The fifth edition of ‘The Dames of Darkness’ happening took place over two days on 9th-10th May 2015 at the excellent Robin 2 venue in Bilston, West Midlands (UK.)
There was a real sense of occasion as folks from all four corners of the world gathered in the West Midlands to see their favorite female-fronted heavy metal acts.
As one man told METAL AS RELIGION —
“ Metal Fans look forward to this event all year long…”
Opening the festival on the first day was The Fall of Eve — a symphonic rock project formed by the talented Laura Tracey (Evangeline) with Michael Moffat (on guitars) who had traveled all the way down from central Scotland.
Evangline smiled comfortably to herself as she took the Bilston stage with her foppish top hat and cane. And then she gave a confident and assured performance. Evangline is fashionably dapper & aesthetically pleasing in every way!
Stand out moments from her set included the song “Shields of Faith” taken from the debut E.P “Calls From The Horizon.”
This song had a belt of secrecy running through its veins, amazing drum work and fierce guitars. There was tension and tragedy in every shade … As Evangline’s voice powerfully and seductively filled the venue.
Aonia [Main Image] from Northern England are, in every way, a big band.
Flaunting their fourteen legs and four powerful lungs, this band boasts two flamboyant Grande Dames — Melissa and Joanne. The power and emotion delivered by those two ladies was amazing.
Spanish Gothic Metal band Rainover were up next. They were warm, heady and quickly intoxicating. Like too much sangria at an all-night party.
Their lead-singer Andrea Casanova was slinky and sweet… But you could tell she was no push-over either.
Their commitment to quality was particularly evident with the work on guitar and synth… Overall, this was an epic show-case for an amazing band.
Fiona Creaby, the front-woman of the Staffordshire based band ‘Apparition’ [this band ‘hosts’ the whole event] reminded us all of Lady Melisandre [in TV’s Game of Thrones.]
Their musical project started back in 1997, and has had several singers during the intervening years.
Fiona took over again from Grace Meridan after a break of five years. At the Robin 2 her voice shimmered like a black diamond … Magical and mysterious.
Their music was provocative and had great energy. It was a superb set. (And thanks must go to bassist Dave for working so hard to make this annual event a fantastic reality.)
We were anxious to see Bad Pollyanna and that pleasantly sweet-cum-dangerous character that charismatic singer Olivia Hyde personifies on stage. We were not disappointed.
Livia performed with an absurd amount of cool. Her eyes sparkled as she reveled in the clever-power that she had over the audience. Songs like ‘Monstrous Child’ contained veiled threats that lurked under the sweet petticoats and under-silks. A sense of growing threat was tangible. Yet the voice of Livia was cleverly polished and always expertly pure.
Then we enjoyed the female-fronted French orchestral-metal band Whyzdom and their stunning singer Marie Rouyer. She has a rich timbre in her voice — and yet it reached weightless highs when expected to. She is a stunning performer.
This band’s amazing progressive keyboards and the magnetic guitar work grabbed our attention immediately. Their performance was visually, musically and charismatically enigmatic.
Last week word spread that Incassum had sadly divided … Splitting only a few days before they were due to perform at DoD 2015.
It also emerged (early on Sunday morning) that Winter in Eden singer Vicky Johnson had suddenly lost her voice.
We were told that Scarlett Riot would play a specially extended set and that we must be prepared for “something special …”
So the day started with the dark-doom artistry of Edenfall from Cheltenham (UK). This band certainly looked the part, and the voice of Chiara Webster, although shaky at times, held our interest and kept us moving and eager for more.
Next up was the elegantly seductive EnkElination from London. This melodic hard-rock ensemble showed off their beautiful and talented singer Elina and also (for the first time) the sensual Julia on bass. Elina’s vocal was ardent, courageous and articulate. But what made this set special was the excellent interplay between guitar and vocal.
We have been thrilled and excited about Scarlett Riot for months. This cool punk ‘n’ heavy metal band from Scunthorpe (United Kingdom) create some of the most addictive songs around. And at the Dames of Darkness Festival the young band played these at astonishing speed, with an emphasis on the unique, dark & grainy black guitar work.
Scarlett’s grin broke into a broad smile that spread across her entire face as she began to recognize loyal fans in the audience. And the crowd responded with affection and joy. And for those who had not seen the band before, this was, surely, one of the highlights of the weekend.
After the incredible extended set from Skarlett Riot, we arrived (too soon) at the long awaited ‘Winter in Eden’ slot. And we quickly realized we were in for a treat.
With Vicky temporarily out-of-action, some of the other Dames of Darkness had offered to come on stage and take over the vocal duties.
So the ‘Winter in Eden’ ALLSTARS was born!
Guest singers including Andrea Casanova, Bexie James and Melissa Adams performed some of our favourite songs with passion and total commitment. It was the most exciting & stunning part of the entire two days — a truly unforgettable experience.
Charm, elegance, liveliness and of course, some transcendent musical moments.
The weekend was a sexy mix of blood pumping, corset-busting, musical mayhem and mysterious magic. The Dames of Darkness conjured up all of their natural forces to capture some incredible energy …
Thanks to all the organizers and everyone involved. Amazing!
Words & Pictures : @neilmach 2015 ©