Indie Prog Band Facing Daylight Drop Debut Single “Rain of Fire”
There is no genre like metal. That’s just a fact. There is no sound in the world that can compare to the mathematically perfect union of deafening drums, crunchy guitar chords, and ear-splitting vocals that make up a heavy metal track. To the casual listener, true heavy metal may seem like a relic of the past, perfected by 80s juggernauts such as Metallica and Iron Maiden. But to the astute and observant metalhead, there is not a better time to be a fan. All over the country, from bustling metropolises to towns so small they barely show up on a map, indie metal bands are making their voices heard, and finding ways to redefine Rock&Roll for modern audiences.
Metal is seeing such a resurgence that there too many bands for anyone to listen to in a lifetime, so let’s take this one band at a time. Today’s featured indie metal group goes by the name Facing Daylight. This ragtag group of teenagers hails from Indianapolis, and while they may be young, their sound is anything but. Their debut single “Rain of Fire”, released on May 6, is oozing with innovative prog metal sounds, and raw rock emotion: let’s take a deep dive.
This track is a roller-coaster, a two-minute and fifty-second long ride through the depths of prog metal. The opening guitar riff is electrifying and asymmetrical, accompanied by background chords that immediately give the song an anthemic vibe. The drums and the vocals enter at the same time, both equally as heavy. The vocals are piercing and high-pitched, something that I hope will become the signature of lead singer Franny Church.
“Rain of Fire” epitomizes one of the signature elements of the prog genre, the duality of fast-paced and idiosyncratic drums merged with soaring and rhythmic vocals. This combination makes it impossible not to keep listening, as your ears are forced to switch between the beat the chords, and the vocals.
As quickly as the vocals came in, they sharply exit, leaving just the drums and guitars to carry the opening verse. The riffs are infectious, oscillating between the rambunctious drumming of drummer Jack Ireland and the guitar combination of JD Meyer and Vince Glasener, all in a minor key that is gives the song that dark and edgy feeling that is inseparable from the metal genre.
This trade-off between the soaring chorus melody and the driving beat continues throughout the middle of the track. The lyrics are anthemic, evoking images of anguish. It is clear that the songwriting process was deeply personal.
Then comes the bridge, at which point the song feels as if it takes one giant breath, as we as listeners can momentarily pause the headbanging and just vibe. The heavy instrumental breaks and we are left with one eerie guitar with a tone quality that sounds almost acoustic while retaining metal’s signature edge. The riff is simple, characterized by nothing more than a basic strumming pattern, but the chords are ominous and offputting as if foreshadowing what’s to come.
And then out of nowhere, the drums are back, quick as lightning they re-enter. This bullet-like drum fill leads up to the second part of the bridge, where Church’s dynamic vocals soar over the top of a relatively simple drum beat, relatively being the keyword there, this is metal, after all, nothing is ever simple.
The bridge builds and builds until culminating in another instrumental section that can only be described as earth-shattering. The guitars and drums are turned up to 1000, I’m surprised my speakers didn’t break. It is at this point that I nearly lost my composure, and all because of a guitar solo. Like a gift from the metal gods, the guitar solo explodes out of the track. It’s fast, it’s dark, it’s electrifying, and no written word can ever do it justice. You have to hear it to believe it.
When it comes to metal, sometimes the bass can be unappreciated, shrouded in the cloak of the overall instrumental, but the bass tones of Zander O’Brien are anything but shrouded, they are grungy as hell, adding to the power of this track. The track ends with another iteration of screaming vocals, as Church hits notes I’m pretty sure aren’t on any standard piano. Just as abruptly as this track began, it sadly ends, my only complaint is that it was gone too soon.
As a music nerd, and a fan of the prog greats like Yes, King Crimson, and Polyphia, I could go on and on about shifting time signatures and unique harmony patterns, but honestly, I don’t need to. For the diehard metalheads, “Rain of Fire” has everything a metal song needs. For the newbies, this track serves as a great introduction into a genre bursting at the seams with culture and history. Facing Daylight have some maturing to do, but for a debut group this young I could not be more impressed. I’m expecting big things from them in the metal world and beyond.