Monday, January 21, 2013

Dark New Day - Hail Mary

Dark New Day
Hail Mary
Pavement Entertaniment, Inc.

When Dark New Day announced their formation in 2004, there was an air of expectation surrounding the group. And rightfully so, with the band coming across as something of a supergroup, with members of the group serving in acts such as Virgos Merlot (Lead vocalist/additional guitarist Brett Hestla), Sevendust (Lead guitarist/backing vocalist Clint Lowery), DoubleDrive (Rhythm guitarist/backing vocalist Troy McLawhorn), Stereomud, Stuck Mojo (Clint’s bassist/backing vocalist/brother Corey Lowery) and Skrape (Drummer/backing vocalist Will Hunt).
And while the band’s 2005 debut effort ‘Twelve Year Silence’ was hardly a groundbreaking piece of work, the release was a solid effort, and one that garnished enough praise and interest from the press and fans alike. Their follow up E.P. release ‘Black Porch (Acoustic Sessions)’, which was released in 2006, was an interesting diversion from the sound of their debut, and showcased another side of the band, helping build anticipation for their upcoming second full-length effort.
To most, the potential for the band to build and take their sound further was only a matter of time. But within the inner sanctum of Dark New Day, it was a completely different story, with various members of the band leaving the group to pursue other musical projects midway through the making of their second album.
Throughout the intervening years, Dark New Day have offered fans a taste of what they were working on prior to dissolving, and even went as far as to release two albums worth of material via official download sites (‘B-Sides’ and ‘Vicious Thoughts’), but without label support or a full-time commitment from the band members themselves, both albums were removed, and Dark New Day once again went into hibernation.
Fast forward to 2012, and Dark New Day announced their long awaited return with a new label (Goomba Music), who duly officially released their reworked ‘B-Sides’ album in the form of ‘New Tradition’.
Twelve months on, and Dark New Day are back once again with the highly anticipated ‘Hail Mary’ – which is the officially band sanctioned version of their long lost second full-length effort (Which was briefly released a few years back as ‘Vicious Thoughts’).
Long time followers of the band will already be familiar with what ‘Hail Mary’ has to offer up for the most part. After all, the album is virtually identical, barring a couple of tracks that have been reshuffled. But for those who didn’t get the chance to get the album the first time around, ‘Hail Mary’ is finally here.
The opening track ‘Goodbye’ provides a heavy start to the album, and is definitely one of the stand out cuts in the early half of the album with moody verse structures, huge melodic choruses and angular riffing throughout.
The follow on track ‘Anywhere’ is another strong effort, and while not too far removed in sound from the opener, does reveal a bit more of a melodic edge, and in some ways reminds me of Clint Lowery’s more recent solo outfit Call Me No One in direction.
Both ‘Vicious Thinking’ and ‘Simple’ are somewhat odd efforts from the band with a big Muse influence coming through, while the title track ‘Hail Mary’ sees a return to heavy territory via the sonic contrast between the sparse verses and the densely layered and guitar driven choruses.
Both ‘On My Way’ and ‘Dear Addy’ are two of the albums more radio friendly efforts, and therefore come across as a little out of place on the album. In other words, if there’s anything on the album that falls under the filler banner, these tracks would be prime candidates.
‘Saddest Song’ is an energetic hard rocker with a strong stand out chorus, as to is the full throttle ‘Outside’, while the band’s rendition of ‘Fiend’ on this album (Which originally appeared on 2011’s ‘New Tradition’ release) has been given a new coat of polish, with all of the raw edge of the original replaced with a slick production.
Finishing up the album is fairly unremarkable and melodic ‘Someday’ (Which was previously known as ‘Sunday’ on the ‘Vicious Thoughts’ release) and the rather predictable hard rocker ‘Give Me The World’.
As an album, ‘Hail Mary’ shows Dark New Day experimenting with their sound well beyond the confined sound of their debut. And that’s a good thing. The only real problem is that as a whole, ‘Hail Mary’ comes across as patchy, with the clash of direction making for an album of uneven tracks with little or no consistency whatsoever.
Despite this, fans who have always wondered where Dark New Day would go after the release of ‘Twelve Year Silence’ will find this release an audio revelation. Others however are unlikely to understand what all the fuss is about.

For more information on Dark New Day, check out - http://www.facebook.com/thedarknewday

© Justin Donnelly