DayGlo Mourning – Dead Star Review

I sometimes get the impression that stoner metal, more than any other genre, seems to be limited to the 2.0-3.0 range. It’s a genre that’s hard to mess up completely, by virtue of sheer simplicity, but for the same reason does not seem to lend itself to a lot of surprises or innovation. I remember a comment in a discussion about stoner, of which a paraphrase would come down to “stoner doesn’t have anything left to strive for because Kyuss created and perfected the genre with the same album.” But still, there are exceptions. Elder and Boss Keloid are two prime examples of putting a different twist on stoner, Clutch has been an offbeat banner-carrier for years and even lesser-known acts like Realms of Vision get to tweak the formula a little. Does DayGlo Mourning’s Dead Star take break new ground, or is it the same old song?

Well, let’s just say we won’t be seeing a new leap in evolution today. But that doesn’t mean Dead Star is a bad record. Far from it; this is a power trio in the classic sense, and they know exactly what they’re after. Huge, swaggering riffs cruise by somewhere vaguely below mid-pace, stuffed to the gills with fuzz. The drums, courtesy of Ray Minor, are sparse and heavy on the cymbals, but when they hit they hit hard. Jeremy McNeil handles the fat, throbbing bass with a subtle touch, but not much of that subtlety remains when he pulls open his throat and belts his best caveman belt, with Joseph Mills on back-up vocal. Mills is also responsible for those big muscular riffs, as well as a bunch of excellent psych-out solos, elevating “Bloodghast” in particular.

And these three are well aware of the strengths and limitations of their type of material. The 6 tracks are over and done in 35 minutes, and that’s to their strength. It never feels like the band repeats themselves or draws things out needlessly, even though most of these tracks are built around just one or two riffs. “Dead Star” is the obvious opener and single, featuring a burly riff and a catchy chorus full of cathartic belting. “The Offering” and “Faithful Demise” use more clean tones and vocals, pouring on the psychedelic rock vibes thicker, whereas “Ashwhore” is downright dark, almost nearing sludge in its grimy grit. It’s a good, diverse set of songs, ending strong with the bass-heavy, enthusiastically rumbling “Witches Ladder.”

The diversity does show a bit of disparity between the heavy fuzz and the cleaner sections, as the latter simply don’t feel like the band’s comfort zone. While they do add a little more variety, they don’t seem to progress the tracks in which they’re used all that much, feeling more like pauses between the ‘proper’ material, particularly on “Faithful Demise,” pushing it into the back of the pack qualitatively speaking. The production, on the other hand, is actually fairly well done. The mix is nicely balanced, with points for the delicious bass, and the music has real weight to it without relying on loudness to get it there.

Although the technicolor retro-sci-fi cover art is outstanding, DayGlo Mourning isn’t going to stand out too much from the pack of heavy, fuzzy stoner doom metal bands, doing little but following in the footsteps of those that came before. But that’s okay because what they lack in originality they make up for in focus and heart. Dead Star isn’t going to make its genre a lot of new fans, but those who already enjoy the simple pleasures of big, basic, buzzing riffs done well won’t regret spending a few afternoons spinning this delicious bite-size offering.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Black Doomba Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: February 12th, 2021

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