LIVE REVIEW: Delain @ O2 Ritz, Manchester – 7th February 2020

Today marks the release of Delain’s brand new studio album, Apocalypse & Chill (yes, that is the real title of their new album!). This event gives tonight’s gig an extra special feel. Delain have come such a long way since their debut release, Lucidity, and with a number of line-up changes, a wide variety of releases, and so many world tours under their belts, Delain have come so far, and they aren’t finished yet!

Swedish bashers Cyhra (8) are supporting Delain this evening, also celebrating the recent release of their new album No Halos In Hell. They are a fitting act for the evening with powerful low tones, plenty of melodic guitar motifs and soaring vocals. The members of Cyhra may be familiar to fans of this scene, with former members from In Flames, Amaranthe, Rhapsody and Shining. The audience warm to metallers with ease and the atmosphere is building up nicely despite being fairly early in the evening. The intimate connection is formed through their emotional performance of Battle From Within. Vocalist Jake E prefaces this track by explaining that his brother had taken his own life. The metal scene in general is very caring, particularly the scene in Manchester. Being able to form a close connection over difficult topics through music is highly important.

Delain (9) open with Burning Bridges, this was the first single to be released from Apocalypse & Chill. This track encompasses the essence of symphonic metal through the orchestral instrumentation and soaring vocals. The catchy chorus and harsh vocals keep this track as instantly recognisably Delain, whilst clearly showing the latest evolution of their sound. Whenever Delain perform in Manchester they always receive a great reception. Seeing the crowd singing along at the first track of their set-list shows how many die-hard fans are present. Delain’s gigs really bring their fans, and metal-heads alike, together. Now of course, it wouldn’t be a Delain gig without some of their best-known tracks. April Rain, the track that really brought Delain into the spotlight, makes an early appearance in their performance.

The Dutch symphonic metallers create a great party atmosphere; the pop elements of their music, along with the heavy aspects, see the audience dancing and headbanging throughout the gig. Delain do slow down the action of their night to deliver an emotional performance of their latest single, Ghost House Heart. Delain’s performance this evening features cellist Elianne Anemaat. The heartfelt delivery of Martijn’s haunting keys, Charlotte’s soaring vocals and Elianne’s ghostly cello accompaniment produce something very magical. No one could have seen that performance and not be moved by it. Drummer Joey and guitarist Timo had the stage to themselves next with their performance of Combustion, an instrumental track from the new album. This fiery track creates quite a contrast from Ghost House Heart. The powerful bass and percussion complements Timo’s guitar shredding.

Their final track of the evening has a special meaning, but an even greater meaning in Manchester. We Are The Others, from the album of the same title, was written about Sophie Lancaster. For those who are unfamiliar, Sophie and her boyfriend Rob were attacked in 2007. Both identified through the gothic subculture. The attack led to Sophie’s death, from which her mum created The Sophie Lancaster Foundation to fight prejudice against the alternative subcultures. This track always brings people together and being played in Sophie’s home city has an extra special meaning.  

It’s great to see that tonight’s performance features tracks from all of their albums, it’s feels like a great celebration of their music. Delain have received great applause throughout the night and they seem overwhelmed by the love the audience shows for them. It’s safe to say that their performance tonight made the launch of Apocalypse & Chill extra special.

Words by Holly Royle

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