The newest recording from Delphian entitled Unravel assaults the earlobes from the very start on the title cut “Starting to Unravel.” The in-your-face guitar and straightforward vocal tells you that the raw sound they were looking for on this recording succeeded here. Although I feel Aniek Janssen sings with power and fervor, I also feel she could improve a little on her emotive qualities. There is plenty of drama like an operatic soprano, yet very little nuance on this cut.
“Creation” has a strong memorable guitar hook by Coert Bouten. I like Aniek’s voice much better here. I hear a little more Lana Lane and a little less Annie Haslam. The band takes a phenomenal instrumental break at about four minutes in and prog-metallers will definitely appreciate the excellent fretwork here by Mr. Bouten.
One of the stronger melodies on the CD is “Sleepless Lullaby.” It’s a pleasant, very even song. There’s an exceptionally nice Jethro Tull influenced intro on “Focus on Acid,” with Aniek’s flutework figuring prominently. Another one of Aniek’s influences come to the fore with the almost Kate Bush-like chorus of “Black & Blue.” The next track, “Hidden” starts as one of the most commercial songs with a sing-along chorus and another great guitar hook. It then travels through several different motifs, confusing the listener the first few times it is experienced. This is a song that will reward you with frequent listens.
Lots of stops and starts like all the best progressive metal bands are doing nowadays. All of it extraordinarily played and performed. Just that at many times, I’m feeling a bit… ho-hum. Maybe it’s just not my cup of tea.
And then “Air” starts. Maybe it’s just the introduction of piano for the first time on the recording and my predilection for keyboards, but man! This song just blows me away and makes the whole CD worth the price of admission and listening. Aniek sings better here and more restrained, yet more emotionally sensitive. She displays a heart-on-your-sleeve tinge to the vocal surpassing any of her other performances on Unravel. Perhaps she is inspired by the inclusion of Leon Brouwer’s voice, who is also dynamic in this lovely prog rock male-female duet. This final track on Unravel is just beautiful and very progressive in a more symphonic manner.
If you appreciate some of the references I’ve made, then this will appeal to your tastes. I feel that most progressive rock fans would find the one track, “Air” fascinating. It would make it worth it to me, given the repeat listening rewards on some of the other cuts. Is it worth it to you? You decide
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on February 19th, 2008