Just when I thought the year couldn't get any better from a music perspective, North Carolina's melodic death doom five piece Daylight Dies release their long awaited album 'A Frail Becoming', four years after the release of 'Lost To The Living' which was such a breathtaking journey of emotion. I was interested to see just how they had managed to follow an album of those proportions.
Not only have they equalled their previous releases, they have surpassed them with this release. From the beginning sound of the gentle, haunting, slightly sinister intro on 'Infidel' which builds gradually into a monstrous roar of harsh vocals I soon realised I was about to experience forty nine minutes of Metal excellence, the track expanding out into chugging, yet melody rich, dark guitars.
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Continuing with 'The Pale Approach' an up tempo track but still maintaining that gloomy haunting feel. A deeply layered track, 'Dreaming Of Breathing' has waves of chugging guitars and dark harsh vocals that come at you like a storm over the top of a gentle repeat riff pattern.
The dark yet beautiful 'Hold On To Nothing' is enriched with a deeply emotive and powerful guitar solo.
A few songs have a mix of clean and harsh vocals, 'Sunset', the slower, sad yet melodic 'A Final Vestige', the melancholic 'Ghosting' and whilst not often a fan of clean vocals, Daylight Dies are one of the exceptional few bands who incorporate them well into their compositions, taking on the effect of an exchange, or an opposition, sometimes giving you that feeling of inner conflict.
The penultimate track, 'Water's Edge' is a short atmospheric interlude, before the album closer, 'An Heir To Emptiness' which opens on an unnerving wail which continues beneath the surface of the track, resurfacing again in the final minutes giving a bleak desolate feel to this magnificent track of almost nine minutes.
I can't pick a favourite track as each is equally as excellent as the next and all individual in their own way yet inextricably linked to each other.
This is a highly emotive and haunting, guitar-driven masterpiece of an album from a band that continually delivers the highest standard of composition and musicianship, true masters of dark, depressing death/doom Metal.
As with previous albums 'A Frail Becoming' was mixed by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios, Sweden and is out now on Candlelight records.