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It's interesting to see the bevy of bands that have taken up Katatonia's banner long after they've thrown it away. This band is easily in the various generations of said neophytes along with Rapture; however, unlike Rapture who took to almost cloning their idols, Daylight Dies takes the blueprint and makes it their own.
There are lots of moderately fast to moderately slow riffs with the band taking a few melodic death cues here and there (similar to October Tide) and topping them with a very prominent lead guitar. Downtrodden yet energetic the music is always moving and while the riffs aren't crushingly heavy as their peers they get the point across. The lead is flattered by the rhythm as both go from clean to distorted at any given time, rarely playing the same thing in tandem. Lots of subtle poly-rhythmic nuances are littered throughout the album. The drums have a strange urgency to them. The bass is more laid back and doesn't follow the guitars too much. The vocals are a bit off putting in a few ways, specifically they sound like they'd be better in a melodeath band than a doom/death band. The lyrics fit the music only too well as story's of loss and betrayal help to accentuate the modern misery of this music.
Despite the Katatonia reference this music is very inspired and original. The guitar work is outstanding and quite tasteful as both guitars are basically doing different things constantly in every song; taking the lead/rhythm paradigm to a new level. The leads and solos are both beautiful and sad but never repetitious or masturbatory. The bass and drums both play their parts well and with more purpose then their influences would have you believe.
The production is raw but it works with the music. This album isn't a landmark by any means but it was the first stone in the foundation of how the band sounds, perhaps more ambitious than what's come since or perhaps more naive; it's great either way.
Daylight Dies's somber debut album No Reply seems to have garnered praise from critics and fans, yet evidence of accolades is slim to none from metal board chatters and metalhead friends of mine. That shocks me because this North Carolinian outfit have truly churned out a bestial maelstrom of death aggression coupled with subtly affecting melodicism that drills into your gray matter and constructs empathy or sympathy for the band's lyrical cause.
Guthrie Iddings laments and cries out for mercy in the duration of these nine doomy dirges and his band follow along with the efficiency of a car factory, the guitar whining at perfectly-timed rhythms along with the merauding bass and drum lines. The band is especially adept at key and time changes, making frequent alterations between perky guitar crunches, bold acoustic interludes, and DRAMATIC breakdowns. With all the gears stuck in their right places, this is a well-oiled machine. I might also add that Iddings has one of the most memorable, deepest growls I've ever heard from the genre.There's something about it that sears into my consciousness and brands it indefinitely. As far as the music is concerned--it's not prodigious, but it serves as a great vehicle for the band's message and it's catchy without being mallcore. Also, it's part of the new-school of metallic thought where integration of different styles is the modus operandi of the day. The band have a firm, but purposefully reluctant grasp on this.
What they have essentially done on this record is implement the droning aura of doom metal, the technical swashbucklery of melodic death, and the pummeling spirit of American heavy metal to create a listening manifesto that will please open-minded metalheads, but disappoint purists of any of the aforementioned genres. Unfortunately, their ideals of appealing to a broader cross-section of metal listeners by diversifying their sound will have spotty results because there are legions of hornraisers out there who are committed to one style so much that they are overly critical of experimenters. There's really not enough aggression for the death warriors, not enough melody for the introverted, 'man-lust' melodic types, and not enough doom for the sullen, 'gawthic' doom fans.
For the open-minded, however, this is a treat that engages and unlocks your fears, hopes, desires, hurts, motives, etc. Although it deals primarily with negative emotions, it inspires because of the differentiation of melody and aggression and the frank lyrical content. It seems to serve as an outlet for people who are depressed, but also offers glimmers of hope and reassurance... a collection of venting journal entries as opposed to obnoxious anthems of violence.