By Terry Marland, Rock At Night Wales
It’s an early start for opening band Dacara who take to the stage just after the doors are opening and power through their half hour set that features songs from their releases over the last couple of years. Their performance features hard hitting riffs and powerful vocals all delivered in a stage bathed in green light. They finish off with a pulverising “Rip Off” that is well received by the Manchester audience.
Diamond Black is a trio headed up by lead guitarist with the Sisters of Mercy, Ben Christo who also takes on vocal duties. They deliver a powerful set including tracks that broadly explore the challenges we all face and how we deal with. It includes their latest single “Through the Misery” and the powerful “Dark Anthems” that features searing guitar work and references the importance of music getting you through life’s challenges.
A passionate delivery of “Kill My Demons” is a set highlight which has a catchy refrain that stays with you, and if you want to sample Diamond Black’s music this might be a good place to start.
They conclude an accomplished set with a powerhouse version of their first single “Sorrow
Japanese Metal project Esprit D’ Air is the brainchild of Kai who is currently the only permanent member of the band. For studio work Kai plays all instruments and takes on all production duties in what is effect an impressive DIY operation. For live work Kai uses a range of session musicians and on this tour features Yusuke on guitar, Takeshi on bass and on drums Jan-Vincent-Velazco.
Taking to the stage looking striking in black kimono style attire with laced sleeves and a multi-chained necklace, Kai greets the crowd with a welcoming wave and a request to the crowd “Manchester make some noise”. The audience duly oblige before the band launches into a set that, as anticipated, pulls mainly from the 2022 “Oceans” album that is being, in effect, re-booted on this tour. When initially released the album received critical acclaim and made an impression on the UK Rock and Metal album charts.
The combination of an extensive vocal range, stunning riffs and the mixing of cultures makes for an enthralling performance. Most of the songs are sung in Japanese with occasional English lyrics emerging. When layered onto the their musical soundscape it creates a dynamic impact.
Set highlights for me include “Ocean’s Call”, “Glaciers”, “The Abyss” and “Starstorm” that segues into a pulsating drum solo. A mention here for Jan-Vincent-Velazco who did an impressive double shift playing for both Diamond Black and Esprit D’Air tonight.
New single Shizuku gets one of the loudest cheers of the evening and Kai thanks the audience for helping to fund the new video.
Towards the end of the main set Kai is joined by Ben Christo for Deadzone (who features on this track from the Oceans album) which has the audience going wild.
The night concludes with Christo back on stage for a cover of Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper”
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