Posted on October 11, 2012 AT 07:44pm
Given that it’s hoodie weather, a lot of us are going to need some music to match the mood, why not fill it with some new doom metal music? My suggestion for this year’s fall and upcoming winter is: Daylight Dies.
Daylight Dies is a Melodic Death/Doom Metal band from Raleigh, North Carolina and they just put out their third album entitled A Frail Becoming. This is their first album in 5 years since the consistent, quite enjoyable, 2008 release Lost to The Living. Which received some good reviews though wasn’t as solid as their first full length. Dismantling Devotion, which I felt was a great example of an album with staying power. From start to finish each song flowed nicely and actually felt like a coherent album with a well structured opening and an amazing closer.
A Frail Becoming comes with more of that signature Death/Doom sound that they’ve had with a great consistency, yet this time they shift gears a bit to avoid sounding as if they were re-creating Dismantling Devotion. There isn’t anything dramatically different about what they’re doing, you won’t find any programmed beats or strange synths shoved where they ought not be. They keep to their core, but they throw in more variation and seem to avoid dipping into the same formula too much. Starting with the song, Infidel, they don’t begin with a haunting clean intro like they did in Dismantling and Portrait. There’s still a haunting intro, but they don’t take long to slam right into this really intense mid-paced headbanger. It’s something that new listeners and those uninitiated with music of this sort may appreciate because there’s less that some may feel they’ll have to trudge through to enjoy. Old fans may appreciate this because it breaks up the assumption that they’ll start the album off with another e-bow laced intro with arpeggiated chords.
The riffs are as steady and heavy as they’ve always been, yet coherent, not being swallowed by distortion and loudness. This probably has something to do with the fact that they consistently write in Standard E and E-Flat tunings, avoiding the mushiness involved with down tuning. The band still remains grounded in their atmosphere, creating sorrowful moods and undulating song structures that keep things from getting mundane. The song “A Final Vestige” is a good example of this, going from soft atmospheric passages and clean vocals from Egan O’Rourke before switching to a heavy chorus and harsh vocals from Nathan Ellis. It’s also worth noting that while they didn’t start off the album with any e-bow, they do give us some well placed e-bow in some songs, without presenting it ad nauseum. Of the consistencies this album posesses, they do add some nice flare to freshen things up. For one, Egan has more clean vocal appearances than before, which is welcome for sure. The album also offers up much more soloing than the previous albums. The increase of soloing is a nice addition, but even sweeter is how they present it, which tends to be a bit more flashy and to an extent soaring; like the solo that comes in Hold On To Nothing. For the most part, this album is as good as it gets, and it’s nice to see that distance (Jesse moving to New York and Barre moving to Los Angeles) hasn’t really caused any problems.
Production wise, they sound much heavier. The guitars have a bit more crunch but are still clear and articulate. The bass has a nice presence and the drums slap harder than in their previous albums. Everything is mixed clearly and nothing gets too buried in the mix, thanks to Jens Bogren of Fascination Studios, who is responsible for producing, mixing and mastering for bands and artists like Katatonia, Opeth and Ihsahn.
The only fault is possibly one that couldn’t be helped exactly, and is more than likely a personal issue for me, but I felt as if the album was missing something without a dramatic close. It closes, but it doesn’t have that vibe that gave me chills like Dismantling Devotion. It doesn’t really hurt the album or make it un-listenable, but it feels odd not having it. Overall, A Frail Becoming is a solid piece of art and a definite must listen for 2012. New listeners will enjoy this album quite a bit and may find more to enjoy in their previous albums as a result. Established fans will definitely enjoy this new release as it really does nothing truly ‘wrong’ or poorly. For fans of Opeth, either era of Katatonia, old Anathema and My Dying Bride, this is definitely one to add to the album collection.
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