Lost To The Living
posted on 6/2008 By:
Some six years ago, the release of Daylight Dies' debut album, No Reply, stirred much ado over the band's stylistic approach --more so than was made of the actual tunes that comprised the disc. This was hardly a criminal act, as the hype surrounding the viability of an American melodic death/doom act made for spicier copy than the discussion of the largely forgettable fare that was found on that album. Regardless, the band managed to leave an impression on a country that had yet to see Novembers Doom crash through their personal glass ceiling, and left a curious community lying in wait as to whether we could hang with the Brits and the Finns in the realm of creepy-dead sobriety.
And in wait we would lie...for four years. This great Carolinan (lack of) hope took their sweet-ass time before dropping 2006's Dismantling Devotion, but the wait proved worthwhile, as the band took a drastic leap in both quality and growth. Emerging wisened, weathered, and fortified with melodic chops that sliced with newfound impact, songs like "All We Had" and "Solitary Refinement" showcased the realization of their depressive potential. A scant two years later, after building their crushing live show around the meatiness of Dismantling's most immediate thumpers, Lost to the Living was expected to push their death metal aspect further to the forefront.
Expectations be damned. The band has taken a calculated turn towards even more maturation and depth, crafting an album that is cerebral, yet heartfelt; elegant, but visceral.
Daylight Dies, dare I say, have out-Opethed Opeth with this one. Not in structure, mind you-- Lost to the Living ambles on a straighter path than Akerfeldt's prog-pie crankwalks. But in mood, it trumps. The sound is progressive in its storytelling, a richly-layered journey from depths of mind to caverns of soul. Adhering to their textbook for the first few tracks --a stout and full-bodied deathroar doom with acute gothic sensibilites-- they improve upon their formula, but offer no surprises. 'Tis until the disc-splitting instrumental "And A Slow Surrender" splits a fork in the road and takes the album down a beautiful, beautiful path. The lead guitars on this track are tear-jerking, and indirectly function as a microcosm for the duality that this band projects for the remainder of the record. Contuinally toeing the line between a sound of truimph and a cry of anguish, the band spirals into sorrow on the emotive "Woke Up Lost", grinds into open wounds with the pounding grit of "The Morning Light" (which is sure to be a staple of their vaunted live act), and splays itself open to the strains of "At A Loss". That somber reflection --built upon a gloriously textured bass line-- is the undisputed highlight of this tome, Nathan Ellis straying from his knifetoothed roar long enough to ply his fantastic cleans, which are made all the more special by their sparse utilization. A chilling, chilling animal, this is.
All told? This is the best Daylight Dies album to date, an exponential improvement upon their foundation, and a dramatic strengthening of their identity. Outwardly classy, inwardly raw, Lost to the Living is an emotionally draining tour-de-force that commands unchallenged attention; Daylight Dies mold an experience, a trancedental grip that eclipses any-and-all trappings their subgenre harbors.
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