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Dakyra - Crime Scene
CD Reviews
Written by Doctor T.   
Tuesday, 05 July 2011
Dakyra - CD Review
Crime Scene
Dakyra - Crime Scene

CD Info
2010
Sensory Records
9  Tracks
English Lyrics

Dakrya’s second full production effort is a little different from the traditional music often described on this site. Think Diablo Swing Orchestra, but with a central concept that ties the music together. They call it "theatrical metal." They’re from Athens, Greece, so that theatrical approach certainly has tie in with the culture. But, this is a different type of approach, one not everyone will appreciate, at least, not at first. Heck, it’s dramatically different from their first CD, Monumento which was a solid Gothic oriented sound, complete with multiple languages and some Gothic themes. This work has some dark components as well, in fact, they can be truly dark. And, if you give it the time, you’ll find it to be truly interesting, musically as well as intellectually.

For some reason, they band uses a "Circus" metaphor to encapsulate the music. If you pay close attention, read all the supporting literature and the lyrics, you begin to understand this approach, however, without that close attention, the reasoning can be confusing. That and the utilization of the "circus music" themes from the keyboards can make for a bit of cognitive dissonance when attempting to relate that component to the "Crime Scene" motif. Oh well, details. For those of you who are willing to take the time to listen and appreciate, you will end up with the realization that this is very good, if a little different, music. I think they call it avant-garde in some circles. Back in the 60s we use to call it "stoner" music. But then, you probably never listened to Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, to your greater loss. But, don’t get me started. Come to think of it, we called everything "stoner" music back in the 60s. Just can’t remember why. In fact, I can’t remember the 60s.

Anyway, what we get here is some dramatic interpretation from some pretty fair musicians. Half the band is female, including the two principle vocalists, Christina Kalantzi and Thomais Chatzigianni and keyboardist SophiaX. But the male contingent supplies some solid guitars and drums, when they are allowed to cut it loose, and even the occasional male vocal. Production is exemplary, with engineering by George Bokos (Rotting Christ), mixing by Pelle Saether (Draconian), and mastered by Goran Finnbery (In Flames). This is some pretty complex production, a lot of sounds and directions put together seamlessly and aimed at a message that requires multiple delivery options. We’re a long way from a rap production put together in someone’s garage while consuming a six pack.

In the interest of providing some perspective on the work, it wouldn’t hurt to spend a couple lines talking about what’s going on here. We get a little lyrical content in the tray card accompanying the CD that goes something like this "The Charlatans took over the city, crowning themselves Masters of Urban Tribe. . . . Every man, woman and child is being forced to participate in a weird game called The Blind Man’s Bluff. . . every citizen of Reality should be alerted and stand against the Pantasmagorin of this circus. . . ." Those highlighted words are actual song titles. Now, of course, we need to be a little abstract in our interpretations here, this is not to be taken literally. Dakrya is talking in metaphor, which becomes somewhat clearer once you take a closer look at the lyrics. Yea, there’s that circus thing, complete with that calliope sound from the keys. And all the reference to charlatans and circus related characters like jugglers, mimes, clowns and gamblers. But, once you start to pay attention, you recognize that we’re talking about the circus of the absurd, better known as civilization. And this is the true genius of the musical work, in addition to the music itself, of course. It can get a little deep and, at first listen, you tend to have that relevancy pass by like a soft summer breeze. But, the second time through, things begin to click, phrases begin to implant themselves on your consciousness and you begin to go, "What, how’s that again?" You just have to get beyond the clever production and the interesting vocal delivery. . .and the calliope.

There’s an interesting video intro to the work found here. And pretty much all the songs on the CD are also on this site, some of them live, most of them with the cover photo. So, you get a chance to give the music a listen before investing. But, until you actually get a feel for the lyrics, it’s hard to actually get comfortable with the intent of the CD. Of course, for many, it’s the music or forget it, that’s often the case, and that’s truly unfortunate with a work that supplies this much thought to consider. But, we do get right to the heart of the matter with the first cut, Charlatans. The tradeoff between the two female vocalists moves the song forward, but it’s the inclusion of the male vocal that tells us there’s more here than just a three ring circus:

The CIVIL . .the LIE. .the NATION!
Upon a stage,
Raped from a thousand lies,
A bunch of clowns,
Perform a monstrous crime!

The Urban Tribe gets a little more specific in their condemnation. And, most interestingly, the CD booklet illustrates this one with a graphic of an urban setting, with Uncle Sam prominently portrayed above it, hmmm. . . wonder what they had in mind there. Again, the lyrics give us some clues:

Just take another look around you,
And tell me what the world reminds you,
Gamblers, lawyers, holy fathers,
Homeless children selling flowers.

This one is captured in a live performance in Athens here. You get a little of that stage presence, that theatrical component that is an essential part of the Dakrya repertoire. And the interplay between the two lovely vocalists gives it just that little extra that you don’t get on the CD.

There are a number of interesting sidelines that take place in the music. One cut, A Dreadful SideScene, is entirely instrumental. But, other than that, each song has something relatively meaningful to say. It is sometimes couched in the language, other times it hits you over the head. Dramatis Personae , towards the end of the work, is one of the later. The music begins with a keyboard intro. But the metal pounds on this one, we get some of our more dramatic vocals, some of the best base work and crunching drums. And, lyrically, we’re told:

We are the sorrow,
We are the dark side,
We are the fools,
We are the human kind,
Consider all the aspects…
Play your role right
You are the fool,
You are the human kind!

There are a lot of dimensions to consider when looking at a work of this depth. Obviously, the music has to be near the top, and Dakrya doesn’t disappoint there. But, music like this must be considered on artistic merit beyond the music alone. And, it is here that Dakrya moves to another dimension. It may be avant-garde, which may be beyond the scope of some listeners to appreciate. For the rest of us, this is solid in so many ways, and not appreciating it at that level would be a Crime indeed.

9.5 / 10

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