Review By David Pearce
Album: The New Dawn
Label: Self Released Under CapsAArx
Year: 10th March 2016
1. Overture: The Darkest Hour
2. The New Dawn
4. Destined For The Flame
5. The Great Insurrection
6. To Conquer Or Die
7. Intermezzo: Meridian
8. Judgement Day
9. The Sacrifice
11. The Seventh Sky
12. Call To Freedom
13. By The Fading Light
DAKESIS are a four piece progressive power metal band from Birmingham, UK. Formed in 2008, with the release of a limited edition four track E.P they soon followed on with their debut album “Trial by Fire” in 2011 to much critical acclaim. Following on from the success of this album and extensive touring and festival appearances throughout the UK, including an acoustic performance on the Jagermeister Stage at Bloodstock Festival in 2012 and also performing at the Valkyrian Festival plus a headlining slot on the Cackblabbath Stage at the Wildfire Festival in 2015, the band went on to record their second full length album “The New Dawn” which was released in March 2016.
On track three, ‘Betrayal’, which features guest vocals from Matt Gore of The Mighty Wraith, DAKESIS vocalist Gemma says “We really wanted to create something theatrical, and Matt was the obvious choice for us when it came to finding a booming male vocalist who could play the role! We had brilliant fun in the studio with Matt, and can’t wait to perform live with him at the album launch and any time our paths might cross out on the road!”. There is another duet on the album in track ten ‘Autumn’, featuring joint lead vocals by the DAKESIS drummer Adam Harris. All the song were written and performed by DAKESIS except track two, ‘The New Dawn’, which was written by DAKESIS and Wayne Dorman. This latest release was recorded at Carbon Studios in Birmingham and mixed by Nino Laurenne at Sonic Pump Studios based in Finland (Ensiferum, Wintersun, Stratovarious and Firewind) and sees a marked change in the direction of the band. With more progressive influences and the addition of powerfully epic orchestral backing alongside new session.
The album starts off with track one ‘Overture: The Darkest Hour’ in which is an epic instrumental building up to track two ‘The New Dawn’, which bursts into life with high speed drums, crunching guitar riffs and outstanding vocals that instantly get me nodding my head. DAKESIS have given our ears the true sound of UK power metal in all its glory in this track, Lawler’s vocals take you to different place. Tracks two and three are ‘Betrayal’ and ‘Destined For The Flame’. ‘Betrayal’ features guest vocalist Matt Gore (The Mighty Wraith) and the guitar work from Jones is up there with the best for all to hear and it takes your breath away. The song slows down near the end with a bit of piano then finishes strongly. ‘Destined For The Flame has galloping drums and guitars and again Lawler’s vocals are a joy to behold, they are so captivating along with the guitar solo from Jones bringing it altogether.
Tracks five and six are ‘The Great Insurrection’ and ‘To Conquer Or Die’. ‘The Great Insurrection’ is the first single to be released from the album and they could not have made a better choice. It is full of outstanding guitar riffs and solos from Jones, creating power metal at its best, The song is testament to how far the band have come over the years. The vocals from Lawler are outstanding and it has a great beat holding all together, combining the drums of Harris to the bass of Chatterley. For the beginning of ‘To Conquer Or Die’, the band had The Birmingham Rockschool Choir chanting with some strings in the background pulling it together, then it bursts into life with a guitar solo from Jones, before the vocals kick in pulling it together nicely.
Track seven and eight are ‘Intermezzo: Meridian’ and ‘Judgement Day’. ‘Intermezzo: Meridian’ is the shortest of the main songs on the album, but this instrumental is just is full of passion and reminds me of Nightwish in the way it is delivered which I love. It gives that break you need in an album like this. ‘Judgement Day’ is a strong ballad which begins with a piece of slow guitar and bass work, the vocals are a bit slower but delivered perfectly. The track does pick up pace a little bit half way through and I can really hear the passion in the music and the vocals. Tracks nine and ten are ‘The Sacrifice’ and ‘Autumn’. ‘The Sacrifice’ has a piano intro by Jacob Underwood and Lawler’s choral vocals which is the slowest song on the album. It is delivered brilliantly, mid way through the pace picks up speed, which instantly gets my foot tapping away. ‘The Sacrifice’ is beautifully delivered along with fantastic vocals, guitar solos and pounding drumming along with the bass. ‘Autumn’ is an acoustic piece of gold, enriched with orchestrated pieces and beautiful full vocals. The second half of this album shows how far the band has come in exploring the progressive elements of the genre.
Moving on to ‘The Seventh Sky’, a 17:50 minute epic which just flies by, it is full of strong lyrics plus great solos and riffs that makes this one of the best songs I have heard of this type in ages. ‘Call to Freedom’ starts with an acoustic guitar then bursts into life with heavy guitar and some chanting in the background, then the vocals kick in and they are as strong as you can get. The guitar work by Jones is second to none, as it has been on the whole album. The tempo does slow down near the end but it fits the song perfectly then the tempo quickens in the final stages of the song. The thirteenth and last song is ‘By the Fading Light’, which starts off slowly then builds up and it is a fitting end to a top quality album which has some brilliant acoustics mid song. Also the piano and Lawler’s vocals are just fantastic throughout.
Overall this is one of the best albums I have heard this year. It is full of strong vocals, a great rhythm section and I feel it is an album that can stand the test of time. Passion can be heard in every chord and every note on this album, resulting in my high rating. DAKESIS in their genre are right at the top of the class. So don’t delay, go buy this album.
Gemma Lawler – Vocals
Amie Chatterley – Bass and Vocals
Matt Jones – Guitar
Adam Harris – Drums and Vocals
Jacob Underwood – Piano and Keyboard
Matt Gore – Guest Vocals
The Birmingham Rockschool Choir – Chants and Backing Vocals