The Dutch symphonic band Delain are due to issue their third album this year, entitled 'We Are The Others'. They've been working on it for a long time and had previewed three new songs in their live set last year. However an interview with keyboard player and founder Martijn Westerholt and singer Charlotte Wessels revealed that the record is unlikely to come out by the time the band return to play live shows in Europe this spring. The interview in full can be read here, but the salient part is that although their label Roadrunner is ready to put the album out, their parent company Warner is not, and according to the band, it is because of a decision taken at executive level.
On the face of it, this makes no sense at all. To be honest, I'm a bit behind the times here - I always considered Roadrunner to be an independent label specialising in Metal releases; I wasn't aware that they'd been acquired by Warner (in actual fact, they'd taken a majority stake in Roadrunner back in 2006, and bought them out totally in late 2010). If what the band say is true, you have to wonder why a major would buy out a Metal label if they then decide they don't like what the bands on their roster are coming up with?
There's already a Facebook petition gathering speed to get Warner to change their mind, but you'd think that a band with a growing following (especially in Britain) and two well-received albums out already would have little problem getting their third one released, especially with a tour already booked.
The days of major record companies deciding what we all hear are over, or so I thought. The Internet took away a lot of their control over what the masses get to hear and the majors still are uncomfortable with that. An executive making a unilateral decision to bury a band's record will not be accepted in this day and age, especially when that band is extremely savvy at using the web to promote itself. Delain's singer Charlotte has a large Twitter following and a regularly-updated blog where she keeps contact with fans.
I did wonder why it was that Warner would decide to shelve this record considering that their previous one ('April Rain') broke them to a lot of new fans, and although I can only speculate, my feeling is that they've decided that the new material isn't as accessible as before. The new songs aired last year hinted at a departure from that symphonic but catchy sound, maybe they were expecting another 'April Rain'. Of course, we'll only know how different it is when we hear it for ourselves!
The other theory I have is that the major is focusing on Charlotte herself; again I can only speculate but with the massive success of Adele in the last year or so, maybe Warner see her as someone they can mould into a new star. Certainly her style of singing is unusual in Metal, sweeter than heard in many other bands of this type, and it's possible that record company executives think that if she were given more radio-friendly material she could become 'the next Adele'. Of course I've no evidence to support that theory but, if Warner did want to make a mainstream star of Charlotte then it would be better for them if she did not have a Metal 'past', as it were. Unluckily for them, with two albums under her belt, she already does!
I did say in a review of the band's show at Leeds two years ago that they'd do well to hold on to her, but I thought that if she were to go solo then it would be on her own terms. She appears committed to the band for the forseeable future but it would not be the first time a record company would try to steer a singer down a different path in order to achieve huge mainstream success.
Whatever the reasons for shelving the album, speaking as a fan I hope that the campaign does succeed and the record released for those people who want to buy it. Regardless of the album situation, the band will tour in May and intend to perform several new songs from 'We Are The Others', so it would only make sense for the record to be released.
Of course, where major record companies are concerned, common sense doesn't always apply!
Here's a trailer for the upcoming tour - if they're coming anywhere near you, go along!