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Andrew’s Judgmental Album Reviews: Delain – Dark Waters (2023)

Delain has a new lineup, and the JAR doesn’t hit too much Symphonic Metal. So lets see how this fairs in judgment!

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So a little set up for this one, since I’ve been aware of the band for years. We have here, a Symphonic Metal Band in a similar vein to Within TemptationAmarantheNightwish, and that general sound. However, my general disinterest was because they cropped up at a time when there were a ton of female fronted Symphonic Metal bands. So early 00s being a saturation of a certain sound; this band never really stood out to me.

Then in 2021 they broke up for like 5 months, and the founding keyboardist rebuilt the lineup. We have a mixture of new and old faces on this album, a new singer and yes, the most recent single Moth to a Flame; intrigued me, if for no other reason then what the chord progression of the chorus sounds like.

Now you’re caught up enough, the band has been around nearly 20 years in some iteration, if you like Epica, you probably won’t hate this. So lets do the band intro and get to the review!

Delain is: Martjin Westerholt (Keyboards), Sander Zoer (Drums), Ludovico Cioffi (Backing Vocals, Bass, Harsh Vocals), Ronald Landa (Guitar, Harsh Vocals), Diana Leah (Lead Vocals)

  • Artist: Delain
  • Album: Dark Waters (2023)
  • Label: Napalm Records
  • Total Track Time: 48:00

Hideaway Paradise is definitely on the nose with the title. Musically its a little too mid tempo for my personal liking as an opening song; but it does have a nice victorious vibe and feeling within the arrangement. While the lyrics are open enough to the severity of the separation and feeling of being on the edge, the hiding away from your problems concept is valid and comes across clearly. “Feel the distance grow, Between two hearts that lose touch in the crowd, The storm is bearing down, Whispered echoes call me down” – again severity is a little murky, but the overall uplifting instrumentation takes a song that could be depression encapsulated and leaves it feeling hopeful. The Quest and The Curse is one of those song that contrasts the clean female vocal with the harsh male vocal for effect the concept of struggling to find ‘their Neverland’. But with the choir breakdown and the orchestral influences trills and flairs; the song comes off more like poor man’s Planet Hell. Reductive, sure, but I can’t find myself not sticking on that song comparison. Beneath (feat Paolo Ribaldini) is honestly a very rhythm/groove driven song and its either about drowning or some underwater/sinking imagery for confronting things far beneath. While sometimes I like vague lyrics, these are a little too vague. The sounds cool, and its definitely a solid single, but any depth the lyrics could’ve added feels like they missed the mark a little.

Mirror of Night has an almost Castlevania vibe with the prominent drum drive and a haunting symphony that compliments lyrics that are actually pretty clever. Mirror of Night gets across the imagery of night time bringing in constant thoughts be it reliving regretful actions that you replay or just the mind racing a million miles an hour concept. The haunting arrangement definitely helps get across that concept of night time lucid dream level of not being able to shake thoughts. Tainted Hearts is…uninspired. It just kinda stays in a boring and ethereal tempo until the chorus, and that doesn’t really excite the palate. Its really just empty calories, every generic symphonic song ever. The Cold opens like more of a wartime vibe. Lyrically this song sounds like Within Temptation and H.I.M. had a baby; and I’m not sure how I feel about it. While not objectively a bad song, it does the same thing for me as the last song, nothing. Toward the end is a bit of an orchestral breakdown, but this fails to evoke anything from me beyond the desire to get more coffee to stay awake.

Moth to a Flame is a song that at the start, all I can say is, ‘Yes, I can’t unhear Cascada Everytime We Touch either’. Lyrically its all about someone who’s drawn to someone else like a moth to a flame. Musically it is very pop oriented, like Amaranthe levels of pop music. Its still catchy and not terrible, but if Pop music makes you cringe…avoid this one. Queen of Shadow at least does what the title implies, bringing a darker and heavier tonal shift. This song also does a lot of different things for the album, there’s a great guitar and keyboard harmony and the chorus uses clean male gang vocals reminding me a little bit of Avantasia. So the song sets itself apart as unique and interesting, so we’re building well to the end of the album. Invictus (feat Marko Hietala) just off who’s on the feature I’m excited. Marko is the most well known Bassist and Male Vocalist for Nightwish, also rose to prominence with Tarot. So I’m immediately intrigued because the song is mid tempo, but I love the layered vocal effect they do with Diana and Marko. Its not really backing vocals, its choral part work that gets layered very nicely onto each other. I’m not really paying attention to the lyrics as caught up in the arrangement and musical choices they made for this. Oh Marko does get some solo singing with the bridges. Given that last year he officially retired from full activity and only agreed to finish out promises and do a few special one offs; I’m going to value the Marko content we get in the coming years. Underland has a nice menacing color to the music, and the lyrics being a Underworld hellscape of Wonderland (like the Alice in variety), it makes the song interesting. Dark and looming the song at least ends the album in a more ‘heavy’ vein, but it leaves a little to be desired still.

