Though the MDB and KATATONIA comparisons work to clue in diehard fans of the doom genre's more majestic end, a NOVEMBERS DOOM vibe is present as well, at least as far as the guitar-based approach and general heaviness are concerned. The ethereality is present, but tends to be woven into the riff-thickened mix. Mammoth riff crush and weeping melodic leads tend to be the focal point, while the moments of light picking make one think of snowflakes falling slowly to the ground.
Opening the album with an eight-minute track, "A Life Less Lived", is not surprising when one realizes that the remaining cuts fall roughly into the five-to-seven-minute range. The songs are not meant to be eaten as snacks; each is a full-course meal. Though the harsh and anguished growls are the dominant vocal style here, the occasional switches to an airy OPETH-esque clean vocal — done particularly well on the brooding crawl of "Solitary Refinement" — work magnificently to grab the listener's attention and give one pause for reflection on the beauty within. While tempos never exactly race, the moments when the pace picks up and a kick drum powered rhythm grabs you by the throat or an extra weighty riff takes over (i.e. "Dead Air" and "A Dream Resigned") make the impact sufficiently forceful to disrupt any thoughts of the hypnotic variety. Little things like the percussive sections of "All We Had" make a big difference as well. Somehow closing with an instrumental (the title track) is wholly appropriate, a grand end to an icy cold album. It isn't for everyone, is it? That's part of what makes it special. 8.5 out of 10.
"Dismantling Devotion" kicks off with the epic "A Life Less Lived", initially exploring some quiet acoustic guitar and feedback laden textures before exploding into the kind of slow, dark melodicism that one comes to expect from this band. It becomes instantly clear that the band have not taken the easy exit here, pushing the envelope and driving their song structures and related factors further than that witnessed on "No Reply". "Dead Air" begins in a similar fashion with dark lead work and a subtle acoustic arpeggio, before exploding into a mass of complex dark riff and lead interplay which eschews all light in favour of the kind of tormented melodicism the band thrives on. Newcomer Nathan Ellis picks up right from where Guthrie left off, a brutal Opeth-esque growl his tool of the trade. His wild and vicious style offsetting the generally more melodic stylings of the band perfectly. Therein lies a clue to the true Daylight Dies aesthetic, at times extremity is in evidence but always with a sense of taste and a keen ear for the musical as opposed to ever being extreme for the sake of it.
"A Dream Resigned" kicks off with one of the more desperate sounding passages on the cd, the lead work really seeming to plead with the listener for a forlorn hope. Jesse Haff's drum work is as ever immensely solid and far more emotional sounding than the majority of extreme metal drummers manage to be. Similarly to Martin Lopez, one gets the impression that Haff exists for the song, always complementing the music and never getting in the way with pointless displays of overt musicianship. Not to say that he isn't a hugely talented drummer, but he possesses the taste and decency to let the songs speak for themselves and ride with them as opposed to riding over them. "Solitary Refinement" kicks off with a tortuous crawl, deeply reminiscent of latter day My Dying Bride in it's solemn majesty and graceful melancholy. Then something you really don't expect happens. Slight gleams of hope shine through the song somehow, giving glimpses of positivity that are ultimately dismantled by the continuing themes of sadness and despair. Moving on to the previously released (in demo format) "Lies that Bind", we get a more traditional Daylight Dies song with the unique thrashy rhythms that you'd expect coupling nicely with the Barre's talent for composing moving interplay between the rhythm and lead guitar parts. This song stands alone as a direct link to the "No Reply" album, but also fits perfectly into this new collection of songs, providing a continuity between two albums released quite a long time apart.
Once again Daylight Dies have delivered a wonderful collection of some of the darkest music you could ever want. The desperate themes of rejection, alienation and the like are present and correct and yet then band have clearly moved on and evolved from their previous release. "Dismantling Devotion" is a startlingly mature and refined album, at odds with an often petulant extreme metal scene, giving the listener a cerebral and intelligent journey into the emotional darkness from which their is likely to be no reprieve. I have no doubt that in time this album will come to be regarded as a true classic of the doom/death genre if not extreme music as a whole. Similarly to Opeth's "Morningrise" or My Dying Bride's "Turn Loose the Swans", the album serves as a defining stamp of what the band is truly about at this time, both truly progressive and yet fitting comfortably into the niche where it belongs. 9.5 out of 10.
Now, it's possible that these guys will always draw comparisons to earlier Katatonia, mid-period Paradise Lost, and that whole branch of melodic midpaced metal that utilizes loads of lead harmonies over a backbone of doomy power chords that tends to thrive on brooding atmospheres and emotionally wrenching tonalities. But in my book that's damn fine company to be in, and while I would absolutely not limit Daylight Dies to such confines, I do agree that such associations exist, and fans of such artists should look into this band immediately with zero hesitation. Lineup changes have certainly fared well for the band as this record boasts one of the most powerful vocal performances I've encountered from such an act in quite some time, in terms of both the sparse appearances of singing and the dominant presence of snarled growls. Let's be honest, oftentimes aggressively growled vocals simply don't possess a great deal of actual feeling, but the vocals on this record absolutely communicate the type of pain and anxiety that the lyrics and music are building here. I'm impressed. And musically speaking this is a more focused effort that delivers eight tracks in nearly an hour without feeling particularly overbearing, and it's also consistent without lacking color – for instance there are some gorgeous appearances of acoustic guitars, and a number of more intricately layered riffs that deal with added levels of tactful dissonance or droning swells that add impact to the already forcefully rhythmic spine of the album. Hell, even the instrumental title track that closes the disc is absolutely awesome, and perhaps one of the finest moments herein.
