Daylight Dies: A Frail Becoming

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Daylight Dies: A Frail Becoming
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Daylight Dies: A Frail Becoming
Death Metal, Melodic Doom Metal
Candlelight Records
October 9th, 2012
Release length: 48:47
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Daylight Dies returns to the studio with their fourth full-length album, A Frail Becoming. The Death/Melodic Doom Metal group formed back in 1996, and since then have been storming through the underground with great success, never quite receiving the mass praise that they rightly deserve despite the critic approval from both the media, as well as their fans. With their previous outing, Lost to the Living, not quite being as well received as their previous offerings, is it safe to assume that this new recording may find the same fate, or is A Frail Becoming one of their most powerful releases to date?

Daylight Dies sticks to the common heavy output of the Doom Metal style well with this release. The album has a crisp, and often liquid-like sound that is largely thanks to the guitars. The distortion is a bit on the cleaner side, catering more to the melodic aspect, but still carrying a heavy presence. This is enhanced by the loud and dominant bass guitar that thunders through the mix. This can be a bit of a problem when the notes are played really fast, making the output sound somewhat choppy and killing the fluid nature of the slower music. The snares of the drum kit are sharp with a tight snap, and the bass kicks carry a strong click that stand out well, but are a little dull. The cymbals sound good too, also as crisp as the guitars and snares, pushed into the background slightly, something that is really not necessary in the long run. Thankfully it doesn’t hurt the final product, but it does leave you wanting a little more from that aspect than what is given. Of course, the vocals are the loudest with a thick, obviously layered guttural approach that is as enthusiastic as the rest of the instruments, and sometimes carries a harsher rhasp in the background at key times to put a little more emphasis on certain moments for the sake of intensity.

There are plenty of fantastic, memorable songs here that will immediately grab the listener and refuse to let go, though that’s not exactly how the band kicks things off. “Infidel” isn’t one of the most amazing songs this release has to offer, in fact it comes off as one of the most traditional, but it still packs enough of a bite to get the point across. The varied shifting between mid-tempo and trudging paces blended with emotional lead guitar work, especially in the latter of the two speeds as the song draws to a close works in the songs favor quite well. It really makes this a moving piece towards the end, and the additional energy in the vocals greatly affects how hard of an impact it all makes. Sadly, this one doesn’t quite compare to the later tracks on the release, such as “Sunset,” a very powerful and emotional ride thanks to the slower and melancholic leads against the slower music. Clean singing is introduced, catering to gutturals only in the very few crushing passages that exist, as if bringing a hint of Rock to the mix, a suggestion pushed further thanks to the Progressive sounding guitar solo. For just over six minutes, the music never lets up, nor are you offered any filler material that will leave you waiting for things to pick back up.

Surprisingly, this doesn’t quite live up to the isolation that “Water’s Edge” has. For a short instrumental, the additional keyboards in the background against the clean guitar notes really just makes you feel as though you were standing at the edge of a post-apocalypse wasteland, segwaying into “An Heir to Emptiness” nicely. It’s a shame it doesn’t feed on that established atmosphere, but it becomes it’s own depressive beast in the end. While the impact is more on par with “Infidel,” the slower pace allows the music to wash over you, building up the closer you get to the climax, though it does start to be drug along in the last minute.

“Dreaming of Breathing” is another song that stands out amid the many fantastic tracks, and also one of the most aggressive and sobering of the album. Around the half way point, the music slows down to a chilling, desolate pace that eventually does shift back into a powerful performance that brings an equally cold, but highly enjoyable and impressive guitar solo to the forefront before picking up the speed similar to “Infidel.” This change works in the long run to make the existing aggression stronger, but not quite reaching the addicting levels as the start had with the more breakdown-oriented riffs that hit the listener hard. “Ghost” is meant to be more of a depressive emotional offering, starting with a somber, yet somewhat mainstream sounding acoustic piece with clean singing that is simply well done. It isn’t long until the song picks up with a solo and additional leads meant to tug on the heart strings while the music behind them treads back into that breakdown-esque approach that “Dreaming of Breathing” was working with. The rest of the music ends up largely instrumental, which is fine as the heavier sound and impressive guitar work allows you to easily sit back and get lost within the short remaining minutes of its lifespan.

A Frail Becoming is the depressive soundtrack to all the fear and misery within your pathetic soul, period. The album’s mixture of isolation and despair through aggressive yet melodic Rock and Metal performances best suit your lowest of moods, and knocking you down a few pegs while at your highest. With “Infidel” and “An Heir to Emptiness” really being the only songs that won’t impress you too much, though still solid offerings either way, there’s no denying that this one tops their previously frowned upon effort. A Frail Becoming from Daylight Dies is simply a must own effort that any fan of gloomy, hard-hitting Death or Doom Metal simply has to have in their collection, as hearing it once simply will not do, leaving you wanting another round of music-driven emotional abuse that will drive you crazy until that next dismal fix.

01. Infidel – 5:20
02. The Pale Approach – 5:19
03. Sunset – 6:04
04. Dreaming of Breathing – 5:06
05. A Final Vestige – 5:43
06. Ghosting – 4:50
07. Hold on to Nothing – 6:09
08. Water’s Edge – 1:33
09. An Heir to Emptiness – 8:43
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Daylight Dies (band)
Daylight Dies
Digital review copy of this release provided by Candlelight Records.