Day Without Dawn
"Understanding Consequences"

(Forgotten Empire Records 2008)Day Without Dawn - Understanding Consequences

The opening lyric of Day Without Dawn's "Understanding Consequences" is remarkably prophetic. "This is the end," belts out frontman Jim Stang. Sure enough, the band had already reached its end by the time I fired up my stereo. I've been the kiss of death for a few bands that have broken up damn near immediately after I dished out their reviews (sorry, V:28 and Tangorodrim), but this is the first time I've actually gotten press materials touting a band's dissolution. So here's a posthumous examination of Day Without Dawn's one and only record.

The first couple of songs bounce along happily, giving a proggy take on the post-metal blueprint. By injecting an emo lyrical style and playing with situational heaviness, Day Without Dawn roll out light yet biting jams that belie a darker undertone. Nuanced guitar play and solid bass lines entangle over engaging drum patterns. Unfortunately, the momentum isn't really carried into the back end of the album. The execution of their free-form metalgaze-lite wavers seriously as clever songwriting gives way to eye-rolling schmaltz. Seriously, nobody wants to listen to lyrics like "I drank you in like a Cabernet." Ugh.

The latter portion of "Understanding Consequences" isn't a total wash; "Your Diminutive Hand" strikes a fine balance between earnest sentimentality and a harder, metal edge, while "A Cruel Statue" contains the most aggressive and satisfying minute and a half of the album. A few tasty bites don't make for an appetizing buffet, though. Just ask anyone who's ever been to Atlantic City.

If this is a eulogy for a deceased band, then it's one of unrealized potential. "Understanding Consequences" has its flaws, like shoehorning in gruff vocals, head-scratching influences, and laying on the cheese a bit thick. Bugs like this are to be expected on a debut, though, and I suspect these problems would have been ironed out over the course of another album or two. Several of the band members will get the chance to do just that, having gone on to form the unfortunately named Biclops. For Day Without Dawn, however, their first and only impression leaves only hints of what could have been.