I was awfully mean to this UK Metalcore outfit back in 2008 when I reviewed their sophomore outing Ruin. Not that I didn’t have my reasons. A) I’m a dick. I’m impatient and miserable people tend to say miserable things. B) In those days, Ray used to shoot me up with horse tranquilizer and grapefruit juice, then lock me up in a room in his basement with 300 records to review and a wolverine high on biker meth for several days. C) The album was flat-out boring as fuck. I hadn’t paid much attention to the band until 2010’s “Day in Day Out” single from The Here and Now — an album unanimously chastised for its more commercial direction. I didn’t hate the song —at least it was an actual song— and jumped at the chance to take on Daybreaker. It was surprising to learn that the album debuted at #28 on the Top Heatseekers chart in the US (and even more surprising to learn that only means 1200 copies sold — fucking pirates.) Well, I’m pleased to report that these young Brits have earned that position with album #5. By far their most cohesive and focused work to date, finally striking the perfect balance of their aggressive, technical, and somewhat scattered Mathcore beginnings and their softer, more accessible Post-Punk side. So much of Daybreaker reminds me of Define the Great Line-era Underoath (a band so stellar even I have to look the other way on their beliefs). Explosive moments of tension and release collide with pure passion, as complex song structures and bare-knuckled simplicity battle for supremacy. Vocalist Sam Carter executes his harsh scream/radio-ready clean voice combo quite admirably, spouting socio-political and religious lyrics from an atheistic point of view. Elsewhere, “These Colours Don’t Run” sounds like Shai Hulud and Parkway Drive in a bar fight, while their buddy Oli Sykes (Bring Me the Horizon) returns the guest vocal favor on “Even If You Win, You’re Still a Rat” (a cut that wouldn’t have sounded too terribly out of place on There Is a Hell…). The band has achieved a remarkable equilibrium of abrasive and emotive elements, resulting in an album with no real filler. And while I’d wager their approach is a bit too lightweight and modern to win over the denim-vested hearts of the Death/Thrash community, I believe they’ve made a record that will silence their critics and satisfy fans new and old. Consider me officially the former.
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