill” yet, please give it a listen! It’s available on all streaming platforms and of course for physical purchase as well!

Overall Rating: 4/5
Band Site: http://www.delain.nl/

Review of ‘Wait for Dawn’ by Jirfiya

Review by Ty Vinney | September 23, 2019

Spinning out of their band Born From Lie, Jerome Thellier and Pascal Devoury have collaborated with vocalist Ingrid Denis-Payet to form Jirfiya. The results go beyond what was started with the first band and have bloomed into something more artistic and melodic. They have that play of melodic vocals with Ingrid and then the harsher vocal growls from Jerome that when combined over the technical and progressive comes out flawlessly.

There’s something really intriguing about every song. ‘The Report Card’ opens up with a Hispanic sounding acoustic guitar cord lead and then blooms out into riffs that could fit in with an early Guano Apes album. The song evolves as it goes along, from technically alienated vocals to something more powerful. It’s clear that Ingrid’s not so basic and she’s got a good range going on. You’ll see a lot more of that as you get deeper into the EP.

‘Under Control’ and ‘To Be Saved’ continue to progress of riffs and back and forth vocals. The former coming out instantly harder with Jerome’s growls. ‘A Part of the Light’ starts out like a ballad, slow and swinging upward. It builds up and Jerome adds the perfect touch as the song works to its end in a heavier sound. ‘Waiting for Your Fall’ is a favorite, showing up smooth and slow, and then flowing into something much harder. Ingrid doesn’t shy away from harder vocals and lets loose like a banshee in a song calling out abuse.

This band will be one to watch, they have a lot of potential and it really shows up here. I think my only complaint about the Wait for Dawn EP is five tracks isn’t enough!

Overall Rating: 5/5

Official Bandcamp: https://jirfiya.bandcamp.com/releases
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jirfiya/

Review of Xandria’s “Sacrificium” Album

Sacrificium—Latin—Sacrifice/Offering to a deity

Reviewed by Brian Kelman
8/15/2014


   

 Symphonic Gothic Metal Band Xandria, originally from Bielefeld, Germany, has released a perfectly balanced and deftly written magnum opus.

    Imagine having to replace the singer (Lisa Middelhauve, nee Schaphaus) that helped the band make it a name for itself with one (Manuela Kraller) who left after only one, highly acclaimed, album (Neverworld’s End). Is it any wonder that fans of symphonic metal in general and Xandria in particular would await their new album with a little trepidation? Well….worry no more. Dutch born Dianne van Geirsbergen (ex Libris) has more than filled those big shoes. Her performance on Sacrificium is, in a word, stunning. In a class unto herself  no comparison with others in the sub-genre will be forthcoming here. My only complaint of Dianne, and the album, is that I needed to keep the lyric sheet handy at first since her multi-octive performance left me at a loss as to what words she was singing at times. It was also refreshing not to have to hear or decipher any harsh vocals as well.

    Sacrificium exudes unmatched atmosphere, depth and power. From Dianne’s voice, despite being a perfect fit with this incredible power, displays versatility in its richness and emotion; Gerit Lamm’s thunderous percussion; the depth of newcomer Steven Wussow’s bass lines; and Marco Heubaum’s and Philip Restmeirer’s aggressive guitars and emotive solos; the expert arrangement of the choir ‘of the sacrificed’, the PA’dam of the Netherlands (which sounds incredible in range and harmony); and finally the dramatic string passages enmeshed with the whole. What you have as a whole is a perfectly balanced symphonic metal masterpiece; a magnum opus not just for the band but also for the sub-genre as whole.

    While Nightwish abandoned the ground that they ruled by the middle of the last decade by following the trend to dress the sub-genre in mismatching pop clothes, Xandria has boldly moved in and claimed ownership. In many ways superior to its previous owners: lyrically (mostly Heubaum but Dianne wrote two tracks) Sacrificium is deeper in scope (the song writing in general being on a par with Lanvall of Edenbridge) rather than naïve and juvenile; the guitars (especially lead parts) are far more dynamic since they are not kept on such a short leash; and the blending of elements is far more integrated, for example.

    Is it any surprise that the co-production (along with Marco Heubaum) and the orchestral and choir arrangements were the expert work by none other than Joost van den Broek (EpicaThe Quantum Enigma)? All parts of the album are perfectly timed; they instinctively know when to be serene and when to be heavy and when to rein it in and when to let it loose.

    The title track leads off the album. For 10:07, Sacrificium gives the listener a taste of things to come. It is as good a lead track as any in the sub-genre. It has all the perfect blend of all elements described above that follow from the remainder of the songs. From the glory of Nightfall; the haunting but catchy Dreamkeeper; the symphonic richness of Stardust; the intense atmosphere of The Undiscovered Land and Our Neverworld; the the refreshingly folk inspired Until The End and Temple of Hate; the ferociously heavy Betrayer; the mega riffing erotica of Little Red Relish; the melancholic Sweet Atonement featuring Dianne accompanied by violin and piano; and finally Come With Me which is a melodic ‘twin’ in Nightwish ‘The Carpenter’ and ‘Come Cover Me’ (perhaps a statement of you can do it but we do it better?).

    Xandria’s Sacrificium has successfully laid claim to the top of the Symphonic Metal heap. The bar has been raised. Are there any takers out there that can outdo Sacrificium? Time will tell.

Overall Rating: 4.8/5