Power metal, which originated in Europe, may be an unfamiliar subgenre to most, especially here in the States, but it’s one of the most theatrical, empowering and popular forms of heavy metal. Indeed, a power-metal concert can feel like a party in Middle Earth.
Vocalist Charlotte Wessels of the Dutch power-metal band Delain says that while her act is heavy, it is also intended to make people come out of a concert grinning. In advance of her May 1 concert at the Gothic Theatre, Westword caught up with Wessels about the genre she loves and the positive impact her music has on her band's fans.
Westword: First off, how is everything going in the world of Delain?
Charlotte Wessels: All is good in the world of Delain. We just landed in Canada to kick off our first-ever U.S./Canada co-headline tour, and the first show was a blast.
Power metal is a subgenre that has legions of loyal fans. Can you explain the feeling when you’re up on stage performing and you look out at thousands of fans singing along? Before you became a touring musician, were you one of those fans?
I definitely was a big fan before becoming a touring musician, and I still enjoy going to concerts and singing along to every word, though I’ve exchanged the front row for more comfortable places in the venue. This makes me sound old, right? As for performing, we have the absolute best fans in the world, and it's a great feeling getting up on stage and having a party with everyone in the hall.
We’ve only started touring the U.S. a few years ago, and already the front few rows are filled with people we recognize from previous gigs. Being so far away from home, it feels great to be welcomed by so many familiar faces — a bit like coming home, indeed.
In saying that, the subgenre isn’t as popular stateside as it is elsewhere, especially Europe. Can you talk about your experiences touring America, given that we don’t have the awesome festival offerings Europe has? Do you see the music growing here?
We surely are very spoiled in Europe, especially when it comes to the facilities and luxury in our new and fancy music venues. It does have two sides, though: There are so many metal bands operating in our surroundings that in certain cities, competition is very rough when you plan a concert. When we come to the U.S., however, I feel like many people get their tickets straight away because they know we don’t play the other side of the globe every week, and it might be a year before we return.
For the uninitiated, what can one expect at a Delain concert?
Delain concerts have a real upbeat vibe. The music is very heavy, but we always aim to make everybody leave with a smile on their face.
Delain’s music definitely has an empowering message. What are some of the best or most memorable reactions you’ve gotten from fans? How did such reactions make you feel?
Music has been a great support for me through some rough spots in life, and the biggest compliment to me is when people say our music has been helpful for them. Makes me feel like I’m not just making a living through music for myself, but that we’re doing something meaningful.
Lastly, what does the future hold for Delain?
We’ve got festival season coming up, a special run of European shows with Marco Hietala from Nightwish, dubbed the Danse Macabre tour, and we'll start the writing process for our next album as soon as we come home from this tour. No rest for the wicked!
Delain, with Hammerfall, Immortan Synn, 7 p.m. Monday, May 1, Gothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway, Englewood, $30, 303-789-9206.