Picture of Delerium

Faces, Forms And Illusions

Delerium - Faces, Forms And Illusions ©1987 Dossier
1. Monuments Of Deceit
2. Mecca
3. Inside The Chamber
4. Sword Of Islam
5. New Dawn
6. Certain Trust
7. Hidden Mask
8. Strangeways
9. Subvert/Wired Archives/Seig Of Atrocity
10. Dark Star

Somewhere relatively early in the Front Line Assembly career, Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber began to compartmentalizing various aspects of their music into a wide array of side projects. I once theorized, and not too inaccurately, that either Leeb or Fulber appears on every single record ever recorded since 1984. Look it up for yourself. Anyhow, Delerium began as an outlet for a more ambient, minimalized ethereal sound (before ultimately turning into ethnic-flavored pop with an endless supply of lady guest vocalists). Delerium eschewed many of the industrial elements for a sound that emphasized pensive moods and quieter atmospherics.

Faces Forms and Illusions was the first Delerium product. It actually featured Bill Leeb with Michael Balch rather than Rhys Fulber. The album adheres to the stylistic qualities described above, with lengthy moody passages decorating the overall sound of the album. Much of it dwells in the passive listening category of music, although the percussion and drum programming, albeit far more subdued than Front Line Assembly, often keeps a near militaristic tempo. Faces Forms and Illusions, while relatively enjoyable, does lack from truly standout material. The listening experience never actually suffers at any point, but the music also fails to truly compel one into any particular advanced state of interest.

The original Dossier version of the album differs in both the album artwork and track listing, compared to the 1997 Cleopatra reissue. Both feature the infamous immolating protesting monk photo, but the reissue places the photo within a setting of mythological symbols. The reissue also omits "Hidden Mask" and appends "Dark Star" for bonus material.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/2007

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Delerium - Karma ©1997 Nettwerk
1. Enchanted
2. Duende
3. Twilight
4. Silence
5. Forgotten Worlds
6. Lamentation
7. Euphoria (firefly)
8. Remembrance
9. Wisdom
10. Window To Your Soul
11. 'Til The End Of Time

Delerium is the long running side project of Front Line Assembly's Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber (who has done work with the likes of Fear Factory, among many others). The project started out with a semi-ambient musical approach that stuck more to the soundscape territory (although much more musical than some in the style), but by 1994's Semantic Spaces, Delerium had ventured into World/Ethnic Music Lite and found vocal help from a wide array of ladies with beautiful voices. By 1997 and the release of Karma, Delerium had ventured further into "porn music for goths" (as one local record store describes them) with another set of Enigmafied, semi-exotic music set to club beats.

On Karma, Leeb and Fulber enlist the help of Sarah McLachlan and Kristy Thirsk (as well as a couple other female vocalists) to provide vocals and lyrics to their tunes. The resulting CD is a very listenable, fully pleasant, hardly demanding and slightly fluffy release. Although this music sounds exotic and "worldly" to us North American uncultured heathens, it's doubtful too many tribal musicians have drum machines. But that's neither here nor there. Delerium's lighter, commercialized approach certainly can find a lot of appeal in those who thought they were transcendental with Enigma as well as those who feel the need to shake a booty at the club. The electronics throughout this album are airy, slightly cosmic and soothing. Between them and the light, soaring vocals, Karma is the type of album one can listen to while lightly dozing. In fact, I think I've spent more time listening to this CD while taking catnaps than nearly any other album I own. And in true Pavlovian fashion, listening to Karma at any other time makes me want to take a nap. While not necessarily as unusual as their earlier material, Delerium does this sound justice on Karma, making it a very pleasant, unobtrusive listen.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/2003

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Delerium - Chimera ©2003 Nettwerk
CD one:
1. Love
2. After All
3. Just A Dream
4. Run For It
5. Truly
6. Serenity
7. Touched
8. Forever After
9. Fallen
10. Orbit Of Me
11. Magic
12. Eternal Odyssey
13. Returning
CD two:
14. Stopwatch Hearts
15. After All

