Review: “Fractures” by Dakesis

Progressive Power Metallers Dakesis announced themselves to the World with 2011 debut album “Trial By Fire“, the culmination of three years work having formed in 2008. Vocalist Gemma Lawler, bassist and vocalist Amie Chatterley, guitarist Matt Jones and drummer Adam Harris then made us wait a further 5 years for their sophomore album “New Dawn“, which finally saw the light of day in 2016. Recorded at Carbon Studios in Birmingham, mixed by Nino Laurenne at Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki (Ensiferum, Wintersun, Stratovarious) and mastered by Svante Forsback of Chartmakers in Finland (Rammstein, Dragonforce, Apocalyptica), it saw them take on some more progressive influences and broaden their horizons, having already built a reputation for  showmanship and powerful storytelling. Now back for a third time with the crowdfunded “Fractures“, which was recorded at CapsaArx Studios with guitarist Matt Jones in the producers chair. He also handled the mixing while the album once again been mastered by Svante Forsback of Chartmakers.

The cinematic quality of the breathtaking introduction that is “Eos” with it’s glorious orchestral movements and picked lute patterns sets the scene without a single word being uttered. Conjuring thoughts of Knights slaying Dragons in distant Medieval lands it serves as the perfect opening for “Ends Of Time Part 1” to build upon with soaring vocals from Gemma Lawler. She creates fantasy based lyrics that are easy to follow in glorious storytelling style while around her the band take Power Metal roots and create structures upon them that crash like stormy waves upon a rocky shoreline. The solo from Jones starts with a spark and ends as a blazing inferno. As with it’s predecessor “Ends Of Time Part 2” has some slick Progressive riffs with some synth work that interweaves into the mix but the main difference is the elongation of some of the instrumental passages which get more space to breathe, while giving you a greater appreciation for the vocals when they return. The soundtrack is rich and generous any by the time second single “Overthrown” hits, Dakesis will have won you over with their charm. The song writing is masterfully well crafted, each note perfectly placed in well thought out passages that build gradually and accompany each other perfectly in epic grandeur. Before you say anything, “Kairos” is not Sepultura cover and sadly there is no room for a studio version of their cover of the Bonnie Tyler classic “Holding Out For A Hero” on “Fractures“. Instead Dakesis stick to their own material and it has to be said, the song surpasses both of the aforementioned tracks with a wonderful galloping drum pattern from Harris and some blistering riffs. It is as technically rich as it is diverse and as the album goes on it shows absolutely no sign of any weaker moment of lesser quality. So often the Power Metal genre is one that flatters to deceive with a lack of the “epic” aspect meaning bands don’t always live up to the hype. Throughout “Fractures“, Dakesis show that they have that theatrical quality and dedication to their passion to create something that delivers.

First single “Surrender Your Fears” changes the angle of attack with some Arabian nights keyboard sounds and Epica leanings. Going back to the Sepultura reference, there is a wonderful tribal percussive section in this one with just a pinch of orchestral salt that adds a wonderful alternative counterbalance. Never before have the Brazilian Metallers been mentioned in a Progressive Power Metal album review and they probably never will be again, but if drummer Adam Harris isn’t a fan then we’d be surprised. Bringing the symphonic elements back in to full effect “Hold Forever” could have introduced some DragonForce esq lead work but wouldn’t do justice to the quality of the well rounded performances from every individual musician in Dakesis. Lawler’s vocals shine above the music and when she pauses for a couple of spoken word lines it adds an extra je ne sais quoi to the mix. A melancholic sadness flows through the icy piano that brings new textures to “Legacy In Memory“, which is in part a ballad and in part an ode to those loved and lost. The guitars and drums bolster the sound after the song is three quarters through for a final verse chorus flourish that ends on an epic high. That would be a great place to end the album but Dakesis have one more card to play. They’re no stranger to 15 minute plus songs and in title track “Fractures” they have created a magnum opus. The opening industrial overtones might raise an eyebrow or two on the first listen but by the time it gets into full flow, any doubts will be extinguished. Nightwish might wish they could produce a song of this epic magnitude with it’s many little magic moments that combine to create exploding firework against a dark night sky. After a false ending, the second half of the song gradually builds on a melancholic atmospheric and sees a Santana like solo part before it’s final crescendo [8.5/10]

Track listing

1. Eos
2. Ends Of Time Part 1
3. Ends Of Time Part 2
4. Overthrown
5. Kairos
6. Surrender Your Fears
7. Hold Forever
8. Legacy In Memory
9. Fractures

Fractures” by Dakesis is out 28th March with pre-orders available here

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