Battle of Mice: A Day of Nights

It is both impossible and inappropriate to separate A Day Of Nights from the narrative out of which it was created. Not only is the fluctuating personal relationship of Red Sparowes’ Josh Graham and Made Out Of Babies’ Julie Christmas part and parcel to understanding the gripping and emotional content in the music, but it’s also the catalyst for it in the first place.

Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, they hate each other, then they love each other, then they love each other on opposite coasts of the US, then they hate each other again, then they make an album. Or something like that. Apply the names where needed and you should be all caught up.

Mathematically speaking, then, the entire Battle Of Mice concept should be a clusterfuck of epic proportions, but instead, it is easily the best ambient metal release of the year, pushing aside releases from both Graham and Christmas’ main outfits. An excellent example for the old rock cliché that very often contempt breeds brilliance, the coming together of these two musical forces is like the meeting of the cold and warm fronts that trigger a devastating thunderstorm, with bolts of lightning that look like tree trunks in hell. The music is powerful, the vocals pristine, effective and heart-wrenching.

And to top it off, (to stick with the simile) providing the thunder behind that lightning is the team of bassist Tony Maimone (The Book Of Knots) and drummer Joel Hamilton (Players Club, also Book Of Knots), with Hamilton also serving as producer. They add a thickness and presence to the overall sound of the band without which it would be rendered emaciated.

This album is one of those rare flashes of greatness that comes along once in an almost never, stings you like a slap in the face, and is gone. Like the drunk’s moment of clarity. If you’re not left with red finger marks on your face by the end of it, you might want to rethink your musical taste.

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