Review: The Halo Effect “Days of the Lost” [Nuclear Blast]

Review: The Halo Effect “Days of the Lost” [Nuclear Blast]

- in Reviews

If this was the 16th century, I would probably be accused of heresy, convicted and sentenced to death by the end of this review.

In my defence though, I have always mentioned that I could possibly be the world’s most disagreeable person, that music is quite easily one of the most subjective forms of entertainment, and unlike a politician making campaign promises they can’t keep just to win votes, I will shoot straight. Even in the face of impending death for my heresy, my views will stay true.

Now that I have hopefully softened the blow, let’s get on to the album. This is obviously going to be well-produced and musically adept. Obviously! We have a list of credentials here as long as my arm and saying these guys are big is an understatement. This is a super group of note, and for good reason. In Flames, Dark Tranquility, Grand Cadaver, Ceremonial Oath, Hammerfall and excluding a whole host of other projects and bands among these members is what we’re dealing with here. So you would almost be able to bet your house on this being a class act that brings the goods. It is proficient and well-produced, but… and here is where I get tied to the rack… it is melodic death metal and it’s quite subdued. Objectively it is melodic death metal that may be evolving, as so many bands have done, but subjectively I would never listen to it, even though I did, several times for this review. The problem I have with melodic death metal particularly evident on this recording, is the melodic part of the death metal, it’s often just too heroic and/or anthemic. Anthemic is fine, but not tweaked to sound delightfully anthemic, or heroic sounding with a healthy dose of obviousness. So when I hear those heroic and obvious melodies that lack a certain sombreness or aggression, my interest quickly fades.

Collectively these members have a long and varied musical history and apart from the turn of the century In Flames that sadly began to take on some metalcore and nu-metal sprinklings, everything else these guys have been involved with or in has been creative and/or intense. Unfortunately this is what Days of the Lost lacks. Compared to all previous work done in different bands or on different projects by these guys, this debut is in my opinion quite a bit lower in the rankings. The surprising thing here for me are the credentials that make up The Halo Effect. One would expect a gathering of Swedish musical royalty this grand to deliver something way more creative and noteworthy. That has not happened and I have a feeling this album will not be remembered as one of the greats. In fact I find it quite subdued and Mikael Stanne’s vocals were way better suited to Dark Tranquillity and Grand Cadaver than they are with The Halo Effect. I would like to have heard more clean singing because his raspy vocals became too much by the end of the album, which I think also speaks to the subdued nature of the music. This album does not have the wow factor but it would be interesting to see where they go on a second album at some point. Especially given what we know they’re all capable of.

As an overview, albeit brief and simple… I just don’t find this album exciting at all. It lacks creativity and feels like it’s in that awkward phase of evolving that may see the band spend a bit more time experimenting before going to studio on the next album.

Before I end, I also always mention the album artwork and this is no exception, it’s beautiful, one for the wall. And I will also always advocate you give the album a listen for yourselves.

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About the author

I am a South African born Australian who fell in love with metal at the ripe old age of 8, when I heard Motörhead for the first time. The rest as they say is history! I am a Newcastle United fan, and I have two daughters who hate my music but love my team.

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