So I feel like the Disney/fairy tale lyrical content and some arrangements that harken back a little too closely to Nightwish may hurt the general appeal. While none of the music was inherently bad, a lot of it was boring, far too much mid tempo and felt like it turned further into the pop elements than symphonic. Now that’s not to discredit the songs that were pretty damn good. Just the album felt more average with a few standouts.

Much like the Annette years with Nightwish, it may take more than the first album to really click. Invictus, Moth to a Flame, Mirror of Night and Queen of Shadow are gems for different reasons. Not a complete mess, but not as far above average as I was hoping for.

 

Final Judgment: 6/10


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Mitchell’s Hyrule Puro-Resu News Report! (6/21/24)

The clock is ticking.

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Time keeps on slipping (slipping slipping), into the future…!

It’s almost time again for Termina Velocity! HPW is busting out the stop watch for some real special matches to determine the future of wrestling!

 

That’s right, HPW is heading back across the border to the wild, wild west of wrestling! Synchronize your watches, because July 4th will see some serious fireworks!

 

HPW has a special twist to the Beat the Clock Challenge!

Another six competitors will battle against each other and the clock, but no one knows who they’re facing! The six worthy candidates will be notified and shuffled to make for three incredible match-ups! And in the end, whoever wins the fastest will be THE #1 Contender to the Undisputed HPW Triforce World Championship, having their title match with Link at Treasure Island in August! Who will be lucky enough to be chosen? And who will be even luckier in the match card draw?

 

Arrow Club takes aim at TSDQ!

As Fin Balure, The Young Ducks and the rest of the Club tried to help Yunobo take the title from Link, Groose led the charge in stopping them. The Studly Don’t Quit, but if you ask Arrow Club, they’ve picked a fight with the wrong ones! So HPW management has decided that if Arrow Club wants payback and TSDQ wants a title match, they can do both at the same time! The Zora Rock ‘n’ Rolla will take on The Skyfall Stud 1v1, but with a golden opportunity on the line! Will TSDQ get their shot at the HPW World Trios Championships? Or will they be crossed right off the list?

 

The Gerudo Ace has his hands full with this one.

The Dark Forces made sure Kevin Gibdo wasn’t screwed over by The UnderWorld Order, but it was the Masked Monster that came for payback backstage! He just went right after Ganon, it was a pull-apart, and yet Ganon is willing to give Majora a match? Yes, but it is under special circumstances. Ganon is all about honoring Termina wrestling, having faced TCW legends before. But now he wants to bring out something special from Termina wrestling history: The Carnival of Time!

In this special timed match, it will be six rounds, three minutes each, and the first to two falls wins! A disqualification or a knockout ends things immediately. If neither competitor reaches two points by the end of regulation, the points leader wins by default, but a tie goes to the incumbent champion, Ganon. Honoring the past, fighting for the future, will Ganon reign forever? Or will his time run out? We find out on July 4th, at the Great Bay Coast in Western Termina!


My Thoughts:

Realized doing one event in the middle of a month when the next one is meant to be for the start of a month is tricky so I needed to hustle on this. But since the Beat the Clock Challenge matches are purposefully short, I should be alright to get five matches done in just two weeks. See you late night on July 3rd for a Fourth of July publish!


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Mitchell’s Hyrule Puro-Resu News Report! (6/18/24)

C’est la vie!

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Fallout from Wrestling Is Life!

Wrestling Is Life, and part of that life is you win some, you lose some. We hear from the stars of HPW in the aftermath of this new June event!

 

After the HPW Death Mountain Championship Open Challenge.

Ganon & Cia find Ghirahim backstage.

The Gerudo asks The Living Blade, “What happened? I thought you were gonna challenge Thunderbird!” Ghirahim says he was. Didn’t they see what happened back here? No, what did happen? Ghirahim says it was a mad dash, several dozen wrestlers trying to reach gorilla, but he was pulling ahead because of his great parkour skills. Ganon knows about that, right? He’s seen Ghirahim do the leaps and the kongs. Ganon has no idea what he’s talking about. Well, anyway, Ghirahim was just feet away, and then WHAM! Something hit him from the side and sent him flying into road cases! It was… It was HER!

Ghirahim points at Tali of the Gerudo Sisterhood! Ganon asks if that’s true. Tali shrugs and says yeah. Though a lot of good it did her, she still missed out on the match. Ghirahim says serves her right for getting in his way! And he warns her it better not happen again. Oh? And what’s he gonna do about it? Tali and Ghirahim stare down, but Cia says now’s not the time for that. For one, she has her match next. Tali chuckles and says Ghirahim’s lucky “Mommy” was here. Tali leaves, Ghirahim seethes, but The Dark Forces head out. Will the Dame of the Dunes scale Death Mountain again in the near future?

