Released: 2004, Metal Blade
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
While my reference point to Australian metal range from very good (Skintilla) to very bad (Sadistik Exekution), Daysend sits nearer to the very good end of the spectrum. Their debut CD, SEVERANCE, is wrought with melodic death influence (especially Dark Tranquillity) and the vocals of Simon Calabrese run the gamut from glorious clean melodies to vicious snarls. A superb guitar team can be found in Michael Kordek and Aaron Bilbija whose technical riffs pepper the release and are executed with fierce precision. Tying everything together is the superb production of D.W. Norton and Nik Tropiano who have managed to secure a clean, polished sound with enough crunch to feel the music and get your head moving.
“Born Is The Enemy” is one of the best leadoff tracks and potential singles I have heard all year. The song wavers between mid-tempo to balls-out thrash and the infectious riff and chorus will not leave your head. Calabrese’s use of both clean and harsh, abrasive vocals maximize the weight of the track. “Ignorance of Bliss” follows much the same formula and delivers an excellent shot of melodic death. The dual guitar rhythms are melodic yet heavy and will have the air guitarist in you leaping from couch to coffee table in headbanging glee. “The Blood of Angels” and “September” also have huge crossover potential with sing-along choruses and memorable riffs. “Countdown” is on the heavier side but still contains enough melody to keep things on an even keel. Calabrese’s vocals peak on the title track with fabulous harmonies and “Sellout,” a heavy-as-hell number with brutal lyrics and double bass that reminded me of something Machine Head would be doing. “Sibling” is one of the most interesting tracks since the vocals waver from a blood-curdling scream, to a whispered verse a la Killswitch Engage, to an almost Shadows-Fall-like hardcore roar during the chorus. A swirling guitar riff hangs over the track, while Meredith Webster’s chunky bass and Wayne Morris’ drumming feeds a thick bottom end.
SEVERANCE was a pleasant surprise to say the least. The stark white cover had me thinking “prog band” but Daysend is far from it. Combing thrash, melodic death, a bit of metalcore and some good old hard rock, SEVERANCE is a stunning debut from Daysend. The Aussie press have already heaped praise and awards upon this release and it’s time to make another notch in the bedpost from Metal-Rules.com, too.
KILLER KUTS: “Born Is The Enemy,” “Ignorance of Bliss,” “The Blood of Angels,” “Countdown,” “Sellout,” “September,” “Sibling”