The mix of black metal and shoegaze (aka, “blackgaze”) seems absurd on its face, and yet it can work brilliantly, as shown by artists like Alcest, Deafheaven, and ISON. The mix of “blackgaze” and Christianity might seem similarly absurd on its face, but Daygraves’ music is proof positive that it, too, can work.
The anonymous one-man band from Austin, Texas blends distorted riffs that are equal parts searing and soaring with bloodcurdling vocals and evocative, worshipful lyrics. (Or as he posted on Instagram: “[N]obody wants to hear a metal record about how cool my wife is or what I had for breakfast… I just figure if I’m going to yell about something, I should tell about the things that mean the most to me.”)
For example, 2020’s Silver EP opens with “Morning Stars,” which uses language from that climactic scene in the Book of Job where God redresses Job (“Tell me where were you when I established the Earth/If you have understanding, tell me you know”). Meanwhile, the EP’s other songs pull directly from the Psalms.
On “The Final Empire” single, Daygraves compares God’s incomprehensible nature to his own mortal frailty:
Holy One, You empty oceans. You snuff out suns.
Fill me with their fear and fire.
Bring the light until there’s no place new to shine
The end of darkness is the death of me.
All of which leads him to ask (or rather, scream) that age-old question: “And who can deliver me from this body of death?”
Finally, the Nocturns EP — a split release with fellow blackgazer Within Thy Wounds — features some of Daygraves’ strongest and most dramatic songwriting, with burning riffs and screams aplenty to rattle the gates of Hell itself.
All in all, bracing stuff that I’m glad to have discovered via this article from HM Magazine highlighting a number of excellent “faith-based” black metal bands.