Nov 13, 2012

Daylight Dies - "A Frail Becoming" ...

North Carolina's Daylight Dies has been one of the quite achievers in the doom metal scene, delivering one solid album after another since their debut full length 'No Reply' some 10 years ago. Never a band to be absolutely mind-blowing, they are still a band more than capable of releasing very good doses of melodic death/doom metal. 'A Frail Becoming' is no different, it is more of the same which should be more than good enough for the average doom listener.  

Daylight Dies have been accused in the past of being a little unsure of themselves in terms of style or sub-genre but there is no such questions marks surrounding this album. The band sounds really focused and thus has produced their most concise album to date. Of course there has never been any doubts over their musicianship but with this effort, you also get some fine songwriting (which is in my opinion) the best they have constructed since the aforementioned debut full length album.

The band are still in the vein of October Tide, Katatonia, Swallow The Sun, My Dying Bride and Draconian but they seem to be finally putting their own stamp on the genre. The album is eloquent, atmospheric, dramatic and mostly very charming in a depressive kind of way. The songs are mainly mid-tempo death-doom onslaughts with little variance but apart from a couple of ho-hum passages, this album is captivating for all of its 48:50. Starting with a track called 'Infidel' the band have a surprisingly large amount of catchy groove working for them. Grooves is usually the property of more stonerish doom acts but Daylight Dies prove they know how to build up a infectious groove as well. What does blow you away from the outset is the production which is simply stunning. It is loud, of course heavy but most importantly, it is the clarity of the mix that makes this album sound so powerful and magnetic.

From 'Infidel' going into 'The Pale Approach' and the amazing 'Sunset' - the band deliver a trio of mesmerizing pieces of work and I can't think of another album from Daylight Dies that has managed three scorchers like these in a row like this. 'Sunset' is especially noteworthy for its use of melody which despite the generic use of clean + death metal vocals sounds incredibly catchy and dare I say, almost mainstream. There are crying leads and the heavy emotional weight of the song is gripping right up to its very last notes. 'Dreaming of Breathing,' ' The Final Vestige' and 'Ghosting' are more your by-the-numbers Daylight Dies tunes, very good but nothing out of the ordinary for this band but another major highlight is right around the corner with 'Hold on to Nothing' which is insanely melodic but also very, very heavy containing some of the heaviest riff work this band have ever recorded.

Egan O’Rouke uses his clean voice to perfection while Nathan Ellis standard issue death growl is effective enough but par for the death doom course. The album winds down with a short instrumental and then a closing epic in 'An Heir to Emptiness' that isn't exactly the greatest way they could have finished the album but it is no loser tune either. The riff work from this band I have always found a little frustrating at times as it sometimes seems overly simple when you always get the feeling they could do something far more complex and interesting if they wanted to but blah, blah, blah, that is a personal gripe so I will leave it at that. When it is all said and done, this is the strongest Daylight Dies album released in the last 10 years. It is concise and has the strongest songwriting the band have ever mustered. The production is the best they have ever got and I think that point is hard to argue about as this album sounds amazing. As with their other albums the release isn't a instant winner but give it some time and you will soon find it an addictive listening experience. Check it out....8/10.

Words: Ed Barnard & Sally Bethhall.


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