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Doom + Shred = Win - 80%

chaxster, December 14th, 2008

I've really got to start paying attention to lyrics a little bit more. For the first few spins of this album, I was happy to assume that the title of the opening song Cathedral was picked because it's a big, gloomy, ancient, painstakingly handcrafted building, which fits well with the band's melodic death-doom approach. The mournful guitar lines over somber-sounding acoustic picked chords totally brought images of light streaming in through stained glass onto empty pews. Only after that did I notice that the lyrics were a sharp condemnation of Christianity, painting it as a relic with an ugly past. Music that evokes the architecture and lyrics that bring out its history? Good double whammy, I say.

Of course, it's always harder to make out what the vocalist is saying when he's employing growls, but to be fair, Nathan Ellis manages to make himself pretty articulate. His general style's a blanket roar that's pretty powerful and not too much the worse for a lack of variety in delivery.

Moving on, once we get to the second song, A Portrait in White, we see something that distinguishes them from contemporaries like Swallow the Sun - some pretty scorching guitar solos. It's my opinion that there aren't too many kinds of music that suffer from the inclusion of some good shredding, and this definitely isn't one of them.

Truth be told, Daylight Dies have shed some traditional elements of doom like the plodding pace and the thudding deliveries - all that's left to link them to the genre is that air of well-orchestrated melancholy. Take away the extreme vocals, and it actually makes for quite accessible music. Case in point - And a Slow Surrender is an instrumental number that should go down well with anybody who's into metal in general. Towards the end of the album, Last Alone is a beautiful serene piece with some pretty good clean vocals being employed. It's a dead ringer for an Anathema/Katatonia song (a good one, I might add).

End of the day, this sees the band showing significant improvement from Dismantling Devotion, which wasn't bad in the first place. While I've still got love for the more extreme doom corps, skillful mainstream adaptations like this are always welcome in my collection.

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