Dakrya - Crime Scene

by Dan Upton

Crime Scene is the second full-length from Greek seven-piece Dakrya. I don't have any particular background with them, but they do have connections to one of my favorite avant-garde metal bands, Diablo Swing Orchestra. Acts like Diablo Swing Orchestra and Unexpect are a decent starting reference point, although I would argue that Dakrya are somewhat more accessible. The quickest way to decide whether Crime Scene might be up your alley is to ask the question, "Do you like your metal weird, but only a little weird?"

I think there might be some kind of story in the lyrics, but I'm really not sure what it is. My only clue is an interesting bit of text on the tray card, a narrative that works in all the song titles. It refers to the opening track, "The Charlatans," having taken over the city, while the police are investigating the Crime Scene to determine the identity of said charlatans. And I can see that some in the lyrics, reading through the booklet the lyrics repeatedly reference a number of characters you might find in a circus.

Dakrya should draw a little notability just for having three vocalists, including two female leads. The two lead vocalists occasionally sing the same line, but frequently instead use a call and response form. On songs like "Camouflage" in particular, the stereo-panned conversation between the two vocalists contributes to a creepy atmosphere. The guitarist provides backing vocals, sometimes in a deep voice and sometimes sounding like a circus ringmaster.

The circus theme comes out in the music some as well, even with bells interleaving the circus march (you know the one) on "The Charlatans." The bells are fairly ever-present, at least providing more background melody in passages even if they are not the foreground element. Most of the music is guitar-driven, as you would expect on a metal CD, but there are certainly some more out-there elements: a walking bass and swing dance-worthy piano line on "The Urban Tribe," another swing groove on "Phantasmagoria," and a smooth sax melody on "Camouflage." And then there's album closer "A Dreadful Side Scene," which is an interesting bass and keyboard instrumental that is otherwise beyond description. This is all to say the music is firmly enough rooted in metal instrumentation, but it may stretch your horizons a bit.

So to go back to a thought from above, Crime Scene certainly fits the bill for having a little bit of weirdness and interest in your metal while still remaining accessible and catchy. The operatic vocal style might be a turn-off, even for those into other metal acts with female vocalists, but you really shouldn't let that stop you from enjoying this. Even though it's accessible it may not be for everybody, but it's certainly worth checking out a few of the above tracks even if you're not ready to take the plunge.

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