Since I’ve had a busy few months writing books and moving house, there hasn’t been much time to catch up on reviews. But instead of skipping them, I’ve decided to write a quick personal response to 5 of the latest albums, with just 5 minutes to write each review…
Lacuna Coil – Delirium
This is the first Lacuna Coil release in a few years that hasn’t instantly gripped me. Dark Adrenaline and Broken Crown Halo were both instant favourites of mine, but this is more of a slow burn. Much darker and more melancholic than the previous records, it’s a semi-concept album based around an asylum and other topics of hopelessness. It’s heavier, which is nice, but lyrically it’s a stark contrast, preferring to wallow in darkness than to offer a glimmer of hope. For me this album brings nothing truly special, but it’s nice to see a band switch things up once in a while.
Favourite tracks: Delirium, The House of Shame, Blood Tears Dust
Delain – Moonbathers
I was eagerly anticipating this album, and again I feel it’s more of a grower – but each time you uncover a new layer, it feels rewarding. You can tell that Delain have put their heart and soul into this and it’s great to see them able to properly unleash their sound after being reined in by their previous record company for so long. There’s a notable lack of Marco Hietala this time round, but Alissa White-Gluz is a welcome addition. It’s something of a shame that the Lunar Prelude EP tracks are repeated here (making the EP seem even more pointless) but they are at least great songs. My favourite so far is Turn The Lights Out, inspired by one of my favourite characters: Death from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series.
Favourite tracks: Turn The Lights Out, Danse Macabre, The Hurricane
Tarja – The Shadow Self
I always feel a little mixed on Tarja’s albums. The use of different songwriters means that the song quality can vary drastically, with the records never having a totally cohesive feel. This one is no exception for me. One of the biggest positives, though, is that Tarja is never afraid to experiment. She will throw in an eccentric piano solo, or some seagull sounds, or a Muse cover if she feels like it. The result is an album that is a little odd and eclectic, but does have some moments of brilliance. And this is certainly better than the prequel album.
Favourite tracks: Innocence, Undertaker, Diva
Epica – The Holographic Principle
You can always trust Epica to bring their A game to everything they do, and this album is no exception. Every song feels of the highest quality, with wonderful choirs and orchestrations. It’s a very modern sound that continues the style of The Quantum Enigma, both with its progressive/death metal tinged symphonic metal and its (perhaps not super accurate) science lyrics. If you weren’t a fan of that on TQE, this probably won’t convince you, but otherwise you will quite likely fall in love all over again. I’d like to see a few more personal tracks on the next album, but this is another spectacular hit from the band.
Favourite tracks: Dancing In A Hurricane, A Phantasmic Parade, Once Upon A Nightmare
Amaranthe – Maximalism
This makes me wonder if Amaranthe are trying to break the US market. They seem to have gone for more traditional rock’n’roll lyrics about music and love and partying, and not so many with the sort of sci-fi themes that the band have gone for in the past. That Song is a notable example, the pure rock anthem already drawing lots of criticism from long-time fans. The album overall is hit and miss for me, but at least they haven’t lost the sense of fun and enormous catchiness that the band are known for. I think this will take more listens for me to love it than their previous records have, but it’s definitely a solid effort.
Favourite tracks: Boomerang, Maximize, Supersonic
Author: Sophie ShireRead the full story