Worthless is the biting debut from Leeds’ Dao, a band that mix off kilter and tone-heavy riffs not unlike genre heavyweights Converge, with an underlying bleak British hardcore that runs throughout. This can be heard in both the pacing and Tom Drings’ production but predominantly in Lewis Millett’s brash vocal delivery.
Within the first 30 seconds of title track opener ‘Failure’, you’re subjected to a rabid flurry of angular guitar work, full on but breathable within the mix, allowing the vocals their comfortable position up front. Delivering up close and personal lows, Millett really doesn’t mess around and Dao are all the better for it – as blunt as a consistently dropping hammer. Millett’s drawn out and sustained growls are refreshing for the simple fact they’re not overdone, and never over stay their welcome.
This approach is maintained throughout the nine track, 22 minute run time – there’s no attempt at genre-defining or innovation on Worthless, but the release is stronger for it. Powerful production bolsters up equally strong performances on tracks like ‘Everything’, riffs being spread evenly throughout without ever being force fed or weakly applied. Millett arguably has a one dimensional approach to his vocal delivery, but it suits the dynamic of the instrumentation of Dao, and the quartet is tied up nicely with his direct output.
Dao don’t attempt to deliver a groundbreaking release with Worthless, but have in turn have created a solid and to-the-point release that is enjoyable on first listen, and continues to stand up to plenty more repeated listens thereafter.
Worthless is out now and can be purchased here.
Words: Bill Waters