originally written by Chris McDonald
Current heavyweights of the melodic death/doom scene, Daylight Diesdebuted with this five song EP, originally released in 2000 and now being reissued in a digital-only format. Daylight Dies has since built a strong reputation in their respective niche, particularly following their widely acclaimed sophomore album, Dismantling Devotion. Idle shows that this American collective had their sights set high in their early stages, but that there was some significant evolution required to make good on their ambitions.
This material is quite similar to the style of the band’s later work, with differences found more in delivery than basic substance. Chugging, rhythmic riffs lay a foundation for a variety of ethereal guitar leads and melodies, pushed on by straightforward rock-based drumming and spearheaded by throaty harsh vocals. The slightly raw production and youthful energy of the performances really adds a lot to the tone of the music, giving the songs a bit of desperate edge that is absent from their more polished full-length works. On the flip side, the band’s melodic sense is more basic than what they would craft on albums like Dismantling Devotion. While many of the leads are very well done (particularly on “Stronger Days”), some of the more atmospheric melodies sound weak when layered into the final mix, and it gives some of what’s intended to be powerful moments a more low-key rock-ish feel. These instances of stunted songwriting clash with the less polished aesthetic of the vocals and production, making for a sound that feels awkward at times. The two piano interludes are also rather ordinary and unnecessary to the message of the EP, but their brevity means they don’t really disrupt the music’s momentum.
The reissue of this EP is rounded off with the inclusion of a song from the band’s first demo, “In This Silence,” which sounds quite similar to the regular material apart from an increased use of clean guitars. It’s a pretty strong track and a nice bonus for Daylight Dies fans, but its inclusion is hardly reason for those who already own this recording to shell out again. For appreciators of the band who have yet to hear this formative release,Idle is worth the price of admission. It’s a lively and enthusiastic debut release with some good songs that provide an interesting perspective on the band’s origins, but don’t go in expecting something that matches up to the standard of their later works.