With the release of Delerium’s latest album Music Box Opera marking the band’s 25th year in the music industry, I thought it appropriate to write a review covering their entire discography, selecting a few tracks here and there. If you haven’t noticed already, I am a huge fan of the guys behind Delerium, Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber. They are extremely hard working, creative and highly prolific people with many side projects and major outfits to their names. Ironically enough, Delerium was only meant to be a side project as most of their energy was spent with their work in Front Line Assembly but it ended up blossoming ten fold and now in 2012, they are STILL producing music under this name!
Faces, Forms and Illusions (1987) – This marks the first release under the name of Delerium. Still very dark in tone like FLA, this album differs in that it has a very tribal and atmospheric sound to it, especially on Monuments of Deceit and Inside the Chamber! The use of electronica is very sparse and minimalist but it complements the darker tones well. A few Gregorian chants are thrown in for good measure, which resurfaces a great deal on future albums.
Morpheus (1989) – This second album is actually alot closer to FLA’s sound, with dark menacing synths, industrial beats and strange vocal samples. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as tracks like Faith and Temple of Light show just how layered and versatile they can be with their sound.
Syrophenikan (1990) – Harking back to a similar sound from the first album, they’ve gone with full tilt tribal beats on this one with angelic/creepy vocal samples mixed in. They use alot of quirky minimalist synths and horn noises. Standouts include Shroud and Mythos.
Stone Tower (1991) – This is the album where things shift dramatically. The sound has become alot darker and more gothic and industrial. The synths are colder and more layered than before, producing a desolate and bleak atmosphere for the listener. Standouts include Bleeding and Tundra.
Spiritual Archives (1991) – Still continuing with the gothic and industrial feel, they start to lighten up a bit with the synths and introduce a more melodic tone to the music. This album basically hints at a new direction for the band as they begin to leave their darkness behind. Standouts include Drama, Ephemeral Passage and Awakenings.
Spheres (1994) – The first in a two-part collection, the boys go in a wildly different direction compared to everything they’ve done before. The focus is now mostly on electronic synths with a few dramatic choirs and spacey sounds thrown in. They’ve literally gone space age, even to the point of including recorded movie quotes from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Standouts include Monolith and Colony.
Spheres II (1994) – The second part carries on in the same vein as the first, at times it has a more ambient feel to it but still has the same spacey synths in tact. They do an amazing job of making you feel like you’re actually in out of space in an astronauts suit, experiencing new lifeforms through music. Standouts include Shockwave and Hypoxia.
Semantic Spaces (1994) – Another dramatic shift in sound, this time borrowing heavily from the likes of Enigma and using alot of Gregorian chants, lush ambient beats and ethereal vocals on a few tracks. The whole album works as a complete listening experience, flowing from one track to the next and it’s actually the first album where a vocalist has collaborated on a Delerium album, in this case being Kristy Thirsk. Standouts include Metaphor and Sensorium.
Karma (1997) – This is Delerium’s most well known album, thanks to the release of the single Silence featuring Sarah McLachlan. It marks yet another change in sound, becoming more ethereal and angelic with their electronic ambience still in tact. And this album also uses alot more vocalists than the previous one, which ends up becoming a running trend for them. The use of samples ranges from Dead can Dance to the Baka Forest Pygmies. Standouts include Twilight, Forgotten Worlds, Lamentation and Remembrance.
Poem (2000) – Continuing on from the same thread as Karma, this release is actually the first in which Bill Leeb rode solo (as Rhys had other commitments at the time, he would later return). There is a lot more focus on pop song structures this time around, as well as mystic and eastern influences with the music. Standouts include Terra Firma, Nature’s Kingdom and Temptation.
Chimera (2003) – This is probably Delerium’s most commercial records to date, delving full force into electronic pop territory whilst still keeping their ethereal roots in tact from previous albums. It caused a backlash in the fanbase but the true fans still stuck by them. Standouts include Love, After All and Truly.
Nuages Du Monde (2006) – This album is a return to form of sorts, edging closer in style to Karma but also pushing forward with a greater focus on angelic vocals and middle eastern/Arabic sounds. The electronica is alot more minimalist and melodic but still has a big impact in complementing the vocalists. Standouts include Angelius, Tectonic Shift, Lumenis and Apparition.