Dakesis + Stormbringer + Orylyus @ The Roadhouse, Birmingham – Friday 23rd March 2012

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Review by Chop and photos by Tony Gaskin

With Dakesis gigs being increasingly rare these days – the band’s decision as they continue work on their second album – the chance to witness them with an extra trick or two up their sleeve, and on Gemma’s Birthday, promised much.

First up though were Orylyus. First impressions were more than promising; a camouflage net covered mic stand centre stage, tattered (regulation) black clothing, and gore inspired make-up raising expectations as the rainstorm intro developed. Four tracks and twenty five minutes later this initial impact was suitably enhanced by a fine musical performance which combined elements of melodic death metal, thrash, and more progressive elements, with lashings of groove, melody, and power. The songs were all well crafted, and executed in a slick manner, with a duo of shredders of contrasting styles and tone being the icing on the cake. My only reservation concerned the clean vocal sections which weren’t the best, but the extreme sections more than compensated for this. All in all this was a fine performance from a band in its infancy. Let’s hope adolescence and adulthood see them progress to increasingly greater highs.

Set list: ‘Eyes Of The Desired (Erotomania)’, ‘Stories Heard Yet Not Recalled’, ‘Chaotic Dreamsphere’, ‘Man’s Fall From Grace’.

Currently in the final stages of work for their forthcoming album, Northampton’s Stormbringer brought a different flavour to tonight’s proceedings, serving up half an hour of rock from the doom/stoner/grunge/classic rock region. Aided by a superb sound they were tight as a band and possessed a vocalist with an impressive set of lungs. Apparently it was his first gig for four years, which made his performance all the more eyebrow raising, with power, range, and control in abundance. They delivered a highly commendable set, one that would sit comfortably at the Bulldog Bash or perhaps Hard Rock Hell. Keep your eyes peeled for news on their impending album release.

Set list: ‘Mark’, ‘Sanity’, ‘Save Me’, Distroy’, ‘Control’, ‘Dark Days’, ‘Grinder’.

Shortly into Dakesis‘ set it became evident that this was going to be a tongue-in-cheek display. Intro  ‘Shield Of Achilles’ saw the band descend the staircase stage left one by one to increasingly feverish applause. First Adam, then Amie, Matt, Gemma, and finally Wayne took up their positions on stage prior to a second intro that heralded – even by their standards – one of the most bizarre covers you are ever likely to witness, a full on, cheesy. power metal rendition of Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. Audience reaction? Ice broken instantly, much merriment, and total involvement from the off…

From there on in they could do no wrong, and a mix of material from their début album, new songs, and more familiar covers followed. From a musical perspective the most noticeable difference during tonight’s set was the difference that Amie’s new toy – an absolute monster of a six string bass – made to the band’s overall sound. The richness of the tone, and Amie’s dexterous and effortless playing, added a new depth. Much loved favourites were handled efficiently, with ‘Liar’ and ‘On Wings Of Steel’ impressing, although tonight’s version of ‘Broken’ was simply immense. Of the new material ‘The New Dawn’ worked well enough and raised another belly laugh in the crowd with the sparklers in Matt and Wayne’s guitar headstocks, and ‘We Are One’ was a suitably anthemic, crowd-unifying, fist-pumper.

Including technical issues – have you ever seen Dakesis play a faultless set? And by the same token, would you want to? – they played for an hour and a half, which flew by. There are dozens of European power metal bands out there who you know will be flawless every time they take the stage, but for me a major part of Dakesis’ charm is all about what is going to go wrong, and their individual and collective humour. Not for an instant detracting from their musicianship which they all take deadly seriously. Their converted – loyal – fans already know this, but if you haven’t seen them yet – and you possess even a grain or two of mirth in your soul – go and see them. You won’t be disappointed.

Set list: ‘Shield Of Achilles’, ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ (Rick Astley cover), ‘Trial By Fire’, ‘After The Storm’, ‘We Are One’, ‘440’, ‘Liar’, ‘The New Dawn’, ‘Into The Light’, ‘Broken’, ‘On Wings Of Steel’, ‘To The End’, ‘Valhalla’. Encore; ‘Wasted Years’ (Iron Maiden cover), ‘I Need A Hero’ (Bonnie Tyler cover)

And you can see more of Tony’s shots from the gig below: