Contributed by Sullivan Dildine, AMF Intern
DAYEATER is known as Austin’s loudest psychedelic trio for good reason. These righteous dudes put on a blistering live show that is felt as loudly as it’s heard. Dayeater’s influences are worn on their sleeve, consistently whipping out songs reminiscent of MC5, Wolfmother, and The Who. Putting your own spin on such an iconic sound is quite a task, but Dayeater manages to do just that, combining surprising time changes and fresh guitar riffs to make something entirely their own. With their latest single “Nightmare,” Dayeater provides listeners with a haunting homage to old school metal, while leaving fans a tantalizing clue to what their next album could sound like.
For the last three years, Jesse Lee, Christopher Brockett and Landry Jackson have been pumping out their blistering take on psychedelia as one cohesive unit, splitting all of the songwriting responsibilities and contributing to the aggressive presence of their bombastic live shows wholly equally. This old school approach is fitting of their aesthetic and refreshing in today’s solo-artist-posing-as-a-band dominated landscape. And the strategy applies well to the construction of their work, no one person ever overpowers the sound, each member obviously crafts their part to best serve the song. As in many of the legendary bands that inspire Dayeater, bassist Christopher Brockett builds the melodic frame that Jesse Lee, the one-handed guitar shredding extraordinaire, can lavish hooks over. On his approach, Brockett said “Rock bass guitar playing is really exciting to me because it has a long history of experimentation and people pushing the limits of what the bass can do. Whether it’s in jazz or experimental fields like Les Claypool or even Jaco Pastorias or Lemmy (Killmeister) with all full force drive ‘how much distortion can we put on a bass and make it sound good,’ you should always feel free to experiment with your tone and try to make it sound better. That’s what I feel like I’m doing and will continue to do as I play bass.”
Dayeater came bursting out of the gate with Voices Out Of Nowhere in 2017, and the album is aptly named. This 46 minute saga feels like an undiscovered hero of 70’s Rock hopped in a time machine to come slap you in the face. The first quarter of the LP flows so well from song to song while keeping the energy high enough it feels like a portable concert. If listeners can keep up the album rages on through its entirety, splaying riffs and harmonies with wild abandon. The effort is as lyrically brave as it is sonically, taking on everything from heartbreak in “Won’t You Go Away” to the threat of GMOs in “Chef Monsanto.” The punches kept coming with the release of the bands self-titled album the following year, Dayeater proved their sound could still get tighter. Dayeater, the album, prioritizes structure over energy, and the investment pays off. “Ballad of Kalliope” is a dynamic odyssey that builds a hooky wall of sound in the first half, only to tear it down and build a new one in the second half. “W Out Lies” shows off the strength of the trio as vocalists, weaving harmonies through a massive guitar sound effortlessly.
Clocking in at just over 9 minutes, Dayeater’s most recent single, “Nightmare” could practically be an EP of it’s own. Pulling more from old school metal than ever before, this sweeping journey into a new dimension of the band has all the breakdowns, lyrical imagery, and solos that would make Ozzy blush. The song starts like a corpse clawing from the grave with a slow heavy riff that feeds into haunting vocals, but the corpse starts sprinting right at the 4:20 mark and from there, listeners are helpless victims to the total mindflayer that is Dayeater. The corpse runs so fast it falls apart, “Nightmare” ends with a macabre harmony calling into the night, leaving fans to wonder what will come next for these last ambassadors of old school rock.