Festival: Dames Of Darkness 

Bands: Leaves Eyes, Enemy of Reality, Winter in Eden, Skarlett Riot, Enkelination, Insuma

Venue: The Robin 2, Bilston, Wolverhampton

Date: 10 May 2015 (Day Two)


Day 2 of this years festival started with the rumour mill as it soon reached the crowd that Incassium had pulled out at the last minute and that Skarlett Riot and Enklelination would play extended sets, but the rumour mill didn’t stop there as we later were informed Winter in Eden vocalist Vicky had lost her voice, although thankfully that didn’t mean Winter in Eden couldn’t put on a show, but more of that later. 

Day two for us kicked off with Cardiff’s Insuna, a band that really blew away the Sunday afternoon cobwebs with their dark metal vibe, as they opened their account in style with ‘Over The Edge’, the full on metal assault continued with the likes of ‘Gemini’, the excellent ‘Beyond The Hollow’ and song of the set ‘Deceiver’.  The Welsh metallers really didn’t hold back any punches and really set the bar for the rest to follow. 

Next up with was Enkelination, a band many had come to see and before the band had even came on stage, the gathering of many of the male members of the audience at the front of the stage had begun, it was like watching some sort of strange metal migration.

The band were at the opposite end of the metal spectrum to previous band Insuna, this is what I expect from female fronted metal bands, a powerful lead singer in Elina and top class musicianship.  The band's set mixed melodic metal with the traditional symphonic tones, with tracks like ‘Higher Ground’, 'Insane’, 'Tears of Lust’ and ‘Last Time Together’.  Definitely one of the highlights of the weekend for sure and a band I will be checking out again after today's performance. 

Speaking of bands of the weekend, the next band definitely fall into that category.  I am of course talking about Skarlett Riot, a band that has impressed each and every time I've seem them and today was no different.

They wouldn’t be described as one of your typical Dames of Darkness bands, as they deliver straight shooting Hard Rock with a Punky edge, but sometimes it adds wealth to these festivals mixing it up a little so that all the bands don't start to sound too similar.

Led by the vocal force of Skarlett, the band set out wooing the crowd from the off with ‘Divide Us’ and instantly the band had the entire venue behind them, as they rocked on with the superb ‘Wake Up’, taken from the latest EP.

The band went for the jugular as the kept the rock party going with the raucous ‘Faded Memory’, the ball busting ‘Riot’ and the sublime ‘Cascade’.  

It was clear that the band are something special, as the crowd just happily rocked along to each song.  The set continued to impress with ‘Rising’ and 'What We’ve Become’, before rounding things off in style with ‘Tear Me Down’.  Definitely one of the best British live bands around at the moment by far. 

Well with the lost of Winter in Eden vocalist Vicky, the band weren’t going to lie down, so the fans were treated to The Winter In Eden Allstars, as the boys were joined by Andrea Casanova, Bexie James and Melissa Adams as guest vocalists and with extremely little rehearsal time, they put on a hell of a set that was appreciated by one and all. 

It would be hard to follow what went before but Greece’s Enemy Of Reality really showed why the were placed so high on the bill as they delivered one of the surprise sets of the weekend.  

Led by the vocal might of Iliana Tsakiraki, it’s hard to believe this was the band first time in the UK.  Tsakiraki’s vocals alone were worth the entry fee alone.  S

he filled the venue with grace and power as they powered through the set with the likes of the symphonic tones of ‘Needle Bites', the Film Score Metal of 'Twist of Time’ and the superb dark gothic tones of ‘Her Descending Ghost’.

Don’t be surprised if this band headline Dames of Darkness in the not too distant future.  

A simply stunning performance.   

Now on to Day 2 headliners, what can I say about Leaves Eyes that I haven’t said before, with the ying yang vocals of Liv Kristine and husband Alex Krull leading the Symphonic Metal charge, these are one band that has taken the world by storm ever since their 2004 debut 'Lovelorn'. 

Tonight the band were about to deliver another stunning set of power and grace as they opened up with ‘Galswintha’, taken from their superb 'Symphonies of the Night’ album.  A real bouncy opener that really got the crowd going from the off, with Liv's superb voice the air just filled with her haunting tones.  It was to 'Njord' album for the wonderful ‘Take the Devil In Me’, again featuring another stunning vocal from the Norwegian songstress.

It was time to turn up the heat as the band brought the Viking spirit to proceedings with ‘Farewell Proud Men’, before returning to 'Symphonies of the Night' for the excellent ‘Fading Earth’, with the band showing its heavier side.

We were treated to something rather special as we were given a taste of the bands up coming release ‘King of Kings’ with the massive ‘Halvdan The Black’, as Liv was joined by the mighty Krull as the pair delivered one of the songs of the set.  This track alone just made me want to hear the new album in all its glory, such was the majesty and power of the song.  

It was back to 'Njord' for one of my favourite and many fans favourite Leaves Eyes songs ‘My Destiny’.  By this time the band had the crowd in the palms of their hands and when they ripped into 'Symphonies of the Night', the crowd just erupted.

The euphoria continued as the band unleashed the magnificent ‘Spirits Masquerade’ from 'Meredead', which was simply Leaves Eyes at their very best.  Those magical mix of Folk and Metal elements is the band forte and this one has it in spades.

It was to 'Vinland Saga' for the another classic mix of traditional Folk and Metal for 'Melusine', as Alex delivered the dark tones and Liv the light.  I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, there is something about this pairing vocally that on paper shouldn’t work, but it does and it does so well, again it's that ying and yang thing.

It was time to bring a little more folk rock into the mix as the band gave a wonderful rendition of Mike Oldfields ‘Get To France’, before Alex’s return for the monstrous splendour of ‘Maid of Lorraine’.

The band were pulling out all the stops as always as the brought the big guns to round off the set starting with ‘Elergy’ and rounding off things off with the thunderous ‘Hell to the Heavens’.  The band left the stage to cheers and chants of more and more we got, as it wasn’t long before they returned to the stage to round off a wonderful set and great weekend with 'Norwegian Lovesong' and the icing on the cake from 'Njord' ‘Froya Theme’.  Tonight's set was yet another stunning Leaves Eyes show and with the band announcing a return to these shores in November, I would advise to beg, steal or borrow, to see one of the finest Symphonic Metal bands doing what they do best.  

A wonderful weekend was had by all, a great venue just the right size and a great sound.  I wouldn’t think twice about coming back next year.  If you're into female fronted Rock and Metal then I highly recommend you check out this great little festival. Special thanks must go to David Homer who put the whole festival together and never stopped the whole weekend.  Well done that man! 

Review by: Barry McMinn




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