Review Summary: Utter disaster.
Whenever someone mentions "Dark New Day", it immediately takes me back to 2006 when I first discovered the band - then, only 13 years old and still fresh to the world of heavier rock music - and right away, I find myself humming to the dark, melodic chorus sections of tracks like "Brother", "Pieces" and "Free" from their debut album, "Twelve Year Silence". Dark New Day, along with bands like Mudvayne, System Of A Down and Tool, initially influenced me to explore heavier music - music which I now drown myself on every day. Therefore, because nostalgia is at work, I have always held a soft-spot for their debut album - even after my ears leveled up and I could effortlessly notice the obvious flaws of the album.
"Twelve Year Silence" was released via the major label Warner Bros. Records. Since the reception of the album from both the charts and the audience was only fairly positive, it can be implied they failed to meet the expectations of the label and slowly started losing their support. The so-called supergroup initially started writing for their follow-up to their debut back in 2006. Nevertheless, due to the dying support from their label, the release of the album faced many complications. Warner Bros. still held the rights for the new material so they could not release those songs from another label due to legal issues (these did eventually get released as "Vicious Thinking", but it was an unofficial release). Now, this is where the boys would make their greatest mistake. When the negotiations with the label failed, they signed to themselves to a new label company and, apart from only a few new songs, brought out songs they shelved up during the making of their debut album because those songs "were not good enough to make it into the debut". In other words, Dark New Day's second full-length album "New Tradition" is actually a B-sides album posing itself as an actual studio album.
B-sides - the very word makes the album take a major leap backwards. The major flaw of the album is extremely evident upon first listen: it is excruciatingly formulaic. "Verse. Chorus. Verse. Chorus. Bridge. Chorus." - and not even one single song waver one percent away from that formula. Now, one might say: "If the verses and choruses are well-written and well-executed, even formulaic songs can be bold". Unfortunately for the album, the songs are neither well-written nor are the parts of the song well-executed.
When it comes to crafting exceptional hard rock albums, the vocals - especially the hooks - and the riffs are very crucial. They failed at both in their new album. Their debut album was nowhere near "phenomenal" but vocalist Brett Hestla at least delivered an impressive performance there. However, in their latest effort, Hestla sounds downright horrendous in most of the album - intentionally overstressing his vocals to make the album sound "heavier", only to sound bland, unnecessarily harsh, and even out-of-tune at many times. And the riffs here are boring, uninspired, heavily repetitive and you have probably heard all of them a million times before. And the worst moments of the album are when the vocals and the guitars do not complement each other at all - and these moments are scattered throughout the album.
Brett Hestla, however, does shine in only a few tracks in the album, which includes the "Sorry" (formulaic, but at least well-written), "Sunday" (featuring excellent hooks - and all credits to Hestla here), "Fiend" (which sound almost exactly like their most famous single, "Brother", from the debut), and the rock version of "Breakdown" (because you've already heard the acoustic version in the Black Porch EP). None of these songs are anything extraordinary, but in contrast to the rest of the album, they at least seem much better. And fortunately, these four are probably the only tracks where the guitars actually do a decent job of keeping up with the vocals.
All in all, Dark New Day's latest effort might not be the "worst album you've ever heard", but safe for only a few tracks, it would be all right to call this album a "total disaster". The members of the band should have wrote new material instead of recycling 6 or 7 year old B-sides. Personally, I see no future for the band and I would be surprised if they ever released another album.
Final verdict: you have heard most of the songs in some other wannabe mainstream hard rock band before and I could see fans of bands like "Three Days Grace" enjoying this record, but veteran listeners would hate it.