When Shayley Bourget left Of Mice & Men to start a more rock-oriented project, few expected Dayshell to have such a unique voice. The band’s debut fused the feel and melodies of groups like Deftones, Chevelle, and Incubus with an almost progressive metal/djent bend. The album had the standard issues that plague debuts but showcased that there was something special brewing. Thankfully, Nexus finds Dayshell completely blowing away the high bar set by their solid debut. The riffs are more groovy and technical, while Shayley’s vocals are transcendent. It doubles down on the elements that made Dayshell good, and it’s easily the best, catchiest groove-laden modern metal this side of Periphery. It’s certainly painted more in the context of rock than metal, which makes the tunes in Nexus extra potent.
As expected from a project started by a vocalist, the songs are really damn catchy. “Low Light” and “Spit in the Face” are two easy highlights, and they showcase the silky smooth and down and dirty aspects the band excels at in tandem. The first features quite possibly the best hook you’ll hear all year, while the second is a triumphant anthem, with some of the best guitar work from the album. “Terrified” allows Shayley to show off his soulful voice; it’s not Jonny Craig, as it’s got a bit more bite to it. Also, unlike Craig, Bourget really knows how to write a melody, as the vocal and guitar melodies throughout Nexus are truly ace. Aside from a couple slightly underwhelming by comparison numbers (“FTNW” and “Rush Hour”), there’s nothing that isn’t fantastic and impressive.
Dayshell have clearly stepped up their game on album number two. Shayley’s voice is at its best here, and the music finds the right balance between hard-hitting, smooth, and huge, just as an album influenced by Incubus, Deftones, and Periphery should. It’s the sound of a talented band becoming great, and it’s sure to be one of the best rock records of the year.