Daylight Dies Studio Report
By: David E. Gehlke
"We are finishing out a few solos, cleans, keys and bass, and are polishing lyrics and vocals before we start tracking those. This is the craziest time in tracking because four guys are working on ten different things to really make the album come together. It's a cool period because things really come together, but it's very busy."
And so begins Daylight Dies bassist Egan O'Rouke when describing progress on the band's forthcoming fourth studio album, due sometime in the middle of 2012 via Candlelight Records. Once the rightful North American torchbearers to the early Katatonia/Anathema sound, Daylight Dies have evolved into one of metal's most despondent and captivtating entities. If indications are true, the follow-up to 2008's stellar Lost to the Living promises to be just as foreboding, and possibly more varied thanks to the increased involvement from O'Rouke, who assumed writing duties with guitarist Barre Gambling.
"The trademark DD sound is alive and well in this new material," relays Gambling. "Egan's songs and riffs blend with mine, while exploring new colors and rhythms. A few friends that have heard the new material confirm that it is a seamless addition to our sound. There are more clean vocals than before but Nathan's [Ellis] death vocals are still the dominant style. In addition to Egan's contributions, guitarist Charley Shackelford has laid down some killer solos on a few songs."
At the present time, the album is without a name, with drummer Jesse Haff confirming only "Hold Onto Nothing" as a song title ("Our working song titles are obscene and in jokes, so I won't dare to go there," affirmed the drummer). What the band can reveal however, is that the new album won't lack in heaviness and various twists and turns. "Most would find the new album more dynamic, quite aggressive at times, with our traditional sound in new rhythmic and textural contexts," said Gambling. "We've tuned slightly lower than on previous albums, creating some of our heaviest and most dramatic moments to date. There are very delicate moments as well. Charley and I have really gone for the throat with some of the guitar solos. Overall, we've expanded our sound again. I believe this is our most exciting album to date."
A record company change from Relapse to Candlelight held up the release of the band's 2006 Dismantling Devotion album, but the reasons for the delay between Lost to the Living are a-plenty, including band member transience out of DD's long-time home base of North Carolina.
"Shortly after the release of Lost to the Living, Jesse moved to New York City, and I moved to Los Angeles," admits Gambling. "During this time of separation and isolation from each other, Egan and I slowly wrote most of the material, not sure if it would ever come together as the fourth Daylight Dies album. I did most of my writing as therapy during a strange and fucked-up time period. I returned to North Carolina and the DD brotherhood in the summer of 2010, and we've been seriously working toward seeing the album to fruition since then."
Having snagged prime support slots in the past for the likes of Candlemass, Moonspell, and Soilwork, Daylight Dies have become increasingly selective as to which tours they jump on. Such is the life for an underground band in these troubled industry times, and more than likely, the band will follow suit once the new album hits.
"I don't think the industry really informs what tours we take at this point," said O'Rouke. "We've grown up in the file-sharing era and so it's tough to imagine anything different. We make our decision based on the quality of the tour, personal availability and financial viability. Functionally, we're more selective now because of more complex personal lives, but the decision process has been the same since we started."
Coming down the home stretch, a few key decisions have to be made on who is handling the artwork and mixing/mastering responsibilities. Prior constituents aiding the DD cause included noted artist Travis Smith (Amorphis, Katatonia, Opeth, etc.) and current hot-shot producer/engineer Jens Borgen (Amon Amarth, Symphony X), but as Haff would admit, the band isn't quite at that point yet.
"We'll have to make decisions on that very shortly, and those are two names that are certainly being thrown around, but not the only ones. We have to evaluate where we stand once we're a little closer to the end of the recording phase, which won't be long from now."