just typing here to see where it goes Dance With Dragons - Escape Into Darkness (review) - MetalFromNL

Dance With Dragons – Escape Into Darkness (review)

The Netherlands has been known internationally for producing great Symphonic Metalbands. We’ve had names such as Within Temptation, Epica and Delain as export products. Dance with Dragons finally released their debut EP, so maybe in a few years they can be added to that list as well. Escape From Darkness has been in the works for quiet some time. While these tracks have been performed on various stages in the Netherlands so far, now it’s time to share those tracks with the world.

Dance With Dragons

Dance with Dragons tries very hard to be able to perform the songs they write without a backing track. They have four(!) vocalists and a keyboard player to bring the synths and orchestrations to the stage. And there’s more: all of the band members bring the energy! If you’ve ever been to a gig, or seen the videos on YouTube, you know they all bring it to the stage. 

Escape Into Darkness

Escape into Darkness was planned to be released in 2021. Dance With Dragons started recording and finalizing the album in their personal studio. However, they realized the final product could be a lot better if they got some help producing it. I’m glad the band did that. The final product now is consistently high quality, and the mixing and mastering are done nicely. Which is hard with so many different layers of instruments and vocals. It’s all nicely balanced, giving room for the deep dark grunts, chugging guitars, and dreamy keys, with the talented vocals of Sanne at the forefront. 

Judgement Day

The EP starts with Judgement Day, a track that instantly reminds us of Nightwish with the melody in both vocals and keys. The whole track is a nice balancing act of melodies in guitars, keys, and vocals. The song doesn’t necessarily follow the standard song structure. That actually helps the tracks not be too predictable, while still having a nice recognizable chorus part. A catchy sing-along track, which definitely fits the genre. The hook for the track is in the guitar, which definitely shines early on the EP. 

After Dark is, well, it’s in the name, a darker track than what we started out with. The track is a little more guitar-heavy, with the synths and guitars forming one heavy front. The main vocals still follow on the same note, however, the scream in the pre-chorus shows us Sanne can add a little grit to her voice as well. I would probably have preferred more of that: just a little more variety in the vocals to make that more interesting as well. The bridge in this track takes this one to fast-riff party land, and you can feel the energy the band has on stage pouring out of your speakers on that part.  

The Key

Onto probably the best track of the album, The Key. Hearing the first few notes you know this will be a crowd-pleaser. Sanne again shows her versatility on this track, and the variety of more mid-range and soprano vocals work well. I have to applaud the keyboard player on the riff in the middle of the track, for not going in the direction everyone would expect with that riff. I’m not sure I like it, but I’m glad they tried something different. The heavy part that follows works well to get our heads banging, however, the best part of the track is for sure the ending part, with the ‘I am the key’ vocals ringing in our ears long after the song has ended. 

The EP ends with Mortality, probably the hardest track on Escape into Darkness. It’s another guitar-focused track, with more of those deep grunts, that instantly give the whole track more ‘oomph’. The soprano vocals, layered on top of the guitars and grunts in the pre-chorus make for a nice wall of sound. The instrumental break in the middle gives us some breathing room and makes the lyrics about mortality stand out even more. We do however return to the heavy intro part once more, before the EP ends with more headbanging. 

Final Thoughts

Dance With Dragons managed to put out a versatile EP, that shows the bands’ skills in all capacities. From the dreamy melodies to heavy headbang riffs, deep grunts, and haunting opera vocals, Dance With Dragons has it all. The are some hints of more progressive bands in there if you listen closely, but the main focus is of course the symphonic metal and to me, Nightwish. If I have to give one point of criticism, I would however like to see the band improve on their lyrics since they feel a little too direct to me.

However, I’ve said it before in other reviews: bands like this rise or fall based on their vocalist. And Dance With Dragons definitely passed that test for me. The whole thing is just well-written (apart from maybe the one debatable riff in The Key) and well-produced. My favorite track would probably be The Key, but with a 4-track EP, you can easily listen to the whole thing in one go. 

You can find Dance With Dragons on their own website, Facebook, and of course in our database.

Check out the interview here

YouTube player