Daylight Dies – A Frail Becoming (Candlelight Records)

Tuesday, 26th March 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

A confession is in order: Daylight Dies was my personal gateway into the world of ‘legit’ metal, being introduced to them by way of a Tribunal Records sampler CD in mid-2002 at the ripe age of 15. Sitting toward the back half of the disc was a radio edit of “Unending Waves,” taken from the band’s initial EP Idle, and was appropriately raw. It was immediate love however, and remains so to this day, setting me on a path of love with a genre that commands it more as time passes. Ten years and three full lengths after that EP the band is now releasing upon the world A Frail Becoming and while in no way departing from the sound they’ve long since established, executing what they do so well that it hardly matters, producing some of their best work to date.

All the usual mainstays are here: melancholy atmosphere, plodding but no glacial tempos, and major movements highlighted or accented by the often gorgeous guitar work of lead man Barre Gambling. The detah metal aspect of the band’s sound is here in force on opener “Infidel” and “Dreaming of Breathing,” the former in particular reveling in the punishing aspect of the band’s sound. The melodious moments have long been the band’s strong-suit and that that remains so here. Sprinkled throughout are tiny pockets of bassist Egan O’Rourke’s tasteful clean singing, the centerpiece on the album crown jewel “A Final Vestige,” featuring a set of soul shredding guitar solos in the back half of the song. The band’s production qualities have only gotten better with each release and that continues with this one, all aspects heavy and ringing, clarity in the utmost throughout.

Daylight Dies has steadily refined their sound over the years, a kind of side step evolution that’s taken time to manifest. This didn’t fare well for the band; initially the nascent No Reply era being compared on this very site very unfavorably with contemporary era Rapture releases (something I will never forgive!), though now it serves their ends better than anyone could have imagined, the band having become something of a cornerstone in the modern death/doom style. Despite that the band has aged well, some of A Frail Becoming wouldn’t be amiss on older releases, “The Pale Approach” in particular could have been lifted from 2008’s Dismantling Devotion. That’s alright however, for the sharpness and force in the execution of what the band does is tremendous, I couldn’t have asked for a better release to kick off the autumn season with.

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