Review Summary: Another day, another alternative metal band.
Over the last few years, alternative metal/post-grunge has become a bit of a joke. Rearing its head throughout mainstream charts with its often low-tuned guitars and deliberately catchy choruses, it has earned the scorn of many. This may be considered a solid reasoning, as there is little difference between many of these bands and with the release of their new album Hail Mary
, Dark New Day have only hammered another nail in the coffin. The music here is nothing that has not been done before and could be considered yet another less interesting Breaking Benjamin clone, with none of the things that made that band interesting in the first places.
What is woven among this album is a seemingly endless stream of modern hard rock clichés. You are almost guaranteed that each song will have a clean chorus with the typical chugging riff with an overlaid melody. The verses are generally minimalistic, with small guitar lines and an obvious bass line maintaining the instrumental presence. Fortunately, the drums here are surprisingly delightful, bringing a variety of flairs in the album. Unfortunately for them, the mix has put so much focus on the keyboard, vocals and guitars that their presence is muddy and blurred throughout. On songs like Simple
, a shockingly typical radio-rock song, the snare drum tone sounds so awfully flat that it could almost be mistaken for a floor tom.
Now, it may be important to consider that this album was actually recorded way back in 2006, and was only just released after album 7 years of waiting. Unfortunately, even for that period of time, most of this album could be considered dated, with songs like the title track sounding more like the B-side to a Seether album. The vocal hooks, whilst catchy, don't seem to really hit as hard as they once might have, the low tuned guitars sounding out of place and the keyboard lines seemingly ridiculously overbearing. For any fan of the genre, this might be a good way to sate your appetite for awhile, at least, until a band that does the style better releases something new.
This may sound overwhelmingly negative so far, but the album does have some room to shine. None of the instruments are badly performed, though their creative ability leaves something to be desired, but at no time are you left wondering "Do these guys actually know what they're doing here?". The vocals, whilst again nothing spectacular, are on point, having a reasonable range, escaping the trap that so many fall in with the middle ranged clean vocals. It is most often in the obvious choruses that we are exposed to these higher ends of the vocal lines, which beats the bland verse vocals.
Whilst nothing is inherently wrong with this album, everything just seems so sub-par, below average and dull that it does not warrant another listen. At no point did any song grab me that I wanted to listen to it repeatedly, although the break in Outside
did warrant a curiosity unmatched by any other tracks on this record. In the words of my teenage brother: "I've heard it before, it's just really boring" which is a most apt description of most of this record.