Lost To The Living (Candlelight)
Folks always compare these (incongruously situated) Raleigh, NC mopers to early Katatonia, but there's more of an even-steven, loud, raw doominess here that harkens back to prime, world-beating Paradise Lost. Both previous albums (No Reply, Dismantling Devotion) saw nothing but great reviews and for good reason - Daylight Dies carved their place as conservative doomsters with one arrangement and then wrote immediate songs inside of it, further enhancing their sorrow-drenched hooks with stadium rock production. Finnish frozen lake rock from the American south... still doesn't make sense, but it's not ours to question. Sure, there are some Mikael-like clean vocals over acoustic bits, but man, when the drums pound cleanly all the time, one comes away assured that power chords are always a stooped reach to the guitar stand away. Doesn't exactly reinvent the wheel, but what you get is a solid collection - sort of faint praise, I know. Another utilitarian album for those missing Amorphis as kids and Sentenced their whole adult lives.
Warpaint (Silver Arrow)
Society has allowed the Black Crowes to live, basically deciding somewhere along the way that they'd be a live draw, a jam band, guys with no set list or a daring set list, collaborators, solo artists, mythic, mercurial brothers, hippies, stoners, one of America's great blues bands, independents, Beacon Theatre and bootleggable types. Fair enough, and with all that stacked in their favour, it's hard to fault a new studio record - they're all good and even great, and Warpaint is another fine addition, sounding like the Exile-era Stones trying really, really hard, even attempting to be progressive, or at least restless reconfigurers of the blues to make it interesting. Warpaint may test the patience of fans of the band's brisk and rocky material, as much of it is mellow and slow (and even stunned and stoned). But the production is gorgeous and the arrangements differ track to track with all manner of timeless rocking chair-out-to-pastoral tones. Sharp cover art too, combined with digipak packaging and a fold-out poster (granted, slightly corporate - more Counting than Black), aptly on parchment. Laid-back, churchy, and yeah, as always, a little annoyingly messianic, but it isn't a shtick with these guys - they really believe they can handle rattlers.
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