22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I bought this album in order to check out some of the guest vocalists. Other than the bonus track 'Silence', as heard on the radio, this was uncharted territory for me. Overall I was quite pleased with this album.
The first thing I noticed was the production quality. Those of you with above average sound systems will be impressed by how well everything comes across; from the seriously deep bass to the airy vocals. Great ambience with lots of subtle sounds that fade in and out from side to side as well. This album sounds good at any volume level.
Next, I really enjoyed the combination of traditional instruments and techno-alternative beats. Strings, various guitars, and even a harp! But my favorite feature is the variety of female vocals. Leigh Nash does an impressive job on the opening track 'Innocente', which is my favorite. Hardly sounds like the same person from Sixpence None The Richer that sings that luke warm song 'Kiss me'. Other great tracks are 'Myth' and 'A Poem for Byzantium' featuring Joanna Stevens; along with 'Natures Kingdom' and 'Inner Sanctum' fearuring Kirsty Hawkshaw. Sweet vocalists, both of them.
The only songs I don't care for are 'Daylight' with Matthew Sweet, and 'Under Water' with Rani Kamal. Daylight just doesn't blend in for the simple fact that this is the only song with male vocals. I know I'm splitting hairs here. Uderwater is o.k., but I find myself skipping over it more often than not.
I think most people will find something to like on this album. It is good relaxing and recharging music...you should feel better after hearing it. Workout music it is not.
On a related note: Those who enjoy traditional instruments and quality vocals should really check out the band Blackmores Night. This is guitarist extraordinaire Richie Blackmore from Deep Purple and Rainbow along with his wife Candice Night who supplies the vocals. Old English minstrels and other traditional songs are the theme. The album 'Under a Violet Moon' is well worth the investment.
Hope this was helpful.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Delerium minus Rhys Fulber has gone with the more commercial sound similar to the hits "Silence" and "Firefly" from their previous album 'Karma'. Still present in Delerium's newest effort are the rolling synths beneath the songs and stylised ethnic sound samples. The darker ominous drone of the band's earlier work is almost totally gone, replaced by a much airier and poppier feel. What's new on this album is a leaning toward a more middle eastern sound and live instrumentation such as violin, piano and classical guitar.
Those who like 'Semantic Spaces' and 'Karma' will love 'Poem', but fans of Delerium's older non-vocal albums probably won't. Nearly each track has a female guest vocalist, a pop song structure, and the famous danceable Enigma beat. Unfortunately 'Poem' suffers from using too much of a good thing so all the songs seem somewhat alike. The similarity between singers is the biggest contributor to the uniform sound, with even Matthew Sweet managing to sound like the others!
Personally my favourite Delerium material is that which combines their older sinister sound with their more recent use of female vocalists. That is why I prefer the ambience and variety of 'Semantic Spaces' and 'Karma' better than 'Poem'. My favourite tracks off the new album are "Terra Firma" (a lovely female ahhing song) and "Among the Ruins" (an classic Delerium style ambient track). The rest of 'Poem' is a bit too light for my tastes, and I would have appreciated a few darker tunes thrown into the mix. Still, all the tracks are very well written, highly polished and way better than 99% of the crap being played on the radio.
I give 'Poem' 4 stars, using their last two albums as a gage. It's musically better and more polished than 'Semantic Spaces', and about the same in quality as 'Karma'. Some will like 'Karma' better, some will like 'Poem' better - it's a matter of taste!
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Sometimes I am leary of buying an album on its' release day, and for good reason. For the tenth Delerium album, I didn't know what to expect. I was more than pleasantly surprised, and impressed with the content of "Poem." Once again Delerium have produced an album that continues to define pop electronic music first commercially successful through the group "Enigma." Blending electronic sampling, chant, and vocal artistry; "Poem" gives the listener a ride through the astrally produced artistry of Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber. Samples from Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance)and the Baka Forest Pygmies, grace tracks on this album; along with vocal perfomances from Matthew Sweet, Midiaeval Babes, and Johanna Stevens of the Solar Twins. Other vocal performances are from Kristy Hawkshaw, Rani Kamal and Leigh Nash. Especially notable are the two tracks with Johanna Stevens: "Myth," and "A Poem for Byzantium." Matthew Sweet's performance on "Daylight," is wonderful; and quite a surprise. Kristy Hawkshaw's track "Nature's Poem" is beautifully arranged and reminiscent of "Wisdom" of their last album "Karma." Although it may be reminiscent on some levels with "Karma," and "Semantic Spaces," the album has substance and stands on its' own as a collective work worthy of recognition. Three years was definitely enough time to wait for this album.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2001
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Just wanted to let everyone know that there seem to be three different versions of the album "Poem" in circulation. The first one I ordered has 11 songs on it, starting with "Terra Firma" and ending with "Amongst the Ruins". ...Then I ordered this CD "Poem [EXTRA TRACKS]" for ... which also has 11 songs but starting with "Innocence" and ending with "Silence". "Terra Firma" (my favorite song) is NOT on this CD and there are NO extra tracks. Instead they put the "Silence" on it. Then there is the third album "Poem [Limited Edition Bonus CD] [BOX SET]" selling for .... I believe that one has extra tracks. All of these albums have the same picture on the cover. Go figure!