Great artwork and photography, spectacular production (truly fucking flawless, I'm stunned)... this one's all set. Seriously, I'm perhaps irresponsibly glossing over the recording aspects of the disc, but there's nothing to bother mentioning because it sounds pristinely perfect to my ears. I can only imagine if "Brave Murder Day" or "Shades of God" were lucky enough to sound this massive and clear!
I'd like to post another song as there are a number of high points, but they're so long that I'll stick with what the band and label are putting out there. This one doesn't seem to have hit the distros yet, but I ordered mine straight from the band and had it within three or four days, so I encourage you to do the same if you enjoy the material.
Well fucking done, gentlemen.
Review: Right…I probably lost everyone younger than 30 with the above Voltron reference, so here’s a quick breakdown - take equal parts mid era Paradise Lost & Katatonia, add a smidgeon of Anathema & October Tide, and season lightly with The Cure - you’ve got yourself a yummy soufflé of North Carolina’s Daylight Dies.
There’s been a hell of a lot of hype surrounding the pending release of Dismantling Devotion, and based on the general metal public’s high expectations, this is actually quite understandable. Daylight Dies is the band a lot of people hoped Paradise Lost would have become if the ‘commercial bug’ hadn’t bitten them. They also received a lot of positive press following their first album, No Reply. Couple all this with the fact it took 4 years to create this, their sophomore effort, and you’ve got veritable metal-hen-house full of squawking metalheads eager for it’s release.
Metal chickens aside, Dismantling Devotion left me duly impressed. I remember being pleased with the band’s first effort, but ultimately felt it lacked what was needed to hold my interest long term. I think the boys pretty much solved what was missing with this release. Dismantling Devotion is chock full of weepy guitar melodies, forlorn Death Metal caterwauling, and general feelings of gray depression. It’s more focused, complex, and holds deeper textures than No Reply, yet remains unmistakably Daylight Dies. In short, Dismantling Devotion is a melancholic, Death/Goth Metal album with a solid set of balls. It’s not devastatingly heavy (apart from the opening riff to track 7, “Lies That Bind”), but what it lacks in ferocity, it more than makes up for in its genuine despondency. There are also no flitting keyboards, orchestrations, or female vocals present, which definitely helps set Daylight Dies apart from many of their peers.
Also of note is the amazing production and overall sound on Dismantling Devotion. Throughout its entirety, each instrument is as clear as a bell, allowing the listener to hear what I believe is the shining spot of Daylight Dies – the excellent bass playing of Egan O’Rourke. His fantastic bass-work (along with the solid rhythm of drummer extraordinaire, Jesse Haff) ties all the songs on Dismantling Devotion together beautifully. Check out his superb noodling in the heart of the second and third tracks as sound proof of this man’s expertise. The rest of the band is obviously quite adept at their craft as well. As I mentioned earlier, this album is loaded with finely crafted, weepy guitar leads and medleys. Track one, “A Life Less Lived”, and track three, “A Dream Resigned”, are excellent examples. It’s songs like these that can throw a most welcomed, wonderfully gloomy shroud on my mostly sunny California days. Song five, “Solitary Refinement”, is the closest thing to a ballad on the album. It has a beautiful, slow, sad opening, and features some ‘floaty’, light guitar work and ethereal, clean vocals in its midst which definitely brings Blackwater Park-era Opeth to mind. Interestingly enough, the album closes with an instrumental title track…something relatively unconventional, but definitely effective, as this track actually stands out as my favorite.
Not much to point to as far as drawbacks on Dismantling Devotion. At times there’s a tiny feeling of repetitiveness in a couple tracks, but I’d be willing to bet this will fade as the album sinks in further in the coming year. Overall, I’d say if you’re a fan of Death/Goth Metal, this is a no brainer. Put a check in the win column for Daylight Dies, I have a feeling they’ll be hitting it big this year. This is a solid slab of agony. 5/5/6 out of 6/6/6.
I focus on the above mentioned Finnish greats because quite simply Daylight Dies sounds like a Finnish crafted masterpiece of elegant yet depressive eloquence. The mixture of lush, aching melodies, draining layers somber emotion and measured aggression is a perfect mix of all the Finnish masters of mope. Throw in the light/dark hues and vocal textures of Opeth (especially the clean vocals of bassist Egan O'Rourke) at their Still Life peak, and Dismantling Devotion ends up as a much needed beacon of quality American metal that isn’t stoner, thrash or death metal.
