Album review: Delerium's <i>Chimera</i>

Today was the release of Delerium's new release Chimera, and being the longtime fan of the electronic duo, I made sure I stopped by the store and picked up my copy today.

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Based out of Vancouver, Delerium is made up of Rhys Fulber and Bill Leeb, who have also fronted other musical projects including Front Line Assembly, Conjure One, and Synaesthesia. This team has perfected the knack of creating beautiful and interesting soundscapes using a variety of layered organic-sounding keyboards and percussion.
Delerium got started circa 1988, and created music in the genres of dark-ambient (Morpheus), tribal rhythms (Syrophenikan), industrial (Euphoria) and even space-age music similar to the Orb (Spheres). Many tracks evoked Medieval/Gothic sounds and orchestration, with song titles like “Inside the Chamber” and “Twilight Ritual”.

In the mid-90s, they honed in on a style and released Semantic Spaces, then a couple years later Karma. Both had a mixture of chill-out atmosphere, world beats, sporadic Gregorian Chants, and ethereal guest female vocals similar to (and superior to that of) Enigma. Moreover, the music also took a bit of a brighter feel to it. Also in this span, there was more of a lean toward song structure and shorter songs. The song “Silence”, a collaboration with Sarah McLachlan, got some heavy radio play. The subsequent album in 2000, Poem, continued on that path, although songs continued to be more radio-and-dance friendly, while the ambient soundscapes took a more secondary role.

On their 2003 release, Chimera, the duo keep the formula going… some ethnic beats, ethereal female vocals (including Julee Cruise), and a helping of smooth techno. This is perhaps their most “dance-friendly” album to date, and (somewhat unfortunately) the 7+ minute meandering songs all appear to be a memory, aside from the sublime 9-minute “Eternal Odyssey”. Even so, the hooks in the songs are pretty memorable and catchy, especially in songs like “After All” and “Fallen”… probably even moreso than in Poem.

Favorite tracks on the album include “Just A Dream” featuring Margaret Far, “Magic” with Julee Cruise, and “Returning” with usual suspect Kristy Thirsk. Although I still haven’t listened to it enough yet for everything to really sink in.

First impression is that I like it better than Poem, but not as much as Karma. Even though Fulber and Leeb may have permanently abandoned their “spookiness” vibes of the past, and some of the songs dangerously approach pure Top 40 fare, they still continue to release music far superior than what's being passed as electronica/techno on radio now. And good timing too. It’s the kind of tracks that fit well with a hazy summer.

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I really liked "Purify" - it

I really liked "Purify" - it was one of Sarah Maclachlan's best vocal efforts.

Delerium has long been one

Delerium has long been one of my favorite bands. I haven't picked up the new album yet, but I plan on doing so this week.

The Sarah Maclachlan track was not bad at all, but I find that there are many more tracks without her that are much better.

Okay, so I picked up this

Okay, so I picked up this album, and I have to say, that I actually like their older works better. While this isn't a bad album, I like the style of the older work better. Track 12 on the new album has a very old Delerium feel to it though. They just introduced way too many singers on this album for my taste.

i got it today. its great in

i got it today. its great in the popish sense. But i feel they gotten into the middle eastern vibes quite a bit. it was also evident in Rhy's Conjure one release. anway i love this album for its diversity into jazz, pop and soundscape. its a good album maybe not an excellent one but i nvr regret buying it even if it was at a expensive import price ( i dun stay in canada or the us). i hope they can brush up their jazzy compositions cos i feel its not up to par yet.

The album has grown on me

The album has grown on me after repeated listened, although I still like Semantic Spaces and Karma better. That said, for some reason I seem to like Chimera a bit more than Poem. If anything, they've really mastered the art of "hooks" and catchy tunes.

Speaking of Poem, I think the very talented Mediaeval Baebes were misused on that disc. Far too uptempo of a track for them. Something slower with more harmonics would've been better.

I agree Track 12 on Chimera is a great song that harkens back the old days. I'm thinking Track 3 may be about my favorite on the CD.

There will be another Conjure One release either later this year or next winter.

If you guys would like some atmospheric, lush, yet beat-driven music the Delerium duo has done as side projects in the past, check out Intermix's "Future Primitives" (out of print) and Synaesthesia's "Ephemeral". Good gems.

Long time Enigma fan, I

Long time Enigma fan, I heard Silence on a college radio station a few years back and got hooked on Delerium. Karma was a great album, so I went backwards and got Sematic Spaces...even more pleased. Poem was pleasant, but had a top 40 "feel" to it.
Chimera is a bit closer to Karma than Poem. There is only one song, Magic, that has a WAY too sugary sound to it (Where's Chritina or Britany?) Other than that song...this disk became my favorite after about the second listen through. And yes...they did throw in a couple long intrumentals that hark back to Pre-Poem Delerium, so all-in-all...a rock solid effort.

Nice enough, but too

Nice enough, but too pop-flavoured. I greatly preferred the ambient/atmospheric stuff of their earlier disks.

This is the most commercial

This is the most commercial release to date....but the songs are absolutely brilliant...the lyrics are great and how catchy are they! I think it is a great idea to let up and coming female and male vocalists feature on their tracks...esp Nerina Pallot who in her own right has a great album out there. It's good to see the vocalists be part of the writing process as well! Best Tracks- After All, Run For It, Trully,Fallen and Returning..the mimited edition has a great remix of After All as well as an unrelased vocal track called Stpwatch Hearts!actually amost every track is good.. keep an eye on the lyrics as I appreciated each song even more...Great Effort...I'd give it a 8 out of 10!

