Rating:
6.7
Dakesis - Trial By Fire
2 November 2011


01. Shield Of Achilles I
02. Trial By Fire
03. Liar
04. After The Storm
05. On Wings Of Steel
06. Broken [feat. Choir Of Steel]
07. Into The Light
08. Valhalla
09. To The End [feat. Choir Of Steel]
10. Shield Of Achilles II
11. 440 (King Of The Road) [bonus]


Trial By Fire was recorded via all means accessible to the band from a fully kitted out, top of the range studio to the kitchen at the band's rehearsal space, and even out on the road to capture the sound of the band's 1989 Dodge Ram for bonus track "440 (King Of The Road)". Choir Of Steel was formed by friends, family members and contemporaries from local bands, and are featured on "Broken" and "To The End".


In most reviews of traditional/melodic metal genres, the reviewer finds it essential to point out how the albums in question are "nothing new or original", and if they by any chance are, the word "surprisingly" must be thrown into the mix. But I won't do that anymore. This is the case with Dakesis and many others: they play a genre which spawned dozens of quality releases and was perfected in its current shape a long, long time ago - you probably won't hear anything "new" in it. And that's okay, especially if the band has some magic of its own.

I do not know if they are local favorites in the Birmingham area, but they certainly have that local band seal on them. The charm of demo tapes, little venues and big dreams deferred by lack of experience or means to make them come true is woven into the sound of any up-and-coming band, you just have to have the ears for it. If I lived in their area, I'd gladly go to their live gigs. But if the band wishes to move on the next level, some changes are required.

Some of the influences the band lists on their site show they have a strong affection for blends of heavy, prog and power metal. This is notable in guitar/keyboard exchanges - it seems the keyboardist and guitarist have listened to all of those solos by the two Michaels of Symphony X and are now eager to create some of their own magic. I'm pleased to say that it works and that the music of Dakesis while pretty much identical to every other heavy/power/symphonic band you've heard, this is full of enjoyable intros and leads. Not much prog is to be found here though, but maybe there'll be a place for it on the second album.

But things aren't as great in the vocal department. The band's lead guitarist is also their lead male vocalist, and he has trouble deciding in which style and tone he wants to sing. Unfortunately for him, the band's music relies on elaborately extravagant vocal lines. He has a lot of different sides to his voice, and some of them sound better than others (such as his classic screams), so perhaps it's just a question of taking some vocal lessons. And since his female vocal counterpart (and also the keyboardist) is a singing teacher, maybe she can take care of that - she has already managed to salvage some of the songs with her much more disciplined and warm voice.

If you're a great fan of any rock/metal music with a lot of harmony, you might enjoy this given the right occasion - maybe building a huge Lego castle with some good friends and a few beers in your system. Otherwise give it to that younger sister of yours who has despised your metal lifestyle just to annoy you, but has now developed a liking for men with long hair, hung several Victoria Frances posters in her room, and set some metal ballad as her cellphone ringtone.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 6


 



Written on 12.12.2011 by
Milena
A part of the team since December 2011, writes about the progressive, the sad and the melodic. She's nice until she's not.
More reviews by Milena ››



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Fat & Sassy! - 12.12.2011 at 11:34  
The way the 'N' is positioned on the album cover makes it look like the chick on the cover is wearing a big goofy hat. D:

Good review though. Might check this out if I need a prog/power fix. :3
Milena - 12.12.2011 at 11:47  
Written by Fat & Sassy! on 12.12.2011 at 11:34

The way the 'N' is positioned on the album cover makes it look like the chick on the cover is wearing a big goofy hat. D:

You're a wonderful human being. It's a huge D though.

Written by Fat & Sassy! on 12.12.2011 at 11:34

Good review though. Might check this out if I need a prog/power fix. :3

Why not, the band ain't bad. There's room for improvement, sure, but it wasn't at all unpleasant going through this.
Fat & Sassy! - 12.12.2011 at 20:12  
Written by Milena on 12.12.2011 at 11:47

Written by Fat & Sassy! on 12.12.2011 at 11:34

The way the 'N' is positioned on the album cover makes it look like the chick on the cover is wearing a big goofy hat. D:

You're a wonderful human being. It's a huge D though.


*facepalms* ... I'm such a doofus... Obviously it's a 'D'! I was so distracted by how fancy that hat is! D:

Written by Milena on 12.12.2011 at 11:47

Written by Fat & Sassy! on 12.12.2011 at 11:34

Good review though. Might check this out if I need a prog/power fix. :3

Why not, the band ain't bad. There's room for improvement, sure, but it wasn't at all unpleasant going through this.


