Dakrya

Crime Scene

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AllMusic Review by

On their sophomore album, Crime Scene, give Dakrya credit for attempting to deliver a full package comprised of a rather unique musical hybrid wed to a fully developed thematic concept and colorful wardrobe to match. In essence, the Greek septet starts out with a solid symphonic/progressive goth metal foundation (think After Forever, Epica, Nightwish, etc.) and then proceeds to adorn it with cheerily creepy organ figures straight out of a carny freak show, further warped by an obvious case of Mr. Bungle worship, and topped with an image that's part mad hatter and part A Clockwork Orange. When all of these elements actually mesh (and that's not always the case -- see below), the impressive results range from disconcerting circus metal sideshow ("The Charlatans") to Munsters-on-a-Greek-cruise-cum-mosh-pit ("Camouflage") to the full realization of the band's twisted vision in its essence ("Dramatis Personae"). When they don't, Dakrya are as apt to lose their way in an unnecessarily overwrought instrumental maze ("Blind Man's Bluff") as flail away in some kind of gothic cabaret hell à la the Dresden Dolls ("The Urban Tribe") or in fruitless attempts to deconstruct Black Sabbath's namesake tune and rebuild it in their image, with hit-and-miss results ("Inertia"). Throughout all of this, Dakrya's most notable distinction (along with keyboardist and chief songwriter Sophia X's dominant role) takes the shape of a two-pronged vocal attack, split equally between the operatically trained Thomais Chatzigianni and the more traditionally melodic Christina Kalantzi, who together sound like an even scarier reincarnation of Kate Bush -- in a good way! But here too, there is a catch, because the occasional but mostly unwelcome microphone clowning of guitarist George Droulias fairly ruins the likes of "Scaremongering" and "Phantasmogoria," and frankly diminishes the serious artistry displayed elsewhere. As wildly inconsistent as it can be, though, Crime Scene and its makers deserve all due respect for trying so hard to break the mold, and navigating the ups and downs with nary a dull moment.

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