Fury/Dakesis Co-Headliner Set, The Gryphon, Bristol
A Friday night trip across the bridge saw the Ed and me head to Bristol’s smallest venue for a night of power metal and a few bits of something a little different. Initially a headline set by Birmingham’s Dakesis, they co-opted mates Fury along for the ride and the cheeky bastards took the headline slot on the toss of a coin. This was an evening which demonstrated once more that underground music really does need supporting.
Bang on time, it was openers Titan Monarchy (6) who started the evening off with a spirited if raw 30 minutes. The trio had travelled from Truro to open the evening, and despite a traumatic arrival due to traffic the young outfit took the bull by the horns. With their set consisting of a mixture of covers and original material, Titan Monarchy kicked off their set with a cover of Zombie by The Cranberries and immediately it was apparent that these guys would benefit from a singer and possibly an additional guitarist to add some beef to their sound. Some of their original material demonstrated potential with When Your Ego Dies impressive. Less so their cover of SOAD’s Aerials, a challenging song at the best of times and again highlighting the slight weakness in the vocals. However, the band kept to their task and were rewarded with a decent round of applause. Titan Monarchy is Isaac Gilliam-Lindon, Ioan Wooldridge and guitarist Owen Isaac; they certainly have the potential to progress. These guys are playing the Dragonffli in Pontypool in late June supporting Scarsun and are worth checking out if you are in the area.
That probably wouldn’t be my recommendation for Pallas Athena (4) whose imagery and introduction may well have been hampered by the size of the venue. Nevertheless, the Manchester three-piece who are into the semi-final of the Manchester M2TM competition should have been able to adapt and are certainly one of the more bizarre acts I’ve seen for some time. Using masses of backing tracks including full programmed drumming, the operatic vocals of Vickie Harley seemed totally at odds with the middling guitar work of James Horn and bassist Alex Jordan. With an image of black cloaks and candelabras, this was a challenging band to review. Challenging because the music was disappointingly average, the soaring vocals didn’t work and the progressive symphonic banner which the band ride under rarely applying. Their reliance on their backing music, vocals and programmed drumming rankled perhaps more than it should have, but a real drummer would at least give them some more gravitas. It’s sad to say but we didn’t last all the band’s set, opting for some fresh air instead.
It’s been some time since I saw Dakesis (9) but that is something that won’t happen again. The Birmingham four-piece have an arsenal of superb songs and are seasoned musicians. Despite the low-key nature of the gig, with much humour and relaxed banter between the band, members of Fury and their loyal supporters, this was still a thoroughly professional performance. Tracks from 2016’s The New Dawn and 2011’s Trial By Fire included the Manowar style epic On Wings Of Steel and of course, the closing epic By The Fading Light were brilliantly delivered with Gemma Lawler’s stunning voice crystal clear. The lead guitar work of Matt Jones slicing through whilst bassist Amie Chatterley and drummer Adam Harris anchored the whole show. Visually the band are great, with Lawler’s bright blue hair contrasting with the shocking red of Chatterley’s flowing locks. Despite the lack of room, the band took this gig as if they were headlining the O2 Academy. Full of confidence and sharp throughout, their forthcoming album should be a real treat.
Only one way for Fury (9) to match Dakesis and that was with a show of similar power and strength. Luckily the Worcester band has both in spades and played a storming 50-minute set that reminded us once again what a talented band they are. With the line-up settled after a turbulent period, there was no resting as Lost In Space kicked things off. Julian Jenkins is an amiable, instantly likeable frontman who also possesses one of the best voices in UK metal today. Soulful and powerful, Lost In Space is the ideal opener and allowed the band to get into their stride quickly. Becky Baldwin is no stranger to readers of these pages, and with her signature bass lines thumping away, the former Triaxis bassist demonstrated once again what a fine player she is. Alongside Jenkins, new guitarist Jake Elwell didn’t put a note wrong, whilst drummer Tom Fenn nailed everything. He’s one hell of a drummer. Tracks from The Lightning Dream and Lost In Space raced by, the intricate songs knitting together comfortably, with Fury showing no signs of rust. Closing with the traditional Drunken Sailor there was still time to cram in Star Trippin’ before closing an enjoyable evening which demonstrated some of the best in the UK metal scene. With the promise of new material from both bands later this year, it hopefully won’t be as long before we see Fury and Dakesis once more.