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A decent tribute - 72%

Liquid_Braino, December 22nd, 2012

On August eleventh, 2007, Sophie Lancaster was beaten and kicked to death by a gang of teenage shitheads due to her 'goth' appearance and clothing. The perpetrators even gloated about it afterwards, which, clueless as to understanding just how stupid they were, ultimately sealed their fates with easy convictions. It was a tragic and heartbreaking enough incident that, with more international exposure, Westboro Baptist church members would have flown across the ocean just to picket her funeral. This horrible occurrence unquestionably struck a nerve with Delain, in which this album was released as a dedication to Sophie. Most of the lyrical themes tend to revolve around being different and defiant in the face of adversity and hostility, with a few songs, such as the title track, directly referencing that fateful night.

Although lumped into the symphonic metal genre, Delain seems to be gradually steering away from that niche to an even more accessible form of metal. We Are The Others is bookended with pretty solid tracks that fit squarely in what could be considered as quality textbook examples of symphonic metal, but the rest of the album follows more standard pop patterns and commercial aspects that draw the listener in with catchy choruses and vocal hooks. That is not to say the album is an abomination, in that for what it's worth, Delain are very good at what they do, composing catchy tunes that rest almost entirely upon the shoulders and voice of singer Charlotte Wessels, carrying the melodies with enough eloquence and memorability to latch onto our minds. She sure as hell knows what she's doing, since a fair amount of these numbers do resonate almost intensely for better or worse.

Despite a general preference towards the heavier and more bombastic cuts bookending the album, my favorite track here is actually "Electricity" simply because the chorus fucking kicks ass. It's anthemic without being overblown, and Charlotte just nails this shit, singing with enough vim to pound the message home without spiraling into histrionics. The title track is immoderately catchy as well, unsubtle in its aims and a bit hokey, like a “Kumbaya” for teenage outcasts.

Musically the drums carry most of the flair while the rest of the instrumentation often feels like it’s regulated as a backdrop for the vocal fireworks, with some guitar melodies squirreled in at key times to flesh out the songs, and some keyboard noodling, most notably during tracks like "I Want You", which feels indebted to Muse as its inspiration. The guitars are down-tuned quite a bit, which muddies up certain riffs enough where it can become challenging to figure out what chords are being played.

Along with some good poppish metal tunes are a few numbers I could've lived happily without knowing they exist. I was worried that "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" was going to be a cover of the Pat Benatar song, thus I was relieved when it began that it wasn't the case, until about the halfway mark in which by then I wished it actually was a Pat Benatar cover since the lackluster grooves and obnoxious lyrics sort of beaconed the point where the album as a whole dips in quality for a sizable length of time. The duet with the Fear Factory guy, "Where Is The Blood" sounds more like recent Lacuna Coil fare than what I would have expected by adding Burton C. Bell as a guest, but honestly no guest singer could really make this thing any better. I also can't say that I'm much of a fan of the first single released from this effort, "Get the Devil Out of Me" with its "I'm no Jesus Christ!" rant by Charlotte. Of course you're not...first of all, you're a chick.

With half of We Are The Others being agreeable tracks and the other half mediocre to slightly repellant, it winds up being an average affair with some memorable keepers. Most importantly, though, is that I cannot deny that the singer is amazingly gifted. This woman has a strong, clean and engaging timbre to the point where I'm almost surprised that management CEOs haven't tried to extract her from the band to sing tunes you would hear in a Gap store. We Are The Others does have its heart in the right place as a tribute to someone who should not have lost her life at such a young age for such a dubious reason, and there certainly have been worse musical eulogies and dedications churned out in the past (Puff Daddy's "I'll Be Missing You" to me is more of an insult than exhuming and desecrating Biggie's grave). It's flirtations with straightforward pop rock with a metal edge could be construed as a warning as to what direction the band are leaning towards in the future, but for this endeavor they still manage to make the cut thanks to some stand-out moments.