I've got enough stuff to listen to before the year ends! I can't listen to *everything*, although I wish I could... ;~;
Susan - 13.12.2011 at 18:41  
Ahh vocals, the great killer of power metal. Sounds like an album I'll try if I come across it but won't put extra effort into seeking it out.

Excellent writing in the review! You certainly have a way with words
Milena - 13.12.2011 at 20:06  
Written by Susan on 13.12.2011 at 18:41

Ahh vocals, the great killer of power metal. Sounds like an album I'll try if I come across it but won't put extra effort into seeking it out.

Excellent writing in the review! You certainly have a way with words

Yeah, kinda why I've grown to seek out bands with harsh vocals more... there's only, like, 10% of harsh vocal approaches I hate, but the actual clean vocal ones can go wrong in a gazzilion ways. He's not so bad, he just needs to put out his good sides more.

Thank you! Hope I'll be able to pull it off in front of my teachers when the right time for it comes...
RavenKing - 17.12.2011 at 21:24  
Written by Susan on 13.12.2011 at 18:41

Ahh vocals, the great killer of power metal.


Agreed. I don't know exactly what happened to Powermetal vocalists but it seems in the 90s bands were able to come up with good vocalists. Nowadays, it seems most Powermetal bands have awful singers.
RavenKing - 20.12.2011 at 03:32  
Written by Milena on 13.12.2011 at 20:06

Yeah, kinda why I've grown to seek out bands with harsh vocals more... there's only, like, 10% of harsh vocal approaches I hate, but the actual clean vocal ones can go wrong in a gazzilion ways.


I'm not here to convince you to listen to extreme metal, even though I'm a huge extreme metal fan.
The most important thing when it comes to music is to listen to what you like and enjoy. Never let others dictate your choices. Not me. Not anyone else.

As far as I know, you're not into extreme metal, or at least not much into it. I encourage you to make a little effort to get used to harsh vocals. It can be worthwhile. I believe it could open new wonderful musical horizons to you.
Long ago, I didn't like harsh vocals much, and I still remember that when I started to really enjoy harsh vocals, it made me discover lots of awesome music. I believe that too many people miss awesome metal music because they never try to get used to harsh vocals.
Of course, some people simply don't like it and it's their own choice to avoid music with harsh vocals.
But I believe it worths a try.

And you sound like someone who could learn to really enjoy it, as you don't positively hate harsh vocals right from the start.
Imo, people can get used to harsh vocals progressively but it is more or less an acquired taste. People who hate it right from the start will probably never enjoy it.
In my case, I really like aggressivity in music, so it has been rather easy to get into harsh vocals.
Milena - 20.12.2011 at 08:14  
Written by RavenKing on 20.12.2011 at 03:32

I'm not here to convince you to listen to extreme metal, even though I'm a huge extreme metal fan.
The most important thing when it comes to music is to listen to what you like and enjoy. Never let others dictate your choices. Not me. Not anyone else.

As far as I know, you're not into extreme metal, or at least not much into it. I encourage you to make a little effort to get used to harsh vocals. It can be worthwhile. I believe it could open new wonderful musical horizons to you.
Long ago, I didn't like harsh vocals much, and I still remember that when I started to really enjoy harsh vocals, it made me discover lots of awesome music. I believe that too many people miss awesome metal music because they never try to get used to harsh vocals.
Of course, some people simply don't like it and it's their own choice to avoid music with harsh vocals.
But I believe it worths a try.

And you sound like someone who could learn to really enjoy it, as you don't positively hate harsh vocals right from the start.
Imo, people can get used to harsh vocals progressively but it is more or less an acquired taste. People who hate it right from the start will probably never enjoy it.
In my case, I really like aggressivity in music, so it has been rather easy to get into harsh vocals.

Oh no, you've misunderstood me I pretty much like harsh vocals and I've never had a problem of listening to music with them, I said there's only like a 10% of harsh vocal approaches that I dislike. I listen to borderline extreme stuff like melodeath and some types of gothic metal with harsh vocs, but I plan on expanding in years to come. My siblings, for example, hate 'em, and I have trouble grasping how is it possible to write off blissfully melodic music, such as new Amorphis, just because of (awesomely done) growls here and there.

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