I'm giving only four stars for missing "Terra Firma" in this version.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2000
Format: Audio CD
One major difference I can't help but notice between old Delerium and new Delerium is that the old stuff gave the listener the feeling of taking a disturbing journey through Hell, but the newest stuff takes you on an enchanting trip through some heaven-like fantasy-land. At least that's how I feel when listening to it.
I was pretty fretful of the new album when I had read everywhere that it was going to be much more "commercial," with many different vocalists and acoustic guitars. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when I purchased it on its release day. It is a beautiful arrangement of music and vocals. The sound of Semantic Spaces and Karma indeed exists on this album, it's just pushed a little further into the background.
The first song on the album, "Terra Firma," is the song most reminiscent of Semantic Spaces and Karma, and in my opinion is the best. It's mostly instrumental, with some gregorian chants and female "ooohs" and "aaahs." Beautiful.
My second favorite song is "Inner Sanctum," which is only available on the bonus disc. So if you can, get the limited edition version of Poem.
Typically I would prefer more Enigma and Deep Forest-esque music to female pop, but I think this album pulls the combination off very nicely. If you are a fan of new age, world dance, electronica, or female pop/folk, you'd probably enjoy this album...unless you are biased to believe it's "too commercial" and they're "selling out" as so many people said before the album even came out. Open your minds a little--What's wrong with liking good music that happens to possibly be "commercial" anyway? Swallow that pride and take a chance on this album. It's good stuff.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2003
Format: Audio CD
It's funny to read other reviews in which "Poem" is considered a lesser effort from Delerium because of its increased use of vocalists. That's precisely what makes this album BETTER than any other Delerium effort to date. "Semantic Spaces" and "Karma" are good, solid albums, but I always thought they were best as mood-setting background music. "Poem" demands and deserves full attention. The vocal tracks, especially Kirsty Hawkshaw's "Nature's Kingdom" and Leah Nash's "Innocente," are the highpoints of this sublime CD. It's the best I own, and that's not a statement I make lightly. By the way, fans of this album ought to check out Balligmomingo's "Beneath the Surface."
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2002
Format: Audio CD
When I first listened to this album I was a bit disappointed by the much-mentioned pop influence on this. But a more openminded listen through really made all the difference in the world. I found myself really liking this album a lot. There is such a broad range of talent and experience on this album that after listening to it I feel sated, full, and content. I feel as though I have been taken from awe to passion to ecstasy to fear to sadness to contemplation.
I feel bad for those who can't get beyond comparing this album to Karma. Yes, Karma was great. Yes, Kristy Thirsk and Sarah McLachlan have wonderful voices. Yes, Poem is a bit more conventional and radio friendly. But there is much to be appreciated on this album if you give it a chance. All the singers have simply beautiful voices. The music is still very much the lush sweeping world-spanning style that we have come to expect from Delerium. There are still many ritualistic danceable songs, as well as shivery thought provoking instrumentals.
My favorites on this album are track one, which is just so awe-inspiring, and track 8, "Daylight" with MAtthew Sweet. But opinions will vary. Simply put, this is a favorite of mine, alongside Karma, and in my opinion Delerium is still as delerious to the mind as ever.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Before Poem by Delirium, I mostly had an interest in Latin pop. I was shopping one day and saw the cover of this cd and its unique packaging and just loved it. So I picked up the cd based on the packaging, as I had never heard any Delirium before. So I get to my car, open the packaging and slip the cd in. I loved it. This was my first taste of this kind of music and I loved it. This was a few years ago. This cd helped me open into accepting new sounds of music, and have been since. Delirium's Poem is definitely a great place to start if you never have listened to this type of music. I highly recommend it along with the other Delirium cds.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber have paired up on a number of bands from the pulsing, industrial, end-of-the-world-angst-ridden Frontline Assembly to the soothing, sultry, new-age-world-music-techno-trance of Delirium. However, after having worked together in well over half a dozen bands in their Cryogenic Studios, Poem finds Rhys Fulber strangely absent.
However, although Fulber's contribution is much appreciated, Leeb does well without him, writing and producing the music, and even cowriting some of the lyrics. This shows a high degree of maturity that comes through in every song. Delirium, at times just a techno band or Enigma clone, has evolved, getting better with each release. Poem is the pinacle of this growth. Compared to Karma, it is more Pop-oriented, there are more lyrics, and there is less of a world sound, but this only goes to show that the sound is a work in progress...a metamophosis.
The tracks are as follows:
1. Innocente is a strong opener, a great achievement because of its unexpected and skillful melody change. Spanish guitar. Haunting vocals. Subtle electronics. The layering of sounds one has come to expect from Leeb. The song builds and builds, adding rhythm guitar and even strings (both harp and violin). Overall, breathtaking.
2. Nature's Kingdom. Features samples of birds and crickets behind skillful guitar and piano. Vocals are very emotional, even bittersweet, matching the slow, even languid tempo of this track.
