From the perspective of Of Mice & Men, the departure of vocalist Shayley Bourget may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Now equipped with screamer Austin Carlile alone in the vocal department, their latest work has plunged into heavier depths, which may work in their favour on their third full release next year. As for Bourget, he has clearly taken this opportunity to embrace his more melodic leanings with his latest project, Dayshell.
Their debut self-titled effort is a polarising affair. It’s an album with strong songs and weak, tight musicianship and loose writing, genuinely progressive sensibilities and a heavy helping of well-trodden forgettable metal fare that may occasionally give the listener a glimpse of something more.
Let’s start with the driving force of the album; the melodic lines provided through the guitar licks and synth. Dayshell have developed a chunky, satisfying sound, deftly crafted in meticulous melodic runs which help to paint these songs. These parts provide the emphasis for each track, and on ‘Edge Of The World’, the band’s elements briefly begin to work together in harmony, buoyed on soaring synth and given a killer groove through punchy guitar work.
One of the main flaws of Dayshell‘s effort is also one of its strengths, and that is the studio-sheen, pop-tinged melodies and vocal delivery. While providing a great deal of colour to their otherwise fairly by-the-number melodic metal, it also contributes to the general toothless, gutless feeling of their music, heard in the cheesy synth swish of ‘Avatar’, the overly familiar riffs of ‘Hail To The Queen’ and the generally smooth but irritating vocal delivery from Bourget.
But, there are highlights. ‘Edge Of The World’, ‘I Owe You Nothing’ and ‘A Waste Of Space’ are all swaggering slices of fizzling melodic metal, and demonstrate that Dayshell can get the balance right. Where their sound can sometimes sound dated, on these tracks they put their best foot forward with memorable choruses and heavy riffs to punctuate the technicality of their sound. Quieter moments like album closer, ‘When You Fall Asleep’, feel superfluous but don’t weaken the experience overall, providing some variety and a sound bookend.
On this debut, Dayshell have demonstrated that they’re a band capable of delivering the goods. It’s unfortunate that there’s still a haze of mediocrity surrounding this release, which will no doubt fade as the band continue over future albums and refine their craft.
Written by Grant Bailey