Somewhere along the line, Delerium has become quite dull. Early on in their existence, this project (one of many for Front Line Assembly's Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber) was a rather unique endeavour that created a creepy sort of medievalistic ambient music that scored points for atmosphere and mood. However, by the time Semantic Spaces rolled out in 1994, Delerium was wandering into the Ethnic Music For Dummies field, but with fairly good results. Both that album and Karma are fine examples of mixing a worldly sensibility with danceable rhythms and ethereal female vocals. However, by 2000's Poem, Delerium seemed to be making great strides towards being mostly pop (still with fairly good results). But with Chimera, the band's latest release, Delerium has strayed right into the territory of pleasantly dull adult music for those who think world music could be played at a yuppie dance club.

Chimera features a whole bevy of lady singers, although Sarah MacLachlan is absent. Despite the myriad of voices, these women do all carry the same floating style, which only makes sense since the songs are quite similar in approach throughout. While Chimera is consistent, the drawback is that it is consistently plain and unobtrusive. This is the sort of album one might put on when one needs light music while taking a nap. At times, Delerium sounds like Club-Lite music such as Olive, offering nothing more than superficial pretty song bases and very nice, but ultimately vapid singing. Delerium has been able to overcome the hurdle of being pedestrian, despite the chosen style, in the past, but Chimera sounds like it has been distilled to the point where all challenging aspects have been boiled away. Chimera is by no means offensively bad, but there's little of substance that makes it stand out, either. I suspect this is an album for aging thirtysomethings who are beginning to think trousers with a hidden elastic waistband are a nifty idea.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2003

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Nuages du Monde

Delerium - Nuages du Monde ©2006 Nettwerk
1. Angelicus
2. Extollere
3. The Way You Want It To Be
4. Indoctrination
5. Self-Saboteur
6. Tectonic Shift
7. Lumenis
8. Fleeting Instant
9. Sister Sojourn Ghost
10. Lost and Found
11. Apparation

The evolution of Delerium from a somewhat eerie, ethereal dark ambient project to slick electronic synth pop featuring a wide array of lady diva singers has always been odd to me. Granted, as a musician, founding member Bill Leeb has the right to steward his project any way he pleases, but it's pretty obvious at some point he realized there was going to be far wider audience for Delerium with the pop approach as opposed to music best reserved for being chained up in a dungeon somewhere. Ultimately, the darker ambient approached ended up in yet another Leeb side project called Synaethesia and Delerium has been his vehicle for the lady guest singers since around the time of 1994's Semantic Spaces.

Delerium, in the diva phase, has certainly had its fair share of great singles. "Silence" (featuring the ultimate insufferable diva Sarah McLachlan), for instance, is one of those ubiquitous songs that has been remixed at least eighty-three times by various trance producers. As such, the pop era Delerium lives or dies by the catchy single. Critically speaking of course. Delerium evidently is Leeb's most commercially successful project. However, for curmudgeons like myself, each successive studio album results in slightly less compelling results. 2000's Poem was a bit less engaging than Karma and 2003's Chimera was quite the snooze. Therefore, it's not a huge surprise that Nuages du Monde (which apparently means something to the effect of "Clouds World" according to Google Translate) continues down the path of lightweight, easily consumed synth pop that doesn't burden itself with anything beyond the superficial exterior. It's certainly not an intrusive album, but you could also play it over a grocery store's music system and not offend a single shopper while they seek out their chemically processed pseudo baked goods and bottled water. "Extollere", featuring Katharine Blake and Mediæval Bæbes, might be the closest thing to a gooey, catchy tune, but to a large degree the music just breezes by throughout this album.

Nuages du Monde is just fine if you're the type of music listener who, for medical reasons, needs to avoid anything that happens to be at all edgy or even remotely captivating. However, the album to me is the unfortunate progression away from both the project's early darker music and their earlier successful and critically interesting synth pop/diva albums.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/2012

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