April Rain

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Symphonic metal with prominent pianos and a glamorous female singer -- that would be an unwieldy name for a genre but after enough years of bands that clearly wore their copies of early Gathering CDs into the ground, still appropriate. Thus the sophomore effort by Delain, which has all the flair one would expect for a band that might be the new Evanescence or the new Birthday Massacre or its own self. Or something else again, but the elements on April Rain won't surprise many -- Charlotte Wessels' sweet, soaring vocals; the chunky but polished rampage of the band; the half-AOR, half-snarled thrash; plus, of course, orchestrations galore, as "Stay Forever" delivers from the start. It's an album to enjoy for its ability for the obvious -- for newcomers it might be less so, of course, so it's a chance to enjoy the big pomp and Euro-metal guitars in their own right. Everything does seem like it should be soundtracking the latest Underworld movie, no bad thing necessarily.

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