3. Daylight. Features tribal chants and the vocals of Matthew Sweet (the first male solo vocalist I think to be featured on a Delirium CD). A bit more electronic, including the kind of organ often heard in hip hop. Probably the most Pop song on the album, but not at all bad. Catchy and fun to groove to.
4. Underwater. Reminds me of FLA and Leeb's other bands. Very edgy and dark, featuring chilling back up vocals, a pounding rythm, and eerie synths. The lyrics are hard, countered by an angelic chorus. Cool. Gives the album dimension.
5. Fallen Icons. Strings, guitar, sultry beat. Perfect for romantic encounters. Vocals are breathy. Electronics are subtle. Cello. Very well orchestrated.
6. Aria. In my opinion, the best Track on this CD. Oddly, it comes right at the middle as if all the other songs were structured around it. Layered sounds, it has a two minute intro. Incredible. More uplifiting even than Cher's Believe. This music, with toms, groovy bassline, and percolating synths, makes it difficult not to love life. The lyrics, I'm told, are in Middle English. Trancedelic.
7. Myth. Old school Delirium, if there is such a thing, but with a switch. Violin and cello are prominent. Also, tribal talk, pulsing beat, heavy synth, and sparse but skilled spanish guitar. Vocals are sultry. The bridge combines techno with Gregorian chants to a chilling effect.
8. Inner Sanctum. This song takes my wife's breath away. Heavy beat, droning bass, choir. More strings. Vocals are as Nature's Kingdom, both sweet and lovely, but a little sad. The music varies from heavy electronics to more conventional instrumentation and back again.
9. A Poem for Byzantium. I guess the title track. More choir, electronics, spanish guitar. Features a wooden sounding beat. Has a sauntering Country/Celtic quality, including a very Southern guitar riff. Some electronics, violin. Vocals are melodic. It is difficult not to move with the music. A strong, lyrical song to end with. As Innocente opens, Poem closes.
10. Among the Ruins. The only instrumental. Has a nearly five minute intro. Bass winds, chimes, tribal sounds, guitar. Native style flute. Harp. Swelling bass. Gregorian chants. Electronics. Frantic guitar. Overall, a very dark and chilling track. Has the feel of a bonus track. Reminds me once again of FLA, Noise Unit, and the like.
11. Silence. Simply the same track off Karma. I'm not quite sure why it's on here. It is a good song, but I would have prefered another instrumental at least, like from one of the other versions of this CD. Another idea would have been to include the cover of Madonna's Justify my Love, from Cleopatra's Virgin Voices tribute vol. 1. The track is attributed to Frontline Assemb'y (Leeb's And Fulber's most well known partnership). However, with voals by Kristy Thirsk, and with an atmospheric sound, it is really more in the Delerium style. Plus, maybe covering the Pop Diva herself would put in perspective just how little pop there is in Poem comparatively speaking.
Overall, if you are anything like my wife and me, this CD will leave you breathless and wondering if Delirium has left any room for improvement. It's that good.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2000
Format: Audio CD
After Rhys Fulber announced that he was leaving the "Dynamic Duo" that makes up Delerium, Front Line Assembly, Noise Unit, Synesthaesia (and a couple of others) many fans were left to wonder if Bill Leebs could carry on the distinctive sound that is Delerium by himself. The plot thickened when news leaked out that the angelic voice of Kristy Thirsk, who contributed to Semantic Spaces and Karma, would be suprisingly vacant on the upcoming album. So, many fans were waiting with bated breath to see if the album will measure up to previous standards. Now the wait to find out is over, and the answer is a resounding "Yes".
Leebs has surrounded himself with a group of amazingly talented vocalists and has found a new contributing partner in Chris Peterson. The new album begins where the previous album, "Karma", left off, and builds upon the world music/Ambient electronica that Delerium is so famous for. Leigh Nash (Sixpence None The Richer), and Matthew Sweet are the biggest eye-openers this time around, each contributing an amazing and fully engaging set of vocals to the album (on "Innocente" and "Daylight", respectively). "Poem" returns to Delerium's roots with the final track, "Among the Ruins", but not before taking us on a journey through musical landscapes painted with songs richly embroidered by a melding of instruments and voices unlike any other album recently.
The album leads off with the track "Terra Firma", opening with what sounds like Japanese harps being randomly played, and the sounds of a tribe preparing to dance... then a plaintive vocal starts, and the didgeridoo starts.... The drums come in to start the rhythm, behind a male vocalist... and we're off to a glorious start to a journey that will last over 70 minutes, and take us through various musical tapestries. "Innocente" recalls a lover's naivete. "Fallen Icons" reminisces about a love that is crumbling, "like a forgotten fortress". "Nature's Kingdom" has gorgeous acoutic guitarwork over the sounds of a forest, with gentle vocals lent by Kirsty Hawkshaw (recently voiced BT's smash hit "Dreaming", and lead vocalist for Opus III). There's also a turn towards the highly orchestrated and sweeping music that previously eluded Delerium, in the track "Poems for Byzantium".
Do yourself a favor and pick up "Poem". A new album by Delerium is always a happy occasion, and this album is even more so.