Written by: BL on 25/12/2013 04:57:44

It was a sad moment when singer/guitar player Shayley Bourget departed Of Mice & Men for a slew of personal issues in 2012. Shayley had been a shining beacon in an otherwise popular but generic band and one of the best/most unique singers the post-hardcore/metalcore scene had ever seen in recent times. Fortunately he is back stronger than ever in his new band Dayshell with their self-titled début album. Unlike his lesser role in Of Mice & Men, being the vocalist/frontman for Dayshell has resulted in Shayley's signature voice being elevated into the centre stage. And with all the freedom to express himself at his will, he is allowed to reign supreme.

The opening songs like "Share With Me" quickly let listeners get familiar with the key ingredients that Dayshell have to offer, and to begin with it's more steady than anything spectacularly ear-grabbing. Shayley predictably spared no effort in his quest to impress with impeccable vibrato filled cleans full of nuance, character and variance. His ability to weave melodies with natural flair is undeniably superior than most of his peers who all tend to stay longer on single notes (and rely more on studio magic), and he can surprise you with the occasional piercing scream transition when you don't expect it. While Shayley's talent often borders on indulgent for tracks like "Avatar", the instrumentals certainly takes more of a back seat in the early moments. The guitars mix nu-metal with small hints of metalcore, progressive metal, and a pseudo-djent style that is complimentary for the vocals, and on the whole very tight but takes few risks when you become acquainted with them. By no means does that equate to Dayshell sounding generic, or too much like Of Mice & Men either (only included in the FFO just for the clean vocals) - these guys have definitely crafted an identity that is largely their own.

"Edge Of The World" is a song where Dayshell truly comes alive as a group and the result is nothing short of fantastic. The groovy aggressive introduction quickly moves over for a soaring soundscape of emotively powerful vocals, surrealistic melodies, smooth guitars, and an organic ebb and flow rhythm that is naturally opposite of mechanical. It's a breathtaking piece that is reminiscent of the more introspective material from bands like Deftones especially and is a take away highlight. "Imbecile" continues this wholesome trend with a fearsome temper that bites as much as it soothes, effortless gliding from screams and stuttering guitars to catchy rock choruses. The acoustic "A Waste Of Space" seemed out of the blue at first as the tempo comes to a screeching halt. But with time felt less of a momentum burner, and more as welcome breathing space. Here we are dazzled with a masterful singing performance that embodies passion as Shayley lets his voice rise and fall in time with the dynamics and atmosphere, pouring a lot of heart in the process.

"I Owe You Nothing" and "Aimless" resumes with the heavier side of the album and impressively pushes the boundaries of what has come before. There is even more crunching riff work and harrowing screams on the former, and yet for all the added intensity and might the melodies remain consistently catchy and inventive as the latter demonstrates with gracefully deft transitions. The slower "Useless" following on initially meanders a bit too much but redeems itself with a rewarding pay off towards the end. By contrast, "Hail To The Queen" contains constant vigor and excitement throughout - playing to the strengths of all that has come before with the punchy verses, great hooks, and a wonderful set piece bridge section. For the grand finish we have a second enjoyable acoustic song in "When You Fall Asleep Tonight", which actually takes a noticeably more upbeat, positive tone to the previous acoustic track. It's not quite the explosive conclusion one would have imagined, but feels intrinsically right as the final piece to the puzzle.

"Dayshell" as an album is a clear indication that Shayley is leaving his Of Mice & Men days behind him and not looking back, and no one should feel like he made the wrong decision in doing so. As a complete collection of songs it is not quite able to escape the mild imperfections which creep here and there - mostly small consistency issues and occasional imbalance in arrangement between vocals and instruments. That said those faults still get easily outweighed by the many defining successes Dayshell have created resulting in a damn memorable first effort. It would be wise for one to keep eyes peeled for this space as these guys feel destined to be going places.


Download: Edge Of The World, Imbecile, I Owe You Nothing, Aimless
For the fans of: The Color Morale, Breaking Benjamin, Of Mice & Men, Deftones
Listen: Facebook

Release date 25.11.2013
Sumerian Records

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