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Album Review: Days of Departure – “Days of Departure”

Dabbling in the Sci-Fi, while wrapping it all in Progressive Metal and adding vivid storyline, comes the self-titled debut album from DaysofDeparture. The brainchild of guitarist Matt Kozar, this album is “an intriguing blend of ambient, prog, and post-rock that the band combines with well-woven stories that tell of the destruction of our planet, and the need to evolve to find a new way forward for survival.”

Formed in Washington, DC, DaysofDeparture consists of band members Michelle Schrotz (Vocals and Keys), Matt Kozar (Guitars and Keys), Trevor Schrotz (Drums), Ben Kelly (Bass), and Scott Loose (Guitars and Keys) who created their album as a way to take listeners on a journey from decimation and tragedy to a realm where a new consciousness is formed and a reality that will snap the infinite loop of life and death. They use a wide range of elements and dynamics to form an atmosphere that evokes understanding and a feel that puts listeners in the center of the narrative.

Contrasting intense sonic blasting with rich and airy auras, this album is a “post-rock-alypse with vocals”, and I’m happy to say that such a fierce statement is correct. Velvety ambience is created from the very beginning, that takes your hand and leads you through the devastating lows and tempting highs of a story that’s as much about rebirth, and rediscovery, as it is about our flawed society.

The first track off the album is “And We Prepare For Our End” that exquisitely paints the images of a world at collapse. Tragic, lingering chords string us along the sightlines of decay while gentle drums illuminate the amassing trauma. Vocals are light, almost blurred in contrast to the melody to allow our imaginations to run freely. At 8-minutes in length, this track takes us through our fault and demise, granting us full immersive indulgence into the story by keeping things light, and tranquil; choosing to display the journey with musical complexity rather than harshness and in-your-face vocals.



“The Edge of Annihilation” continues the story with chords growing in sound, strummed softly but, echoing out a strange sadness in their tune. It picks up speed but, doesn’t fall to chaos, allowing vocals to become more prominent and add further vision to the scenes in our mind. The rain of fire, the desperate need to find shelter, and the calamity that surrounds us. Vocals give a gentle Cranberries feel to the track with hanging highs that settle deep and elude to feelings of dread and despair. As the song picks up, we’re greeted to rising guitar solos, and a melody that quickly encompasses the soul; easily earning it a spot in my favourites from this album.

The third step in our journey is entitled, “The Light in Our Eyes Grows Dim” – an atmospheric track hellbent on fully inflicting sorrow upon us. It’s eerie, with waves of well-orchestrated moments of fear in light melody and growing noise. The bits of chirping birds and approaching shadow create a feeling of helplessness that overall allows this track to not only build on its fearful aura but, its storyline’s progression as well.

“Pierce the Sky (Conflict” brings the story’s climax to the frontlines with combating vocals of serenity and the need to fight. Drums add a layer of anxiety before guitars pick up, swaying to a rhythm of fire and bloodshed. It keeps the momentum of battle at the front of your mind while adding images of firefight and fleeing masses to the fold. The mix of heavy guitars and gentle melody that bounce off one another adds truth as the story unfolds; showing the rise, the fall, and the chaos that swirls around it all with detail and dedication.

“Ex Machina” focuses on guitars to keep the atmosphere on a higher level of energy and sound. Vocals run wild on a field of fallen bodies as reality sinks in and a path must be chosen – do we stagnant in our faults, or do we move forward?



To follow the chosen path, “Life Prevails” emerges. A song of rebirth amplified by a musical composition that depicts struggle and change. Guitars produce notes of hope, with bass trying to drag down our confidence, with battling keys and drums energizing the fight. Vocals create a feel of worry, with bits of faith and hope touched upon before collapsing on a note of uncertainty and fear. It’s musically complex, adding depth to the story it tells that grants us the sight on how each choice can truly affect our future.

“The Future Has No Form” provides us with an uplifting interlude that remains musically neutral while its creation offers glimmers of hope that still battle an unyielding chaos. As we struggle to emerge from the fray, weary and overwhelmed, we begin to understand and take the next step forward in our evolution.

“Living Matter” is a higher track with a rock-like melody that stays solid throughout. It offers intervals of tender vocal spotlight, while harmonies draw back to allow its prominence to shine through. It depicts our rebirth in new form as we come to contemplate our past and adjust to the pain that comes with moving on. We come to understand we were the cause of our own downfall, and though we have learned from our mistakes, we must evolve to never make them again.

The melody of this track is beautifully crafted in its balance of rock-like intro and ballad-mid to show the changes in emotion from realization to optimism, and the determination for change. Lingering keys are embraced by harmonizing guitar strings to bring about a reel of contemplations and inner monologue we can feel in our very core.

As the story begins to end, “Awaken To The Beyond” showcases our new form in its entirety. It has Lacuna Coil’s Comalies album feel to it as it dances on an alternative sound of rhythmic guitars and well-paced drums. Backing bass creates a solid foundation of what could be, and what will be as the melody grows in strength and sound. Guitars and vocals emerge, united to show redemption and the opportunity to break the cycle of destruction and rebirth. As the story comes to an end, it is still met with uncertainty as displayed in the musical variances of this track but, the chance to choose a new future is upon the horizon and the music picks on that as precise intervals to bring smiles and warmth to a generation renewed.

“The Beyond” is the closing instrumental of the album that proudly boasts the freedom that this generation can finally come to embrace. To be released from the repetitive cycle of self-destruction and surrender to infinite options of new life, new perspective, and the beyond.

In the end, it is not in the destination but, in the journey and self-discovery. Not only does this album tell a visually stunning story, it opens our minds to our own questions and discoveries, allowing us to explore what we may simply come to ignore as we stagnate our growth and opportunities to thrive. Musically complex, Days of Departure have truly created an album that not only visually stuns, but takes songwriting, and musical prowess to new, unimaginable heights.

Favourite Tracks: The Edge of Annihilation, Ex Machina

Release Date: March 25th, 2022
Label: Bravemusic
Rating: 9/10
Track Listing:
1.) And We Prepare For Our End
2.) The Edge of Annihilation
3.) The Light In Our Eyes Gros Dim
4.) Pierce The Sky (Conflict)
5.) Ex Machina
6.) Life Prevails
7.) The Future Has No Form
8.) Living Matter
9.) Awaken to the Beyond
10.) The Beyond

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