We love the DAMES OF DARKNESS and lamented its passing in 2016!
But the super one-day festival that elevates and glorifies female-fronted symphonic rock was back this year. We went along to Bilston to enjoy the operatics.
The event kicked-off early Sunday afternoon at the Black Country‘s premier music venue, the Robin 2, with the amazing FyreSky.
FYRESKY are a 4 piece goth-rock / heavy metal band founded in 2015 and based in Essex, UK.
Centred around the vocals & guitar of Gabriel J Valentine [so, no, not female fronted then, to be honest] the band makes good use of Sam Layzell’s synths, “Evil” Kris White’s slinky bass and the impressive drummery of Ryaan Sandham.
Songs like their ferocious “Thunder Child” boast foofaraw drums, insistent bass rhythms, catapulting vocals and blistering hot guitars. This band provided a dazzling evocation and were a great launch pad for a seriously passionate day of dramatic rock …
DARKEST OBSIDIAN are a Midland’s based symphonic metal outfit formed from the ashes of Divided We Fall.
Lead vocalist Philippa Ricketts takes gentle songs like “Miss Creation” with elegant lines and chirruping keys and she manoeuvres them onto the field of honour.
Her contralto voice is especially effective in the lower ranks. She takes a verse and grabs it across battle lines like some kind of malevolent spirit. This band’s songs contain energy and commitment, though also often majestic bleakness. They offer a brilliantly-drawn world complexity and maturity.
The idiosyncratic Manchester band A CLOCKWORK OPERA create vivid symphonic-metal soundscapes inspired by Victoriana and built with gloom-ridden perception by main songwriter & guitarist Paul Cooper.
Vickie Harley brings the steam-punk elements to life , with the with Roman conqueror-of-the-keys Marco Iannello and Alexander Jordan on bass and James Horn on drums.
“We all love a cheeky cliché…” Vickie yells. And it’s true, their songs do yield magic, glamour and ever-present wonder. Glamorous and theatrical numbers like “Queen Of The Asylum” seem influenced by folky goth such as “Where the Wild Roses Grow” albeit they’re tinged with an omnipresent battle-hammer beat and forged in iron.
One of our festival favorites was the atmospheric and mesmerizing CONTROL THE STORM from Bristol who announced, to elated cheers, “Patch is back…” and whose “Chaotic Mind” perfectly captured this Trump era of perplexity and confusion. With an undeniable feeling that terrible events are at the point of unfolding and we cannot do a damn thing about all the madness.
This number, and others, had feverish guitars, an onslaught of drums and incredible vocals from Firouzeh Razavi [past, Liquid Sky.] Is there any hope in adversity? With Control The Storm on your side, you’d like to think so!
We were also treated to the ever-reliable DAKESIS and the highly acclaimed Greek progressive-operatic group ENEMY OF REALITY with the mighty songstress Iliana whose marching, stirring hymns, like “The Taste Of Defeat” were epic mini-extravaganzas. The Greeks even treated us to “The Trooper” — wow, we love ’em.
Austria metallers EDENBRIDGE were wondrous and flamed, as expected, and brought their power-metal to Bilston, offering titbits from their “Great Momentum.”
With a new drummer and bassist and their omnipresent, mercurial water-goddess Sabine Edelsbacher out front , the group have never been on such form.
They also treated fans to some exceptional numbers from their back catalogue, such as the delicate but expressive “Higher.”
Another magical day of Darkness with the Dames.
Words & Images: @neilmach 2017 ©