I put on Lost to the Living (Candlelight, 2008) as Hurricane Hanna hit New York. As rain curtained my windows, my room darkened. It wasn’t just the sky. My thoughts went south to North Carolina, home of Daylight Dies, and where Hanna had just touched down. Few bands change the color of a room so effectively. Outside of metal: Joy Division and The Cure (for me, Disintegration (incidentally, this record was mixed at Fascination Street Studios)). In metal, Daylight Dies’ colleagues: Katatonia, Sentenced, Swallow the Sun, Insomnium. These are soundtracks for rainy days – blankets, hot tea, and metal.
Daylight Dies began as a competent melodic death metal band; their 1999 demo The Long Forgotten is a startling contrast to their current sound. They slowed down and developed a melancholy atmosphere that emerged fully-formed on 2002’s No Reply. 2006’s Dismantling Devotion added hooks and weight; Lost to the Living continues on this path. Its chord progressions seemingly never resolve. Instead, they continually modulate and morph into ever-darker shades. Plaintive melodies keen above, with gruff vocals and occasional singing. The growl to melody ratio reminds me of Amon Amarth, though Daylight Dies’ music is much lusher. Drummer Jesse Haff ran the superb, now-defunct MP3 blog, darkdose.com, and this record reflects that site: somber and smart. Metal-wise, it easily stands up to what Scandinavia offers these days.