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Review: Delphian - Oracle

Label: Lion Music
Year released: 2005
Duration: 54:18
Tracks: 10
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: August 29, 2019
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers Rating

Rated 4/5 (80%) (4 Votes)

Delphian are a little-known Progressive Metal act that released their 2005 debut Oracle with very little fanfare. From what I can tell, this was around the time the scene was flooded with female-fronted Nightwish wannabes and everyone was getting tired of it. At least, that's the only decent explanation I can give for music this good being largely ignored when it was released.

Delphian are as technical as you'd expect a band like this to be, but they have a melodic sensibility that's closer to '70s prog rock like Yes or even Genesis than Dream Theater. That's not to say the band isn't heavy as all hell, as most of this is driven by percussive, rhythmic riffing led by the warm, almost operatic voice of Aniek Jaansen, but they also slow down for some lovely acoustic sections and even some flute playing here and there. This makes it all sound like a mess, but the mix of modern prog heaviness with old-school prog smoothness makes for a compelling sound that's equal parts familiar and distinct. The first four tracks are excellent, with the oddly titled "Sylvester's Dusk" standing out in particular, and the closing one-two punch of "Wrong Turn" and "Door to Reality" more than make up for the dull acoustic number "The Unknown" and the jittery mess of "On Sale".

The band released another album two years later, but while they are still apparently active, there hasn't been much word on them since. I may get to that at some point in the future, but for now, this is an album of kinetic and sometimes beautiful Metal that only occasionally makes the mistake of losing track of the song. A lost gem.

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