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Mikael Akerfeldt meets Katatonia - 82%

Blazfemur, January 29th, 2013

I first got into Daylight Dies when I had the pleasure of seeing Emperor some odd years ago when they toured the US and Samoth hadn't joined them due to the church burning spree of the '90s.

Daylight Dies opened for them. Aside from their music, they were a quiet, taken back band that didn't say much or even try to build up the crowd too much (in fact, there was a moment Nathan Ellis [vox] had said, "don't worry, just a few more songs and then Emperor has quite the show for you"). Truth be told, I had never heard anything like DD ever before that set including the melodies and acoustics layered with chugging and Mikael vocals. It was a dream, and I had found my gateway into doom metal.

DD doesn't need a gimmick, corpse paint, leather vests or stage theatrics. Their primary focus is their lead guitar, in my opinion, with Nathan shining throughout. On this album in particular the guitarist really takes the front. This isn't funeral doom metal either, so those of you that can't take the drone-like slowness, this is a great band to introduce you to a faster-paced melancholic doom experience.

While just as (if not more) memorable as their previous album (Dismantling Devotion), this album takes solemnity to new heights. The opening track, "Cathedral", introduces the album with an acoustic riff layered with a shredded lead, and henceforth sets the stage for the rest of the experience. Between metaphorical lyrics and symbolism, Mr. Ellis accompanies his band mates perfectly, vocally painting a landscape of a desolate, but once majestic monument left in ruin.

My favorite track(s) on this album is the epic song two-parter "A Subtle Violence", which leads then into its outro, "...And a Slow Surrender". By themselves, they stand out as the guitars express just as much pain as the lyrics that accompany them.

I know I've went on and on about the guitars and the vocals/lyrics and that's why this review is an 82%. While not overly complex, the drums can be replaced by anyone (he's definitely not a Nick Barker, Inferno, or Hellhammer) and the bass could also be more pronounced as the guitars do take center stage.

In the end, for what they stand for, Daylight Dies doesn't need an overly complex drummer or a bass that you'd find on any Deicide album. They get the job done and they do it well, if not depressingly so.

Top standout tracks: A Subtle Violence/...And A Slow Surrender, At A Loss.

Definitely give this album a listen and pick up their other albums as well.

Thankfully, I am lost. - 89%

All_In_Vain, January 29th, 2012

There's no waiting around for anything to grow on here. No need to mourn a riff or a melody not fulfilling its potential.

From the very first seconds of aptly-titled "Cathedral", a regal, majestic lick leads to riff-work akin to a breathtaking stained glass window, a prayer frozen on its way to metal heaven and the listener's heart. Daylight Dies have indeed perfected their craft, a shimmering, beautifully constructed dialogue between massively crunchy rhythm guitar and soaring, harmonic lead punctuations and solos that are so precise the whole thing seems weightless - not as in "not heavy", mind, but in the sense of the purifying letting go of life itself, a final, powerful sacrifice. A beautifully tragic holy ghost - that of a virgin suicide. Daylight Dies' fourth album serves as a bid for a seat in the pantheon of the giants of melodic, gothic death doom metal. But this is more than a nod or a tribute to the titans, because Daylight Dies weave disparate influences from different eras to a whole that sounds instantly classic and fresh all at the same time. Imagine the sound of contemporary Katatonia, the might of mid-era Paradise Lost and the vocal delivery of early Opeth - the sublimely soaring spiked with muscular primitivism. The package is consistent throughout. "Lost to the living" feels like a singular entity, flowing like some alchemical, mercurial sermon. The songtitles - "A portrait in white”, “And a slow surrender” - are as descriptive of the sound as they are of the content. The newish frontier of clean vocals presented on “Waked up lost” and “Lost alone” are more than welcome and can easily be imagined working as gloriously within the context of the heavier compositions.

Let us pray.

Straight up Doom - 77%

Zephirus, August 12th, 2011

Daylight Dies are one of those bands that get by on the quality of their songs. There is no other gimmick to hide behind, nothing quirky (even their logo and album covers are pretty boring) they are just straight up doom metal. So they would easily go unnoticed maybe. They did with me anyway, I only discovered them this year through a friend who recommended the ‘No Reply’ album, an older epic of heavy doom.

If you are a fan of older Opeth/Katatonia or the last October tide you’ll be in familiar territory here. The vocals by Nathan Ellis are verging on death metal, with a powerful delivery very much in the foreground. The songs are lengthy enough but never drag on. The twin guitars compliment each other with their melodies and they make great use of sombre picked arpeggios in most songs and nice lead breaks at other times.

Most songs are fairly midpaced, this is not slowwww doom, and you have double bass drums from time to time as with song ‘A subtle Violence’. Following on seamlessly from the aforementioned song is ‘and a slow surrender’ a beautiful instrumental with some lovely strings. ‘Woke up lost’ will stand out as they try a different approach with clean sung vocals which aren’t too bad at all (I can’t help but think of Opeth when I hear them) He doesn’t have too much to say here as the lyrics are pretty sparse, part of which are (where two walls meet and two eyes rest / I am moving with no meaning). They are a doom metal band and the lyrics reflect this with themes of hopelessness and loneliness. He returns to clean vocals for ‘Last Alone’.

