With Lost to the Living, Raleigh's Daylight Dies offers a nine-track blackout of sweeping introspective melancholy. But this loneliness is so lovely: "Against the sky stands our cathedral/ A picture of our isolation/ In the dark we must build an answer/ At any cost," growls Nathan Ellis on the album opening "Cathedral," a doom-and-gloom view of organized religion that's more effective for its thoughtfulness and its sadness. The album's numbed, bleary-eyed pacing accents that thoughtfulness, also audible in the swells behind Ellis' gasping growls or the purposeful placing of every note in each melody. Such dualities become apparent throughout Lost to the Living.
The band follows the template of Swedish melodic metal bands like Opeth and In Flames, reining in Opeth's jarring bipolarities and stamping out In Flames' triumphant flourishes. Those decisions keep the album's gaze downcast and delighted in its own fright, even if it ultimately leads to a bit of lag. Oddly, though, hope seeps through in the deliberation in the album's melodic motions, as if, by confronting life's burdens, they become easier to manage. A sliver of sunlight only illuminates a patch of green grass if someone's looking beneath the storm clouds, right?
"A subtle light/ Frays and scatters/ Shadows calling down/ Alluding to the days," sings bassist Egan O'Rourke on "Last Alone," one of the album's three songs to feature O'Rourke's gently brooding croon. He and Ellis serve as easy foils to each other. Ellis embodies vindictive venting and O'Rourke a more internalized, burdened sadness. In the eight-minute closer, "The Morning Light," Lost to the Living traipses around an acoustic-led intro until twin electric guitars begin to stride confidently but cautiously into the song. We see the band thriving in the internal arguments of an anxious mind, making an Eden of its solitary soul.
Daylight Dies celebrates the release of Lost to the Living with a free show Saturday, July 12, at 10 p.m. at Local 506 with Soulpreacher.