Daniel Lioneye are a side project that includes HIM members Linde Lindstrom (vocals, guitar), Mige (bass) and Burton (keyboards) along with drummer Seppo Tarvainen. Vol. III is their third album since their inception in 2001, and first since 2010.
As a band, Daniel Lioneye can’t be slotted easily into one specific genre. Their first album was sleaze rock and their second was industrial-laced black metal. Vol. III can be described as modern metal with gothic and black metal influences, and their most accessible to date.
The accessibility starts with the production. This is a slick, clean recording with an aggressive punch to it. Growling bass is audible throughout, with big but not brash drums. Guitars have that clean, modern distortion, and the keyboard effects augment the sound nicely. The mastering squashes things as we’re used to these days, but not to the point of annoyance.
Songwriting for the most part is formulaic but catchy and enjoyable, with a good deal of variety. First single “Ravensong” is the mellowest song on the album, while second single “Aetherside” has a thick, plodding, foreboding riff. “Alright” and “Neolithic” (a remake of the same song from the 2011 album) feature aggressive riffs, blast beats, and black metal rasps.
Vocals are a tossup here. Linde’s voice sits low in the mix, and his laid-back, goth-influenced recitation of the lyrics comes off as the album’s weakness – until you listen closely to the words. On “Break It or Heal It” Linde croons “please read my suicide note,” and on “License to Defile” (both strong songs, by the way), we hear him muse “maybe I will try to kill myself, just to see you cry, it never hurts to try.” These are worrisome lyrics. Someone should check on these guys and make sure they’re okay.
Vol. III is an enjoyable record musically, but the gothic, nonchalant delivery of depressing lyrics won’t be for everyone. Overall this album adds to the diversity of Daniel Lioneye’s catalog and will be a highlight for fans of goth-tinged modern metal.
(released August 19, 2016 on The End Records)