Being new to the band I’m not in a position to say where this sits in their career so far but on its own merits it’s a solid album. It’s not perfect, maybe lacking in some diversity as one song sometimes sounds the same as another. The artwork on this one is pretty simple but striking, the silhouette of a child? in mourning it seems. The booklet and tray continue the theme with other shadowy figures languishing in some unknown gloom, almost invisible unless you tilt the booklet to get the right light to see them. An honest doom outing then, I think most fans of the genre will find something to like.

Aug 2011

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.

Lost to the Lovely - 80%

Daru_Jericho, October 13th, 2008

Daylight Dies are a gem in the American modern metal highway. Their metal is ground covered by very few, a European-sounding synthesis of melodic death and doom metal, with shoegaze and gothic inflects. ‘Lost To The Living’ is the band’s third full-length observation and as a melancholy release, it holds muscular.

The music is encased in romance and drowned in melancholy, and whilst this is a suited description for many gothic/doom metal bands, Daylight Dies does it in a non-clichéd and non-melodramatic fashion. ‘A Portrait In White’ is reminiscent of Katatonia only heavier with some passages even being infected with a slight death metal tinge. ‘Wake Up Lost’ features a plausible contrast between acoustic and electric guitar, which is an apt depiction of Daylight Dies’ music overall: a matrimony between the melodic and the harsh.

‘Wake Up Lost’ also contains clean-sung vocals, passionate and emotive to the ear. Clean vocals are present again on ‘Last Alone’ but for the most part, vocalist Nathan Ellis growls in a raspy manner. The dual guitar attack is paramount in this band as they represent the clean and the rough most poignantly.

The only limitation on this album is a lack of real variation between the songs. The diversity in musical influence is vast but all the influence has been welded into every song. Perhaps it would have been a more fruitful venture to use them more exclusively. Still, ‘Lost To The Living’ is a strong release in a sea of mediocre melodic death and doom metal contemporary releases being churned out that fans of either new or old Katatonia and Draconian will probably fall in love with.

Originally written for:

Just plain better - 90%

KgT, July 12th, 2008

Daylight Dies seems to have a pretty simple philosophy -- be pretty as shit. Their latest, Lost to the Living, is like moonlight through liquid crystal -- fluid, pristine, and melancholy. With its acoustic textures, cascades of legato, unexpected harmonic turns, and full-bodied vocals, it is an unrelentingly beautiful assault that exhudes smoldering, confident dejection right from the opening "Cathedral".

To continue the analogy, though, Daylight Dies is the moonlight -- a constant unchanging affect (violent sorrow, of course) -- filtered through that crystalline stream to produce only permutations in its form and texture. This consistency is as much of a virtue as it is a shortcoming, because the band is so consistently strong that it's a reasonable creative decision, if a little short-sighted. By comparison, My Dying Bride treads in the exact opposite direction, risking more than a few fizzles for that moment of brilliance; but either way you go, when the last track is though, you're in the same place.

Really, Lost to the Living is more of the same. It's Dismantled Devotion (Candlelight Records 2006), but better. Daylight Dies may prove themselves to be a pretty conservative band, but that's okay when they're already this goddamned good.

A Spot On Execution, But Lacking Emotional Depth - 60%

Shirt_Guy, June 26th, 2008

Your entering into a world of the romantic, melancholic, melodic death/doom inspired by old Paradise Lost, Anathema and My Dying Bride, and also bringing in a few elements that would appeal to some of those Opeth fans.

Now I don’t know what it is about Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth, but his growl just has a certain powerful and pleasing tone, and people probably shouldn’t be surprised that other vocalists want that same tone. It’s happened several times, but now when I make the comparison to Mikael Åkerfeldt, and I’m starting to wonder if bands are now intentionally trying to sound like him. At this point in time, I wouldn’t say it’s a bad trait, although before I did make such comparisons on a completely positive note, but now it’s getting to the point where I’m hoping many vocalists will try and truly find their own voice.

The music itself was actually quite easily described above if your at familiar with those doom/death band, as the prime suspects are all worn as influences here. Some slightly lighter, more progressive moments show up later in the album with songs that have almost completely clean singing.

With this particular form of doom, the purpose isn’t to crush the listener into submission, but to create an atmosphere of romantic depression, the sort of album death metal dudes throw on when they’re bummed about their girlfriend, but when lyrics about zombies and serial killers simply won’t do. Unfortunately, by the time you get to the end, you realize that the execution was picture perfect, which therein lies the problem. Paradise Lost, Anathema and My Dying Bride had to forge new ground to feature their depression while Daylight Dies merely recycles it, greatly diminishing the emotional impact. Lets also face it, there’s a lot of music out there about relationships in general, and other bands have found other subject matter to live in misery with. If I knew someone who was willing to give such doom/death a chance for the first time, I’d likely tell them to go right for the older albums from Paradise Lost, Anathema or My Dying Bride before taking a stab at “Lost to the Living”.

Originally posted at