There are journeys that every form of music available can take you on, trekking you to places you’ve never been before or dragging you through worn roads and the mundane sediment left behind by those who have traveled that very path over and over again – these are the ones who are consumed by an infatuation of style over substance. Recently, most every aspiring metalcore band has done just that, and pulled listeners into overdone territory and reductive soundscapes that are void of any emotion other than a faux angst. As disheartening as this is, plenty of others are striking chords and leaving a lasting impression onto a vapid and dying genre. One such band is Dayseeker, the culmination of members from previous efforts Arms Like Yours and Southern Lights. Though still embarking on a bit of tired road, this effort brings out shining moments that are reminiscent of the emotionality that made the genre so appealing in its heyday.
The album opens with the dissonant textures turned into focused aggression in the first track, “What It Means to Be Defeated.” Vocalist Rory Rodriguez’s familiar voice switches seamlessly between a guttural scream and his refreshingly uncommon vocal styling that evokes a mature and sophisticated aura. It’s emotive and largely unpolished and contributes to the unrelenting tone of down-tuned guitars provided by Alex Polk and Gino Sgambelluri. These instruments too shine brightly in the chorus with an Of Machines-like lead that evolves into a spacious harmonic progression. Overall, it serves as a fantastic opener for what their forthcoming EP has to show, with samples of their more ethereal moments as well as their dominating ones.
The latter trait is highly emphasized in the second track “Collision/Survive.” The song’s verses wouldn’t be foreign to bands like For the Fallen Dreams or Fit For A King, and in that way Dayseeker lose some sense of individuality, but certainly not enough to write them off or label them as generic. Proof of this comes in the form of the EP’s strongest song, “Resurrect.” It flaunts a delicate balance between stylization and advanced songwriting, combining the perfect amount of familiarity with innovation. “Resurrect” could very well call Oceana’s Birth.Eater its home. The chorus revolves around a tapping melody that is emphasized by the warm drum tones and pulsating bass lines – compliments of Mike Karle and Andrew Sharp respectively – that reign the mix, adding crunch and gritty texture to support the screamed vocals. Within the last minute of “Resurrect” though lies a shining beacon of promise and reigns as the proverbial “aha!” moment of the entire EP. Ambience intertwines with intense vocal deliveries that resonate long after the track has finished, which will demand replay after replay for the entire song, if only for those few precious moments.
The final two tracks are currently untitled but very much continue in the vein established by the three tracks officially released. Lyrically, the band avoids cliches that are overworked in the mediocre writing abilities most emerging bands display. Instead, there is conveyance of an inquisitive mentality, one that searches for the answers or may struggle to find them in places most would be content to look. As vastly impressive as this aspect is, it is held up through the rest of the members: melodic guitar lines overlay chorus instrumentation while verses are comprised of vicious onslaughts of breakdowns performed with a different take on the typical open-note chug formula that’s been eaten up and overdone for years. When this band turns the heavy up, it hits hard and proves punishing and the same is true for the converse, especially with emotional and atmospheric choruses or bridges.
All in all, Dayseeker are not masters of the craft. Not yet, anyway. The experience of each member through the course of previous efforts is self-evident, and their skills shine at various moments on the EP. However, once each track has settled in, there is a pervasive feeling that these abilities should be stretched, tried and tested more fully. In essence, they are too good not to flex as much as they can. If Dayseeker continue to devote themselves to their own betterment, which I’m confident they will, you can expect the next EP to shake the genre, or at the very least turn the heads of many who are content with the state of the scene. Until then, be on the lookout for their forthcoming EP, and take the exquisite path Dayseeker have laid before you.