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Daylight Dies: Dismantling Devotion

My first question was "where the hell did these guys come from?" Well, from North Carolina of course! Yes, Daylight Dies are an American band playing a traditionally Swedish and Finnish style of music, that being progressive death/doom metal. Shades of Opeth, Katatonia, Amorphis, My Dying Bride, Moonspell, and Dark Tranquility, can be heard all over the wonderful Dismantling Devotion, the bands sophomore release. Dark and brooding, crushingly powerful, achingly beautiful, and calmingly progressive, are just some ways to describe the many tones and textures that Daylight Dies have put together here.

Each song on the album is in the 5-8 minute range, as the band allows themselves plenty of time (much like Opeth) to build and create drama within each piece, through the use of bruising electric guitar riffs and haunting harmonies, tortured death metal growls and melodic clean vocals, as well as lush melancholic acoustic passages. Tunes like "A Dream Resigned" and "A Life Less lived" are dark and dreary mixes of depressing doom with progressive death metal, while "Solitary Refinement" contains a plethora of slow and doomy guitar dirges, gorgeous melodic vocals, and multi-layered lead guitar passages. The overall effect is quite intoxicating. "Lies That Bind" is raging death metal with plenty of growling vocals of textured guitar chords and slashing rhythms, while the instrumental title track is a really progressive piece with heavy and atmospheric sections, thanks to some killer guitar work.

This is really solid stuff here from an American band who seem to have really hit the jackpot, creating dark and heavy songs that are surprisingly melodic. Fans of Opeth will no doubt eat this up and cry out for more.

Track Listing
1) A Life Less Lived (8:23)
2) Dead Air (5:23)
3) A Dream Resigned (7:28)
4) All We Had (6:54)
5) Solitary Refinement (5:23)
6) Strive to See (6:39)
7) Lies That Bind (5:53)
8) Dismantling Devotion (6:59)

Added: April 5th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Daylight Dies Website
Hits: 2856
Language: english

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Daylight Dies: Dismantling Devotion
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-05-14 08:16:04
My Score:

A genre primarily pioneered by the likes of Katatonia, Anathema, and Paradise Lost in the early 90s, slow yet melodic doom-death has been explored by a million bands in the following years, but very few of their releases have stood the test of time.

But Daylight Dies' Dismantling Devotion is an exception. I don't even recall the last time I was so blown away by an album in this style. The reason this album stands out from the pack is not because of its groundbreaking nature. Rather, this album, to me, is one of the genre's best because it embodies the European doom metal akin to early Katatonia, October Tide, Rapture, and brings in the melodic sensibilites of other bands like early Amorphis, Novembre, and even Opeth. It is hard to believe this band is from the USA -- they're perhaps the only American band, along with Agalloch, that capture the essence of their respective genres while still succeeding in preserving their own character.

This is the band's highwater mark. It improves on their more doom-laden sound heard on No Reply, with a noticeable increase in the songwriting department. Without doubt, the improvement has a lot to do with the addition of new vocalist Nathan Ellis. His growls are monstrous and pain-ridden throughout the whole album. Besides relaying the melancholic lyrics, his singing also functions as an added layer to the music, as his timing and enunciation are perfect. Fans of the genre will be floored of his singing on "Dead Air," where he lays down deep, guttural growls atop threads of melodic guitar harmonies and a rather central bass figure. The only other American singer that I can think of is Paul Kuhr of Novembers Doom, who is also great at portraying misery with his singing. Though the majority of the songs feature Ellis' death growls, bassist Egan O'Rourke provides some clean vocals, most notably in the intro of "Solitary Refinement" and the strong mood-setter, "A Life Less Lived." That said, his contribution is more so for contrast. You can check out the band's 2008 album, Lost to the Living, if you want to hear him do two full songs with clean vocals. Personally, I prefer Dismantling Devotion.

The guitar work is also fantastic. This is the album when guitarist Charlie Shackelford joined the band as a full-time member, and his presence lends the songs more depth. Generally, the songs are paced rather slowly but each one of them boasts certain passages where things pick up and offer unforgettable melodies at key points. The use of acoustic guitars is kept to a minimum -- they're mostly utilized in the intros briefly before mammoth guitars soar above them with churning riffage. The best song to enjoy the guitars is the instrumental title track, which also closes the album on a dirge-like note. There's not riff of nimiety on this one -- I wish there were more bands that professed the "less is more" principle.

The songs are extremely well produced thanks to Jens Bogren. I can see if some doom metal fans may find the mix a bit too clean, but then again Dismantling Devotion is not the sort of album that claims to be the epitome of doom metal, hence the reason why fans of Amorphis and Novembre as well as the more obscure yet equally amazing When Day Descends might want to look into this disc.

If you're looking for a great example of the early European doom metal movement with strong emphasis on melodic progressions, killer vocals, and momentous guitar work, you need this album.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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