For those of you who first came across Delirium earlier this summer with their Ibiza-like anthem “Silence”, and then shuddered in disgust, you’ll probably be amazed to know that they’ve been making albums for night on 15 years now. From early electronica outings like “Faces,Forms and Illusions” to the Enigma-esque territory of “Semantic Spaces”, Delerium might be better known to you from their day job, industrial noise terrorist demi-gods Frontline Assembly, Fear Factory collaborators to boot and creators of many a fine industrial album, especially 1994s’ classic “Millenium”, since ripped off by every industrial metal band ever since. Especially as it sounded like Pantera meeting Manga.
However, there’s something ironic about a band making their biggest hit with a side project. Even that track “Silence” was originally made in 1997, and then hit the charts more than 3 years later. Ridiculous. Well, It's included on the Bonus CD here. Having said that, the main crux of the album is very Enigma-esque territory, soothing, gentle ambient soundscapes with beats, panpipes, etheral sampled vocals and chilled out vibes, very much in the same area as Brian Eno or Nightmares On Wax in terms of overall ambience. With the departure of Rhys Fulber, the more sonically challenging member of the duo, to join Fear Factory as a full time keyboard player and producer, Bill Leeb has overhauled the template and come up with something that actually, is different, yet the same as before. Its smoother, less abrasive, and he’s decided to fiddle with the formula to make it even more beautiful, tranquil and relaxing than ever before. “Innocente” is quite exquisite, “Aria” is bleepy techno (yet featuring the medieval babes?!!!?), like every single track on the album, its waiting for that inevitable remix to sell its millions.
So it's chilled out, so it's nice, but ethereal,spooky, with added live instruments that mesh in to make this even more sonically stunning. Strings, acoustic guitars, live drums, harps, choirs . . it seems like nothing is spared on this album. The production is lush, clear and crystal, and samples of Lisa Gerrard (who can be heard warbling all over the soundtracks to Gladiator and The Insider, as well as being half of Dead Can Dance)pop up,further enhancing the ethereal, chilled out atmosphere that somewhat resembles the inside of a monastery if Brian Eno was providing the music.
Quite frankly, I wasn’t expecting much. While far better than the “Karma” CD which preceded it 3 years ago, don’t let the trance like Ibiza by number remix of “Silence” that entered the charts earlier this year cloud your judgement, because this is nothing like that, except that it uses keyboards. Maybe its not cutting edge, maybe its not even contemporary, but it certainly seems timeless: it could have been made at any time in the last 100 hundred years, yet could only be made right now. Achingly beautiful, ethereal, wispy, brooding and perfect late night listening, especially as its music for people who don’t like music…and people who love music also. Your parents would probably like it (that is, as long as your dads’ not actually John Peel), but still, listen to it and discover something beautiful, surprising and relaxing. Its rather like a nice long hot bath, only delivered in CD form. Or something.
8Graham Reed's Score