Rock It: Female-fronted metal band Duilliath releases EP at Jerilee’s

Posted on November 13, 2013

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Rock It: Female-fronted metal band Duilliath releases EP at Jerilee’s

Duilliath "Golden Horizons"

Duilliath “Golden Horizons”

By Rachael Mattice

Patience pays off for local symphonic goth metal band Duilliath. Years after its formation in West Lafayette, the band is releasing its EP, “Golden Horizons,” this weekend.

Assembled from the dream of classically trained vocalist and Purdue alumna Aliyah Davis in 2007, the female-fronted Duilliath will celebrate its record debut with Refractions, Testimony and Draekon at its release party presented by Lafayette Metal and Jerilee’s Pub’s Hard N’ Heavy showcase at 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Jerilee’s, 2100 Elmwood Ave. Admission is $4.

“We are all excited to perform together and the audience will get a lot of energy from us,” Davis said.

The name Duilliath is derived from a character’s name in the book “The Dreaming Tree” by C. J. Cherryh meaning “shadow leaf.” Davis said she chose the word for its beautiful dichotomous meaning: light and darkness in life’s natural heaviness.

Duilliath has had several lineup changes, managed home recording while juggling ever-evolving technological changes, and grappled with geographical distance between band members as Davis moved to Los Angeles.

Distance aside, passion pushed Duilliath to continue as an active band much like the original notion for the band Davis concocted after seeing symphonic metal band Within Temptation play live.

“Within my mind, heart and soul, I realized that I had to be on stage doing music,” she said. “I started posting fliers on campus and that is how our original drummer … signed up, who brought Seth (Vaughn), as well as our keyboardist Brian (Rush).”

Although women occupying the metal scene is not a new concept, the male-dominated genre still shows signs of discrimination toward female metal musicians.

“I got a comment last night after a gig with my new band, Inheritor, that the person was impressed because there aren’t many of us (women),” Davis said. “We are invading metal slowly but steadily, especially in Los Angeles.

“There will always be thrash bands and death metal bands that are very male-centered; women can play in those too, but it’s the development of society in general. People would say Duilliath isn’t metal because we have a female singer, but I try to do my best and use the music to make me strong and count on my brothers to support me. If people don’t like it, that’s just too bad.”

While many musicians can take inspiration from Davis’ words, Duilliath’s songs salute the band itself. The Celtic-sounding “Seabound” soldiers on as what Davis described as the band’s “viking battle cry.”

“A lot of metal fans are very fond of vikings because we are fighting, too, as a sub-genre and counterculture,” she said.

“Esculent Soul,” however, is much heavier, with crunchy thrash guitar by Vaughn and pummeling double bass by drummer Chris Parker that overpowers Rush’s symphonic keyboards, emphasized in songs like “Golden Horizons.”

Centered on ominous content and emotions, “Esculent Soul” pushes the low end of Davis’ soprano range.

“I’m very comfortable singing low songs and am developing my low range more,” she said. “It’s more sensual and I can feel the darker emotions like anger where as emotions like joy are better suited for higher ranges.”

“Siren’s Whisper” favors Celtic roots as well, almost mythological in its narrative.

“I read ‘The Screwtape Letters’ by C.S. Lewis around that time and it talks about eating the souls of people, which is where the terminology for the song comes from,” she said. “The lyrics could be about any force in your life that is bringing you down or maybe a person trying to suck the life out of you.”

For more on Duilliath and “Golden Horizons,” visit http://www.reverbnationcom/dulliath.

Mattice is a producer and music journalist for the Journal & Courier. She can be reached  on Twitter @RachaelM_JC.

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Posted in: "Rock It" Column