The modern-day rock album seems to be a cleverly marketed ploy for our money. Stuffed with ramble riffs with hackneyed soulless drones, we often download to our iPods albums that rarely fulfill the promise it once marketed. However, next month when the reunited rock super group Dark New Day finally releases “New Tradition,” a record that had been vaulted for several years by their former label Warner Bros, fans will finally receive that rare special album made up of talented musicians, excellent production and most significantly an album that delivers a full emotional experience from the first track to the last.
Bands often forget to keep a cohesive link between their sound and the emotions in the lyrics. Dark New Day isn’t one of those bands as they are consistent through the entire album. The start of each song builds up to the song rather than insert you into oblivion. Then once the scene is set Hestla and the guys are masterful in their lyrical storytelling. The men demonstrate a keen understanding on how to build the emotion and keep the connection.
From “Fist From The Sky” to “Burn Your Eyes” in between is forty-nine minutes of rock music that takes us on an emotional journey that only such an experienced conglomeration of lifelong friends could deliver.
In “Come Alive,” the second song on the album tunnels us into a psychological man-versus-self battle. Will Hunt, drummer from Evanescence, sets up the internal emotional atmosphere with spectacular thunderous percussive beats, electric cymbal clashes as singer Brett Hestla, formerly of Virgo Merlot, delivers a powerful sermon about the confrontation with the darkness within. The guitar work from Sevendust’s Clint Lowery and Evanescence’s Troy McLawhorn feel like an intense aural duel for power, brilliant match between sound and rock poetry.
At times the messages in this album feels close to the borders of Christian rock. The song “Sunday” is an apt example as it is filled with reverent descriptions. Hestla clearly sings, “Wait ‘till Sunday morning when I’ll see light . . . nothing matters but the hereafter.” But because Dark New Day doesn’t go to the next level to directly quote passages from scripture the fine line and the messages are still open for listeners to translate on their own. These rock veterans have written an album that rocks out serene spiritual wisdom to pass onto the listener.
Dark New Day’s best on “New Tradition” is their high-octane song “I Don’t Need You.” Here the guys greatly satisfy our rock receptors with fast paced head banging riffs while Hunt is tremendous with euphoric combinations of difficult insane drum patters. Hestla’s vocals in this powered rock anthem slide smoothly, rushed with adrenaline, before authoritatively closing with a crisp exclamation of freedom. The anger, fury, vengeance suddenly compresses in the middle of the song to a simple quiet epiphany: “I’ve got no more time/For those who bleed me dry,” before going on to the explosive volcanic vocal end.
Every album will have one or two songs that will fuel fan debates about its great or not so greatness. Regardless of the one aberrant song, Dark New Day’s sophomore album “New Tradition” is still a great album. These life long rockers bring their best to deliver a timeless rock album that has the potential to be this year’s best. Bit early to decide that but it goes without saying that Hestla and friends have certainly set the bar high for other groups to top Dark New Day’s brilliance in this album. “New Tradition” promises to be one of the albums in your library that won’t lose its luster, even after the century play count.
Look for Dark New Day’s “New Tradition” due out February 28th, 2012.