What It Means To Be Defeated

Written by: BL on 26/01/2014 12:43:08

Nowadays it can be pretty difficult to navigate the metalcore/post-hardcore genres. Often it feels like wading through an endless sea of bullshit and bands lacking any will to separate themselves from the pack. Orange County, California based quintet Dayseeker may not seem to be that different when compared with a multitude of other bands on paper, but surprisingly their debut "What It Means To Be Defeated" manages to break the typical formulaic and mediocre mould. Bursting with memorable moments either hauntingly melancholic or introspective, whilst often blazened with a fiery, raw passion.

"What It Means To Be Defeated" at times is heavily reminiscent of Architects' 2012 album "Daybreaker" in terms of composition. Striking the listener with pounding might but also juxtaposing ontop doses of soaring melodies is nothing new but when done more than above average like here and with the aformentioned, can still be fun or exhilarating. Early songs like opener "Black Earth" and "Collision.Survive" which then leads into the album titled track are pretty well executed examples of this. The tightly layered instrumentals are slightly low in the mix but the players are definitely slick at their craft with some intricate lead guitar work laced throughout. Dayseeker's technical, organic sound could at times be even more vivid, though is still satisfying. To add to this, while the band has a very low tuning, and does throw in chugging riffs, there aren't really any forgettable or boring breakdowns thrown in for the sake of, thankfully.

"Incinerate" illustrates another detail Dayseeker do well, and that is to use harmonious, soft touches even when the lyrics become quite dark. Some of the words are surprisingly specific - e.g. "You took the bullet, steadied your aim towards the back of his head. But the fact remains, he lays in his grave and I remember every time I hear my name" - not exactly relatable for everybody even if you extract a hidden meaning. But then when you hear the vocalist Rory Rodriguez softly sing things like "I wish nothing but the worst for you, as you rot in your cell", you can feel a tingle of emotion in his voice - an actual sadness despite the message. Other times the lyrics are searching for something meaningful, or admissions of regret and moving on. Whatever the subject the album's poignant and cathartic tone is maintained brilliantly, especially all the way up to the huge closer "The Quiet Disconnect".

Speaking further of the vocalist, Rory is often the most notable part of the band in some ways. Sonically and technically, he seemingly holds nothing back. Rory's distinct voice is a welcome departure from the more typical high pitched singers out there, but it's also his ability to comfortably break into lung bursting screams from soft, angelic singing that earns a lot of credit. His screaming is somewhat lacking in range and variety, but makes up for it by sounding largely unprocessed and just genuinely powerful. Later in the album, "Dead Man" and "The Home We Built" gives Rory a lot of room to impress for his singing, where both songs benefit greatly from his excellent emotional delivery when combined with the driving, at times close to mesmerising instrumentals.

For a debut album, "What It Means To Be Defeated" has a lot of defining strengths and shines through the few miring small drawbacks to be found. It could perhaps push for a more experimental direction in places, but Dayseeker have done ample to shake the feeling that one had been here before, gotten the T-shirt and all. The best parts stay with you, give you a sense of emotional investment before letting you go. It would be great to see bands like Dayseeker get more recognition from their scene for this kind of honest approach to a genre currently too fixated with false aesthetics and cheap thrills, but we can only hope.


Download: What It Means To Be Defeated, Incinerate, The Quiet Disconnect
For the fans of: Architects, Blessthefall, Dream On, Dreamer, Arms Like Yours (one of the vocalist's former bands)
Listen: Facebook

Release date 29.10.2013
Invogue Records

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