By Jason Wellwood
Originally released in 2006 on Roadrunner in Europe, Lucidity is the debut release from this Dutch symphonic metal band. Sensory has re-released the album in North America due to the overwhelming success of the band’s second album April Rain. For those of you who might need an extra push to pick it up, they’ve included the bonus tracks ‘(Deep) Frozen’, ‘Frozen (acoustic)’, ‘Silhouette of a Dancer (Acoustic)’, ‘See Me In Shadow (Acoustic)’ and ‘No Compliance (Charlotte vocals)’. The first four tracks were previously available in Europe on the singles released for Lucidity (‘See Me In Shadow’ and ‘Frozen’) however the final track is previously unreleased. The final track is the most interesting one here since the album version features Within Temptation’s Sharon den Adel and Marco Hietala of Nightwish/Tarot on vocals, not Delain front woman Charlotte Wessels. The album version of ‘No Compliance’ is fantastic, no doubt: swirling keyboards and a great interplay between two solid, powerful vocalists. The bonus version here changes the song simply by eliminating the male vocal, giving Charlotte’s version a much more vulnerable and self-empowering feel. As for the included acoustic versions, it’s a definite tribute to the writing prowess of Martijn Westerholt and the captivating vocals of Wessels that these songs stand up so well with just piano, vocals, acoustic guitars and drums. No keyboard symphonies, no triggers, just honest music played beautifully.
As for the bulk of the original album, it’s what you would expect from a former member of Within Temptation (Westerholt): soaring vocals, bombastic guitar solos, pounding drums, lush keyboard and symphonic string arrangements. All played with subtlety and an attention to contrast that it seems only those in power or progressive metal remember any more. My one real complaint in this record is the use of the male ‘grunt’. It’s completely unnecessary and actually detracts from the beauty and power of Wessels’ voice rather than complimenting it.
If you aren’t a fan of symphonic power metal, Lucidity is not going to change your mind, however if this type of music gets your sword hand itchy, this album is definitely amongst the ‘must haves’ for you.