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Dakrya: Crime Scene

Dakrya are a theatrically based metal septet from Greece, who seem to specialise in silly costumes, daft hats, concept albums, daft hats and circus flavoured music as well as some daft hats! Now that may not appear to be the most complimentary of descriptions, but actually once you wade past the overbearing image and over thought almost "graphic novel" style story that the nine songs on the band's second album Crime Scene are based round, you are left with a pretty decent album. Nothing spectacular mind, but pretty decent none the less.

Across the seven band members we have drums, bass, keys, and a guitarist who adds some vocals, but in truth Dakrya are centred round the two female voices that lend a hugely and intentional theatrical air to proceedings and in many ways it could be questioned as to whether the music on this album wouldn't be better served in a hard hitting metal musical rather than as a "band album". The two singers in question - Thomais and Christina (you didn't expect a band of this ilk to have surnames did you?), it has to said are wholly convincing as they over emphasise each and every word in a way that you imagine a "stage singer" would in an effort to reach all those people in the cheap seats. The pair trade words and lines, with George adding a more masculine, threatening voice to an already angular mix.

Musically Dakrya play a type of gothic, symphonic metal that bounds along on pretty steady riffs and kick drum blasts in a way that suggests that George and his six string buddy Angelos would rather be in a balls out metal band than this slightly twee, if entertaining big top act. Stavros is a talented drummer and Alex lays down a mean bass, but it is the keyboard work of SophiaX (almost a surname, but not quite!), that both sets the tone and highlights the hardest aspect of this album to grasp. I like the introduction of a melody line, or thick layers of atmosphere from keys or synths into heavier guitar led music, but in the case of Crime Scene, all too often the keys are used more to link the songs with plinkitty plonkitty shards of "Entry Of The Gladiators" by Julius Fucik, which for you and me is the marching music you would hear at the circus. Once or twice is fine, but when this effect rears its head time and again, it really does become a little tiring.

Songs like "The Charlatans" and "Scaremongering" hit home hardest, with a commercial metal side that suggests Dakrya can, when the mood takes them, hammer home their intentions in a wholly convincing way, it is just a little unfortunate that they don't choose to do so more often. As I said before, this is not a bad album and there's not one single track that requires the use of the skip button, it's more that they really need to tone down the more overtly stage-show aspect of their sound, or go the whole hog and write and perform a musical.

Track Listing
1. The Charlatans
2. Blind Man's Bluff
3. Scaremongering
4. The Urban Tribe
5. Camouflage
6. Phantasmagoria
7. Inertia
8. Dramatis Personae
9. A Dreadful Side Scene

Added: May 31st 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Official Dakrya Web Site
Hits: 2653
Language: english

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Dakrya: Crime Scene
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-05-31 17:48:33
My Score:

Dakrya is a band from Greece, and it means 'tears' in Greek. After 2008's Monumento, Crime Scene is their sophomore album released on Sensory Records in 2010.

The vocals are split between two female vocalists: Thomais Chatzigianni's classical vocalizations and Christina Kalantzi's standard singing. Though this band has been called a gothic band in many reviews, in terms of vocals they have their own thing going on. Neither vocalist sounds whiny or emo -- actually Kalantzi sounds like a younger version of Kimberly Goss while the operatic vocals are no where near as classical sounding like Tarja Turunen or Floor Jansen's. The vocals are mostly divided between very theatrical phrasings and the occasional male vocals providing either spoken passages or the guttural low growls for added tension.

Musically, while each song is painstakingly composed and involves a plethora of instruments built around the band's third and last female member's keyboard and piano work, the theatrical element is ever-present tonally and compositionally. SophiaX dominates the mix ubiquitously -- either it's a simple piano theme, a sinister keyboard motif, or orchestral arrangements that recall obvious reference points, Therion and Diablo Swing Orchestra. Also, parallels could be drawn to Sleepytime Gorilla Museum or even Thinking Plague, though Dakryia's compositions are neither as progressive nor as deeply rooted in the world of avant garde. Still, songs like "Camouflage" may appeal to either band's fans, if they can tolerate semi-spoken, semi-sung vocal lines interwoven around hard-hitting drums and syncopated guitar parts.

Though a metal album, the focus is largely on the bass and drums rather than guitars. Each song boasts droning bass from the thoroughly dark "Scaremongering" to the more progressively explored "Phantasmogoria" whose vocal melody is possibly the album's highlight. The drum sound is full and solid, and a driving factor in the band's music. The interplay between SophiaX and drummer Stavros Vorissis suggests this band has honed their craft for many, many years. Vorissis' intro on "Inertia" boasts both complex and headbang-inducing drum abrasion before the song is swiftly shifted into its theatrical domain typical of the other songs.

That said, Dakyra's music is no where near on the same level of the bands mentioned in this review, with the exception of Diablo Swing Orchestra perhaps. The strongest aspect of this album is the production -- mostly the synth and drum sounds and the fantastic vocal arrangement. This comes as no surprise given it was engineered by George Bokos (Rotting Christ), mixed by Pelle Saether (Draconian), and mastered by Goran Finnbery (In Flames).

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