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Daylight Dies - "A Frail Becoming" (CD)

Daylight Dies - "A Frail Becoming" CD cover image

"A Frail Becoming" track listing:

1. Infidel (5:20)
2. The Pale Approach (5:19)
3. Sunset (6:04)
4. Dreaming of Breathing (5:06)
5. A Final Vestige (5:43)
6. Ghosting (4:49)
7. Hold On To Nothing (6:09)
8. Water’s Edge (1:33)
9. An Heir to Emptiness (8:42)

Reviewed by on September 19, 2012

"The album just simply slays any way you slice it, but for death/doom fanatics, this may be “Top Five of the Year” material."

For reasons unknown (maybe because the band hails from the U.S. instead of a frozen landscape or fog-shrouded wood in Europe?) Daylight Dies doesn’t seem to have as big a presence in the metal scene as its peers. If the metallic gods are paying attention, then “A Frail Becoming” should change that, as the four year incubation period since the last album has resulted in a top-tier release that equals or exceeds anything from the competition.

All nine tracks presented on “A Frail Becoming” feature an incredibly solid mix of death metal and doom, along with enough melody to prevent stagnation, that will cause instant love for fans of Swallow the Sun or similar bands. While located in the States, the sound of Daylight Dies is very much based in the traditional Finnish death/doom genre. Moving the sound forward, the band utilizes a fair number of melodies and song structures that will also appeal to the Opeth crowd, all while still staying primarily in the heavy and abrasive realms.

As with other groups that blend melodic death metal and the slower doom style, these tracks strike a balance between heaviness and a melancholy or depressing mood. At times, the music feels like a gloomier Dark Tranquillity, and at others, the band even breaks out the clean singing and acoustic picking to break up the devastating guitar riffs, although the breakdown is clearly slanted more towards the death metal side. For another change in pace, the ending track “An Heir to Emptiness” ups the doom quotient and even flirts with sludge, as the guitar sounds get longer and drawn out farther.

There isn’t much in the way of downsides on “A Frail Becoming,” as the production is crisp and clear, and any given song on the disc mixes up the dreariness with insane metal brutality and interesting backing sounds. Unlike some bands that follow this mixture, there is a good deal of variety throughout the album, although the major shifts tend to be relegated to the beginnings and ends of tracks, with the middle four-to-five minutes retaining strong similarities. The album just simply slays any way you slice it, but for death/doom fanatics, this may be “Top Five of the Year” material.

Highs: Melodic death metal expertly collides with dreary doom and a hint of the Opethian clean/acoustic feel.

Lows: Although there is a lot of variety on the disc, a few of the doomier songs don't mix it up as much as they could.

Bottom line: Daylight Dies offers fans of the death/doom sub-genre a knockout release that reaches "must hear" status.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)