 

After the HPW Goddess Championship match.

Cia returns backstage.

We know that the Dark Sorceress did not win the title off Ruto, and she is in a foul mood. She kicks a trash can and keeps shouting, “Dammit! Dammit, dammit, dammit!” Cia shrieks and storms off. Well, we know her mood won’t improve with the next match…

Ruto returns backstage.

The Arrow Club applauds as the Zora Princess returns victorious. Ruto thanks them for their praises, but it was never in doubt that she would win. “Now, you boys better do your part out there.” Fin says of course. By the end of tonight, the Arrow Club will be golden. Arrow Club all has confident smiles on their faces as they head back to the locker rooms.

 

After the HPW World Trios Championships match.

The Dark Forces regroups.

Ganon is there as Volga, Zant & Wizzro return. He is clearly disappointed by their loss. “Seriously? Didn’t you guys win Blood & Thunder? How did you lose here?” Volga says Zant kept doing his own thing instead of sticking to the game plan! Zant says he was just calling audibles based on what he was seeing. He needed to call an audible when Volga was going for a Frog Splash? Ganon tells them to stop arguing, and says they clearly need to figure some things out, maybe make some changes. Ganon leads the group away, what changes could he mean?

Arrow Club regroups.

Ruto, Torbevito & Scaly applaud as Fin Balure & The Young Ducks return triumphant. Fin says, “What’d I tell ya?” Ruto says yes, he was right. And also, their “gift” is ready. Ooh~! Alright then, they’ll make sure to talk to you-know-who when the time is right. Torbevito says, “His name’s Yu-no-bo, dude.” Fin sighs and says he knows that, Torb, he was trying to keep it on the downlow. Oh…! Fin ushers Arrow Club out of gorilla position and back to the locker rooms.

 

After the Million Rupee Championship match.

The Dark Forces regroups, again.

Kevin Gibdo returns with the title belt, and Ganon says, “Finally, something to celebrate! Good on ya, Evan.” It’s Kevin. Whatever! Point is, they can call him champion now! Ganon pats Kevin on the back, but Zant points out it took “the rest of us” to help Kevin since the uWo showed up. “Rest of us?” Volga repeats. “Where were you out there?” Ganon has them stop arguing again, but he does agree that Zant’s one to talk. Just focus on the positives. Things are looking up for the group, they’re gonna keep this going through the Summer. But then MAJORA JUMPS IN!? And he goes right after Ganon!!

The Dark Forces tries to stop Majora but he fires off on all of them! Ganon BOOTS back, Majora staggers into the cameraman, and then Ganon shoves Majora at the table! Ganon fires off hands and beats Majora down on top of the water bottles! Referees and producers rush in, they get Ganon to back off, and he warns Majora to watch himself. The refs tell Ganon to get outta here, and he says fine, he’s leaving! But then TORPEDO MAJORA!! Ganon goes down in a heap against Volga and Wizzro! Majora says Ganon better watch himself! Majora storms off, is he going to terminate the HPW Termina Champion?

 

After the HPW Triforce World Championship Steel Cage match.

Arrow Club returns backstage.

All of them are upset, and Rick asks what “those marks” were doing running out there to attack them. Mack says, “The Studly Don’t Quit? More like The Studly Don’t Think! The Studly Don’t Know What They’ve Gotten Themselves Into!” Torbevito says that’s a lot of letters for a team name. Mack says, “Shut up, Torb!” Then Yunobo storms in, and he pushes past Arrow Club to get right in front of the camera! “LINK! You can o’ green beans with legs! You think you proved anything by jumpin’ off the top of a cage?! You only proved you’re not afraid o’ HEIGHTS! Yeah! You thought you bled tonight, you thought you survived? DIG IT!

“You may feel good right now, but later on, you’re gonna WISH that you hadn’t made it through the night, YEAH! Do you know who yer messin’ with? Yer messin’ with ME! The Macho Goro, Yunobo! GOODBYE!” Yunobo storms off and the Arrow Club is in awe. Torbevito is ecstatic as he says “It’s working! It’s totally working!” Ruto gives him a smack on the shoulder and says, “Shh, Torb, shh!” Fin says, “Now that guy is gonna be a champion!” Arrow Club follows after “The Macho Goro,” will this savage new attitude help him steamroll through the HPW roster?


My Thoughts:

OOOOH YEAH, time to finally reference one of the true greats. I doubt I’ll really capture the “it factor” of Randy Savage but I’d be remised if I didn’t try. Also, I needed to set up something for the Termina Championship so there, Majora just goes after Ganon because he’s crazy and unpredictable and also Majora threatened to destroy Termina in the Zelda games so it was only a matter of time. Pun not intended.


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