Just when you thought you escaped the ongoing flood of female-fronted symphonic, and otherwise, rock and metal, here comes from Australia, by way of Athens, Darkyra Black with her/their debut album, Dragon Tears. Though I may be benignly jaded with the genre, Black and company are destined to give the current standard bearers a run for their money in this crowded field.
To begin, Dragon Tears is a concept album concerning a 'Gothic interpretation of a geisha like tale that ends in tragedy.' You can read more about the story on the band's website, and they've included a spoken word recording with the album.
While Darkyra Black might sound familiar to [ insert your favorite gothic/symphonic female vocalist here ], she does have impressive range and control. She's not quite as operatic as you know who and, I'm just spitballing here, she might be able to sing basic rock, maybe some blues, if called upon. Fundamentally, her voice works pure magic with the music.
And the music is really terrific. The symphonic angle is more lush and extravagant, than bombastic (though it can be at times). Accordingly, three authentic string instruments were used in recording: cello, viola, violin. The keyboard work, especially the piano, lilts along like the white tassels of a dandelion in the wind. Equally impressive throughout is the guitar work of Paul Jupe who soars with skill and inspiration; it's pure classic rock to metal guitar. But none of this would work if the arrangements weren't well-crafted and balanced among instruments, and they are. Sure, sometimes (rarely) the vocals get run over by the music, like within Lullaby of Death (Black gets skewered by the lead guitar), but mostly the elements are drawn together as one with precision. This perhaps is the single best reason why, though significant, the symphonic element or layer, is not the principal thing, and this might even apply to the vocals as well. It all clicks and works together, and that's a good thing. Favorite tracks: Eyes Wide Shut, Madoka's Lament, Never Know, and Cold Cold Stone. Dragon Tears is easily recommended.
Raise your expectations and the bar, with Dragon Tears Darkyra Black has fired a warning shot over the bow of the symphonic metal ship: they're a band to be reckoned with.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]