Had enough of gothic bands with a female, operatic singer yet? Well, if you have grown tired of all your Nightwish, Within Temptation, Epica, Evanescence and all the other four million of their likes, here’s another one that will fit that mold pretty well. Before I got the link to this record, I had never heard of this band (artist) before, but it turns out that Darkyra Black has one more album behind them (her), Dragon Tears from 2013. Darkyra Black, the band, is based in Australia and is built around singer Darkyra Black (real name: Gina Bafile) who had teamed up with music arranger George Boussounis who introduced her to producer and drummer Garry King. The debut album was recorded by session musicians Paul Jupe and Betovani Dinelli on guitars, and keyboard player Fab Jablonski. When it was time to record the new album, Gina hired the same team, but as it was financially straining to finance the whole recordings of two albums with session musicians with basically no help from a record company at all made it impossible for the band to actually make a real tour, so for this new record’s tour Gina auditioned musicians from her home in Australia for what has become the band Darkyra Black. The band now features Darkyra Black (Gina, that is) on vocals, Dave Lyons on guitars, Mario Schmack on bass, Dan Grainger on drums, Kim Seragusa on keyboards and Chrissie Mavrofridis on electric violin, 2nd keyboard and backing vocals and the plan is to make Darkyra Black a touring force for the next few years and get a global following. So how do they sound then? Well read on and you shall find that out.
First of all, the record opens with “Behind Closed Doors, Part 2” which is somewhat weird. How can part 2 come before part 1, I wonder. The song is pretty good and sounds like a Middle East influenced version of the Tarja Turunen version of Nightwish. I hold Gina as a more enjoyable singer than Tarja, though. “Who Are They To Judge You” is also very good. It’s a symphonic hard rocker with some progressive elements. “Truth Or Dare” is a symphonic metal track that reminds me of a more orchestrated Lacuna Coil. It’s an ok song, but I can’t really make it stick with me. “Of Fools And Gold” is a fantastic ballad, an operatic cabaret-like tune that reminds me of Swedish acts such as The Murder Of My Sweet and Jono. “Where Will I Be” make me think of the Anette Olzon fronted Nightwish, but the song has no structure, the melody is lost and it’s really forgettable. “Bleed” is a great one, though with a very memorable melody and the song is The Murder Of My Sweet and Lacuna Coil all in one. The male singer – George Boussounis – bears some strong resemblance to David Bowie which gives the song an extra spice. “The Wish Never Fades” sounds like a metal version of Blackmore’s Night, a cool thing, but the song don’t go all the way and it’s not that memorable. “Desperation” sounds like Lacuna Coil writing a metal musical with a more straight forward hard rock arrangement. It’s an ok tune, no more, no less. “Flawless” sounds like Tarja-era Nightwish writing a metal musical. It’s very close to being a clone-song, but they get away with it. The song is very dramatic and grows on you while listening to it – very good song. “It Takes All Kind Of Fools” has a dramatic arrangement but the foundation is just another straight forward hard rock song – ok, not more. “Fountain Of Frozen Dreams” is a very good song, but it sound exactly like it could have been an unused leftover from Nightwish’s Dark Passion Play (2007) album. Not that original, in other words. “Behind Closed Part 1” closes the album and I can’t get it through my skull why part 1 is a closer and part 2 the opener. Anyway, it’s more of an outro than an actual song and the piece sound more like a muslim prayer than an actual song, It feels a bit unnecessary, but it probably fills some purpose that I haven’t got.
To sum this up, this is a good album, no doubt about it. It’s partly brilliant and partly mediocre, but what they (she) need the most is an identity of their (her) own because on here I hear a lot of influences, many of them different to each other but I fail the hear what Darkyra Black sound like. The key words to every song seem to be “…sounds like…”. This is a thing that might just be crucial when someone is out to get a new album by a band like this and have to decide which band’s album to buy, if he or she have to choose because there are so many bands out there that plays this kind of metal and many of them sound the same, at least to my ears and if you wanna make it in this business playing his kind of music, you need to have something really special, to stick out, but I’m afraid Darkyra Black don’t. At least not right now. On the positive side, Gina doesn’t sound annoying with a huge soprano voice, like Tarja, but more like a pop singer with opera influences – I like Gina’s voice very much. There’s potential here, lots of it and if they can just stay with their head above water until they find their own style, this band might just turn big, but as for now there is more work to be done in that department. Still, for lovers of this kind of metal I would advice to at least check this band out. Maybe this album is more for you than for me.
1. Part 2. Behind Closed Doors
2. Who Are They To Judge You
3. Truth Or Dare
4. Of Fools And Gold
5. Where Will I Be
7. The Wish Never Fades
10. It Takes All Kinds Of Fools
11. Fountain Of Frozen Dreams
12. Part 1. Behind Closed Doors