After having experienced

After having experienced Semantic Spaces and Karma, I found myself asking the question "Is this Delerium I'm listening to?" on my first listen of Chimera. That being said, I very much enjoyed the performances of Zoe Johnston, Margaret Far, Jael, and Nerina Pallot. It was also nice to see that Kristy Thirsk "returns" (pardon the bad pun) aptly-titled "Returning."

I've been listening to

I've been listening to Delerium for years and I think this is their most commerical outing to date. I've listened to this CD nonstop for the past week and I love it! I would say my favorite song is Just a Dream. Does anybody know anything about Margaret Far? Does she have her own CD out?

Tom Franks, Yes, Margaret

Tom Franks,

Yes, Margaret Far has a CD out entitled "Daytrip". I bought it on Amazon.com at a used price dirt cheap, and it's en route to my house! Looking forward to checking it out.

OHHH!!! A NEW DELERIUM!!!

OHHH!!! A NEW DELERIUM!!! Just today I found out that the new cd has arrived here in the Netherlands, so I immediately ordered it and now I've to wait anxiously until it gets here! After reading all these positive critics I'm expecting a lot of it :D

I don't know whether to

I don't know whether to laugh, cry or become angry. Unlike the ethereal ethno-pop of Delerium's "Semantic Spaces" and Karma albums, and even "Poem" to an extent, which at least had a nice ambient framework and gorgeous atmospheres. Chimera does not deliver even close to what those albums did. This album consists of nothing but contrived pop hooks, dreadful lyrics, and way too many guest vocalists. I realize they've always done a certain amount of pop, but never anything as remotely cliche and unoriginal as this. Why would anyone waste $15-$20 on this cd when you can just flip on the radio and hear this forgettable junk all day for free? Even worse, they still threw in a chant or flute here in there to make this album still seem a bit "world" but ended up doing more damage than good as the mixture of styles clash horribly and seem disjointed. The album is soooo cheesy I feel embarassed to play it around anyone I know. And what's with the lame excursions into pretensious jazzy-lounge and hip-hop towards the end of the album? Yeh, yeh, I know people will say that Delerium is simply evolving, etc. but there are many ways to evolve much more gracefully and less forcibly. I've heard compilation cds that flow much better than this. Another thing about this cd I detest is that I could at least relax to all of Delerium's albums, even the dancey tracks, but not this one. Not even for a minute. It's simply too hyper and too occupied to even pull my thoughts together.
If you're looking for more music along the lines of Delerium's previous three albums, or just good music in general, look elsewhere, but definitely not here.

Some people have urged others not to draw comparissons of this album to "Karma" and I can see why, because doing so only re-enforces how bad this cd actually is.

This Album is amazing. Your

This Album is amazing. Your music just keeps getting better. I hope you never stop!

Run for

Run for it!!!
Delerium+Art+Music=Infinity

I find this band

I find this band apsolutely briliant!!!

hello, my name is olivia

hello, my name is olivia barton
i am 15 years old, and i wanted to tell you that your music has greatly inspired me ! i love your lyrics! especially your chimera album!

it would be really great if you can email me !
i dont know why, its just that you are my favorite band/group. my cousin sal had your cd, and i made him give it to me. i have gotten 5 people to listin to your music, and it has inspired us all! thank you
olivia

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MUSIC

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MUSIC THAT I?VE EVER HEARD!!!!, IT?S A MUST TO HEAR IT.

I don't get why people would

I don't get why people would accuse this album for being poppy. There's nothing like this in Pop Music today. Although it can sound radio friendly, it's a lot better than what's out there. Keep listening to this album, it'll grow on you and you'll find it flawless. Really love it! Keep up the great work!

I love the album, poem and

I love the album, poem and chimera! Delerium is AWESOME! Buy the cd now!!!!!!!!! It makes me happy, when I listen to pretty music, it makes me to be nice to everyone and animals too!! :)

I love deleruim i hope this

I love deleruim i hope this music never dies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There was an interview

There was an interview recently (I think within the last couple months) with Bill Leeb of Delerium and Front Line Assembly. It can be found at...

http://www.barcodezine.com/
(see upper-right corner of page)

The last two questions/answers were particularly interesting...

-------

Q. So what are your next objectives, to work on Delerium?

Leeb: Well, we?re probably gonna do one more for sure. But I think we?re gonna do something quite different. I?m kinda bored with where we went to with it now. We both feel like, we?re gonna do what comes naturally and make it a real dubby, electronic thing.

Q. A bit darker?

Leeb: Yeah, we?re only gonna maybe have a couple of tracks with vocals and just do what we wanna do and forget the whole pop thing for a while. I just don?t wanna go any further down that road. I just wanna do something more moody. I thought it would be fun to go down this road, but it?s not as much fun as I thought it?d be. You get too caught up in the whole pop single thing. It?s really not where we?re from and I don?t really wanna go into any more of that unchartered territory, because once you go past a certain point you can?t come back. I still think Chimera was walking that tightrope. Besides, we?ve done it, so there?s no point making another one like it, it would be a waste of time.

I wish from my inside that

I wish from my inside that Delerium and Front Line Assembly never dies. I admire the unbelievable electronic creativity of Bill Leeb, Rhys Fulber and so much others.

It is a pity that they aren't so extended, at least here in Spain. They must be more known.

I love delerium, they make

I love delerium, they make the best albums ever! I hope they make music forever! Cheers to them.