Popular Birmingham Power Metal protagonists have gone all proggy on us with their latest release “The New Dawn”
Review by Tony Gaskin
Release Date 10th March 2016
It’s seems a long time ago now since Dakesis parted ways with the then current front man Wayne Dorman, and if you’ve not seen or heard them since then, you’re in for a big suprise.
Deciding not to replace Dorman, the whole dynamic of the band changed. Gemma Lawler stepped out from behind her stack of keyboards to take centre stage, whilst guitarist Matt Jones unleashed his dormant fret skills. In fact the whole journey has been one of change and renewal.
Most of the intervening time has been spent writing, resulting in an album that is miles away from the pure power metal of the last album. There are still strong power elements within the music, but now a more expansive prog style has given the music a huge multi faceted feel. Power, prog and symphonic styles all come together in one grand opus.
‘The New Dawn’ was recorded at Carbon Studios in Birmingham, mixed by Nino Laurenne at Sonic Pump Studios in Finland (Ensiferum, Wintersun, Stratovarious and Firewind) and mastered by Svante Forsback of Chartmakers in Finland (Rammstein,Dragonforce, Sonata Arctica, Apocalyptica), so some pedigree to start!
So to the album itself, as I said, be prepared for something unexpected. Early on the initial tracks don’t seem that far a departure from early Dakesis, epic intro, soaring first track to get you singing along, followed by a power duet which features Matt Gore of The Mighty Wraith, and finishing off the trio of openers with the out and out power metal of “Destined for the Flame” where Matt Jones gets to show off his incredible speed on the frets.
But then the subtle change, the story is beginning to take form and the prog elements start to kick in. “The Great Insurrection” is the first single to be lifted from the album and is available to download now. It’s a meatier, chunky track. Gemma notably sings lower, Amie Chatterley is let loose to show case her own particular skills on bass and the thunderous war beat of Adam Harris on drums gets the blood rushing, but to appreciate the skill and technique of Jones on this track, stick the head phones on, turn it up and close your eyes, then go track down his play through video on youtube, simply mesmerizing.
The next middle third of the album expands on the story, and this is where we see that melding of genres, creating a wonderful operatic feel, from the bombastic “Conquer or Die” to the soulful “Judgement Day”. Hints of the more symphonic styles bleed through in places, but “The Sacrifice” and “Autumn” take us back down the prog road. So many elements of this album remind me of the epic “War of the Worlds”. “Autumn” is a big surprise with drummer Harris sharing the vocals, and he has a great voice!
As we enter the final third of this saga, we go into full proggy mode. “The Seventh Sky” is a master piece, and at just under 18 minutes long is worthy of its own separate release, a space opera in the making that opens up with some glorious , heart lifting power chords and vocals. Rick Wakeman would love this track, it’s over the top yes, but so masterfully done that you just get completely lost in it.
How to close out after that? Well no Dakesis album would be complete without an out and out anthem, and that is what they have in “Call to Freedom”, I mean just the title gets you revved up!! In typical style there is a chorus that will get the crowd singing along in full voice, and sweeping skills galore from Jones
And finally in keeping with the theme throughout the album, the story ends on another euphoric high with the 10 minute long “By The Fading Light”, this track in particular shows off Gemma’s vocal range.
Coming as it does early on in the year, this album has set a benchmark for other to follow, I anticipate that by the end of the year, it will feature in many peoples top choice for 2016.
10 out of 10
- Overture: The Darkest Hour
- The New Dawn
- Destined For The Flame
- The Great Insurrection
- To Conquer Or Die
- Intermezzo: Meridian
- Judgement Day
- The Sacrifice
- The Seventh Sky
- Call To Freedom
- By The Fading Light