As with most masterpieces, Dismantling Devotion must be appreciated as a whole entity, not a track by track jaunt searching for highlights (of which there are plenty). The almost full hour of music needs to be assimilated as a hour long trip into somberly crafted brilliance and dispirited bliss. From the soft Opethian opening tones of “A Life Less Lived”, through the weaving structures of “Dead Air”, the layered dramatics and stout Rapture-esque trot of “A Dream Redesigned”, the utterly draining Draconian like melodies that open “Solitary Refinement”, to the surprising mix of heft and acoustic clarity of “Lies That Bind”, to the titular closing instrumental Dismantling Devotion just enthralls and captivates with its blending of moods and perfectly paced song writing. Like shafts of light piercing the darkest clouds, Daylight Dies manage to keep you on the edge of a depresive abyss, but lace it with a despondent beauty that mesmerizes as the razor glides across your wrist.
Even my general disdain for instrumental title tracks, lack of real ‘killer’, album defining track (though “Solitary Refinement” comes close for me) and a slightly canned if effective production doesn’t hinder my high regard for what seems to be a landmark American album.
Much of the music on “Dismantling Devotion” resounds as a hybrid of Opeth and Paradise Lost, with the band’s propensity for creating dark atmospheres with a death metal bent signifying the Opeth reference and their disposition toward articulate yet weighty riffing bearing the traits of the playing and songwriting of the latter. Likely, some death metal purists may find this analogy to be a stretch, but listening to the melodic overtones and sharp, jagged chugging that makes its way into ‘A Life Less Lived’ and ‘A Dream Resigned’ make for a suitable comparison.
There can be no doubt that a certain Gothenburg inspiration creeps into the group’s songwriting and the dismal dirge that follows the determinedly rock intro of ‘Dead Air’ can be said to be reminiscent of the band’s doomier Relapse Records material, only on a much more grandiose scale. Vocalist Nathan Ellis sings with a low-toned, raspy growl much of the time but on cuts such as ‘Solitary Refinement’, the singer takes a more traditional singing style that suits the piece well and brings a nice ebb and flow to the album.
The ornate, reverberating tones of ‘Strive To See’ prove the songwriting maturity of this decade-old group. In terms of instrumentation, sounds are overlaid to create a lush, massive sonic landscape. Without overplaying, the musicians deliver an elaborate web of soaring sounds and deeply moving rhythms that are as emotionally impacting as they are obscure and absorbing.
Whether a fan of Peaceville Records style doom of a follower of Dark Tranquillity, you’ll likely find much to enjoy about this record. A marvelous amount of depth is displayed over the course of the complete record, taking listeners on a darkly progressive journey of sonic discontent and despair that connects one with the utter desperation of the soul of man. 4 out of 5. stereokiller.com // c brickhouse
Holy crap. Just when I thought the day couldn't get any better, I opened my mailbox and found this. I have loved this band from the first time I heard them becazuse they play the type of music that I can't resist. Gloomy, melodic doom/death metal that will steal your soul and leave you with an empty husk.
These guys picked up where Katatonia left off years ago except made the genre even better, if that was possible. The clean vocals fit in perfectly, and they have infused a few heavier parts and a few solos/interludes to improve on their already flawless sound.
Some music leaves you with a full feeling. All Daylight Does is overfill you with so much depression that you won't have time to be sad about the petty crap you worry about every day. This is why I listen to depressing music... it is a true emotion instead of something all fluff and no content.
My favorite track is "All We Had". It starts out quietly them pummels you with a slow riff to lead into the meat of the song. The totured cries of the vocalist couldn't match the intensity of the music more perfectly.
Anyways, this is a freaking masterpiece. If you like Opeth or anything like it at all, this is for you. I think this might even perhaps eclipse Opeth's more recent shit.
The album has a similar like style to Opeth, Paradise Lost, Dark Tranquillity, and Katatonia and some elements of Amorphis. The vocals are dark and has a seething feel that goes well with the guitar work similar to stuff (Paradise Lost) would put out very emotional and doom like death. The riffs will stick with you and are pretty catchy in parts. Drums are slow passed but deliver good effects and drive for what the band is trying to go for. I could best describe where this albums sound is similar like it’s if you took the early days of katatonia and gave them a new breath of fresh air and polish it up a bit. Some of favorites on this are “A Dream Resigned” “Dead Air” “Lies that Bind” really not one track is shit all flow well and make this album a complete one. This is a masterpiece for any fan of doom/death albums you won’t be disappointed well worth a listen. I would have choose a better cover art for this but oh well it’s their band. This is truly an album that makes you have Goosebumps and trickles down to your spine when listening at max volume.9 out of 10.
Each song is a mini-epic that's at least five minutes long. They play melodic death metal that's flavored with doom. You'll even hear some progressive touches and even a bit of goth mixed in. The tempo of the songs is usually slow to medium, and the atmosphere and mood are dark.
Daylight Dies' songwriting style combines bursts of intense vocals with long instrumental sections. That allows for plenty of solos and tempo changes. There are also melodic vocals on a couple songs.
I really like this album. It showcases both the musicianship and the songwriting skills of the band. The vocals are solid and the music very diverse with a lot of different influences. 4 out of 5.