Daybreaker is the fifth full-length studio album by the British Metal/Hardcore band Architects overall, and their fourth since the current frontman Sam Carter joined the band.
When the band began, their sound had about an eighty-twenty ratio of hard and heavy music with a clear Math-Metal influence to light and melodic music with a more Post-Hardcore direction. Over time though they gradually shifted that ratio by about twenty percent towards the more melodic and commercial side of their sound with each new album that they released. Many fans and publications felt that the band had hit upon the perfect formula on 2009′s Hollow Crown album and then the album which followed, 2011′s The Here And Now, was a step too far (despite also being a very good album regardless)
With Daybreaker the band have in-part toned the melodic and commercial side of things down by several notches and made a more logical successor to the style found on Hollow Crown. That being said however, Daybreaker is still their second least heavy album to date and the band have also in-part taken things one step further than on The Hear And Now, as there is a lot of synth, piano and clean singing. Additionally, the album features guest appearances from members of Bring Me The Horizon, Deez Nuts and Stray From The Path.
Daybreaker is rarely as heavy as anything off of Ruin or Nightmares and at times is more melodic and mature than anything on Hollow Crown (save for that album’s title track, which ‘Behind The Throne’ is reminiscent of here) for example the clean middle of ‘Day Break’ and the start of ‘Truth Be Told.’
As a generalization however, this album is also a lot heavier and more intricate than most of The Here And Now, for example ‘Outsider Heart’ and the other three pre-released tracks; so if you liked both Hollow Crown and The Here And Now then this album will likely satisfy you pretty well in a sort of best-of-both-worlds way.
There are several ways you can look at this particular album’s direction and the band’s decision to go a little heavier than last time. If you go for negatively; the band are cynically back-peddling. If you go for positively; the band are putting aside their own musical pride to give the loyal fans what they want, or lastly you can look at it neutrally, that these are just the songs that got written in this particular session with no real game plan. I’d personally land on the neutral option, but at the end of the day its up to you which to believe.
Depending on how you do end up viewing things it may colour how you view the album overall, but I would urge you to try and be as objective and open-minded as possible when listening to Daybreaker and to just allow the music to speak for itself. It may take several spins to really grasp all the little nuances from the performance and become accustomed to the shift in lyrical direction but I feel it is ultimately worth that initial investment in the long run.
As far as I am concerned, Daybreaker is a strong and enjoyable record when judged on its own merits. Tracks like ‘Even If You Win, You’re Still A Rat’ and the aforementioned almost-title-track ‘Day Break’ are up there with some of the best material the band have written to date and would fit into a live set very well, the standard of songwriting and musicianship is incredibly high and the only legitimate reasons not to like it are down to personal preference.
If you’ve heard the pre-released tracks ‘Devils Island,’ ‘These Colours Don’t Run’ and the single ‘Alpha Omega’ before hand, you can probably gauge how much you will like the album already; they aren’t necessarily the hands-down best tracks on the album, but are arguably fairly representative of half of the record’s main musical direction.
I say “half” because there are a few twists and turns in the album overall that aren’t covered by just those three songs (the entire opening & closing tracks and the proggy mid-section to ‘Truth Be Told’ for example, which are all very soft and slightly electronic, almost post-rock in sound) so if what you heard already before the albums release didn’t particularly do anything for you there is still reason to give the album a shot.
Overall, If you only like the band’s more extreme side such as on their debut and haven’t liked anything that they’ve done since, then Daybreaker isn’t going to change your mind at all. If you generally like most of Architects’ music, especially the last two albums, then it is a strong and well-put together album that you should give a try, because regardless of its direction it is definitely a masterfully crafted record.