Credits - Drums, Production and Mixing
Written by Marcelo Trotta
DARKYRA BLACK - "Dragon Tears"
Darkyra Black (a.k.a. Gina Bafile) is an Australian singer who was formerly the front-woman of Perth-based band “Caprycon” (Reviewed at PR&PM in 2011). In 2011, Darkyra departed in search of more ambitious musical paths. The inspiration and concept for her first album - “Dragon Tears” – came up in 2011, when Sean Bernard, one of Darkyra's music colleagues on “Caprycon”, asked her to write additional lyrics and a vocal melody for music he had composed inspired on the Japanese Anime series “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”. As Darkyra immediately felt in love with the song, she also realized that the music could be easily expanded to the Symphonic Metal level, with the addition of guitars, bass, drums, and orchestral arrangements. To start up the project, Darkyra contacted George Boussounis, a music arranger who owns a company called Online Recording Masters in Athens. Boussounis became interested, and influenced drummer Garry King (“Jeff Beck”, “Joe Lynn Turner”, “Ian Parry”, and leader of Power Metal band “Achillea”) to get involved in the project. King brought other members of “Achillea” to fill in Darkyra Black's line-up: Paul Jupe, (guitar), Fab Jablonski (keyboards), and Betovani Dinelli (bass). In September 2013, bassist Colin Haynes also joined the group, and Dinelli became a second guitarist. So “Dragon Tears” was recorded and released in 2014.
It is a concept album that tells a dark and gothic tale about a geisha: love, loss, lust, betrayal, and revenge are all characters in this story, which converges to a tragic end. The music is a blend of Symphonic Metal, Gothic Metal, Epic Metal and Progressive Rock with elements of traditional pentatonic music, a dramatic score-music feeling, and an original touch of Japanese-influenced music. Overall, the Symphonic Metal arrangements recall bands like “Dreams of Sanity”, “Lacrimosa”, “Nightwish”, “Edenbridge”, and “Within Temptation”; the Gothic Metal riffs are like “Elis”, “Leave's Eyes”, and “Xandria”; some Dark and Melancholic ambiences are like “Artrosis” and “Nox Arcana”. Passages of classical piano recall “Dreams of Sanity”, “Lacrimosa”, and “Evanescence”, and confront the modern sound of electronic keyboards that recall bands like “Erben der Schöpfung”, “Sirenia”, and “Nemesea”.
The string arrangements brought to my mind the Gothic-Romantic style of “Lacrimosa”. Solos of guitars & synths abound, paralleling “Epica”, “Syrens Call”, and “Stream of Passion”. At last, Darkyra has a penchant for oriental music (as “Imperia” and “Dead Can Dance”) - in her case, a distinguishing and innovative preference for the Japanese Traditional music. The instrumental background is the perfect vehicle for Darkyra to showcase the attributes of her unique voice: mesmerizing power, burning passion, and outstanding singing ability; recalling female singers of the magnitude of “Sandra Schleret”, “Sabine Dünser”, “Marcela Bovio”, “Manda Ophuis”, “Tarja Turunen”, and “Kate Bush”. “Dragon Tears” has eleven tracks. The album is fantastic, and must be listened several times to allow total assimilation of the music that it contains, such is the richness of the arrangements. It opens with “Madoka's Lament” (5:24) – an emotionally strong lullaby that introduces Darkyra's amazing voice and delicate sounds of Japanese music, assuring that this band has a differential, and dragging the listener into the story. On “Lullaby of Death” (5:08) Darkyra continues to enchant us with a Medea-kind of voice, luring us into the dark lairs of “Eyes Wide Shut” (5:02) – a song that begins creepy with somber pianos, but arises to a bombastic Epic-Metal later, having a great guitar solo. “Japanese Frankenstein” (4:37) sounds like a Japanese Anime soundtrack, descending to the Gothic vaults where hides the dramatic “Slither” (6:40), which has strings and icy pianos, recalling “Sirenia”, “Artrosis”, and “Evanescence”. “Before I Wither” (4:37) is a piano ballad that mixes Japanese music with Romantic references, and has an awesome “Dreams of Sanity” style; while “Cold Cold Stone” (6:33) begins modern, groovy, and techno, but gradually grows to a Symphonic Metal of epic proportions. The last four tracks of the album represent the climax of the story. “Never Know” (8:56) has amazing Symphonic beginning, theatrical vocals, eerie moments reminiscent of “Nox Arcana”, and bombastic orchestrations like “Lacrimosa”; “Tears By Candlelight” (3:35) is a straightforward and swinging Metal song on which Darkyra puts a spell on you with malignant tongue, and later brakes the enchantment with soaring vocals like “Tarja”; and “Kiss of the Dragon” (5:52) & “Dragon Tears” (12:51) are masterpieces in the style of “Dreams of Sanity”, “Nightwish”, “Edenbridge”, and “Syrens Call”. If “Kiss…” is marked by an intro with pianos & violins, the demolition guitar riffs, the martial drumming, and an overall aggressiveness; “Dragon…” is fast-galloping, and after 6 minutes of awesome Epic-Metal, brings a narrative sequence that promises a sequel. Darkyra Black is an impressive band that oxygenates the still waters of the Female-Fronted Symphonic & Gothic Metal reservoir, being indispensable for fans of “Dreams of Sanity”, “Nightwish”, “Edenbridge”, “Within Temptation”, “Elis”, “Leave's Eyes”, “Evanescence”, “Xandria”, “Artrosis”, “Nox Arcana”, “Erben der Schöpfung”, “Sirenia”, “Nemesea”, “Epica”, “Syrens Call”, “Stream of Passion”, “Amartia”, “Imperia”, “Tarja Turunen”, “Indica”, “Delain”, “After Forever”, “Visions of Atlantis”, “Revamp”, “Forgotten Tales”, “Therion”, “Lacrimosa”, etc. Band members and collaborators involved in Darkyra Black are: Darkyra Black - Vocals; Paul Jupe - Guitars; Fabinho Jablonski - Keyboards; Betovani Dinelli - Bass, Guitars (solos on “Never Know”); Colin Haynes - Bass (on “Never Know” & additional parts of “Tears by Candlelight”); Garry King - Drums. Special guest: Thiago Trinsi (“Seraphim”) - Guitar on “Kiss of the Dragon”. Additional musicians: George Boussounis - Keyboards, Samples & Arrangements; Michael Porfyris - Cello; Ilias Sdoukos - Viola; Laertis Kokolanis - Violin; Dimitris Barbagalas - Acoustic Guitar on “Eyes Wide Shut” & “Never Know”. “Madoka's Lament” composed by Sean Bernard 2011; other songs & lyrics written by Darkyra Black. Vocals recorded in Perth, Australia; Album Produced & Mastered by George Boussounis, Online Recording Masters & Morph Flow Studio (Athens, Greece); Mixed & Edited by Garry King, La Foret Groupe (France)...