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Dool - Summerland

by Mark Machlay at 30 May 2020, 10:17 AM

Dutch rockers DOOL perfectly embodies all that is dark/occult rock on “Summerland” the group’s second album – after 2017’s debut “Here Now, There Then”.  With two members of famously occult outfit THE DEVIL’S BLOOD, namely bassist JB Van Der Wal and drummer Micha Haring, along with guitarist and vocalist Ryanne van Dorst – also known by her stage name Elle Bandita – are no strangers to the rock and metal world. Rounded out with two more guitarist – Reiner Vermeulen and Nick Polak – they create a rare three guitar assault on your senses that creates a deep, dark, gloomy atmosphere to their music.

Unfortunately, being a huge fan of both of the bands, I can’t help but notice the similarities with early LACUNA COIL and fellow Dutch band THE GATHERING, especially the latter’s work once they ditched the distorted vocals. Many of their songs employ a droning, trance-like main guitar riff as the foundational structure. Singles “Sulphur & Starlight” and “Wolf Moon” are perfect examples of their style: minimalistic but with grand choruses that elevates van Dorst’s vocals to an otherwise unexpected ethereal plane. “God Practice” features more quiet sections that have an OPETH level of complexity in its creepy and chilling vibes. The ending solo even reminds me of something Mikael Akerfeldt may write in his guitar lines except with a little more tremolo picking involved.

The first half of the album continues this trend until “The Well Run’s Dry”, featuring more groove, nearly a bop like a MORISSEY track with a harmonically satisfying solo and a cool doubling effect. Then “Ode to the Future” actually sounds it could be a modern rock radio hit despite the band openly stating they did not set out to write hits, instead letting the tracks breathe, and frankly balloon to an average track length of six minutes. “Be your Sins” is the first time I feel sufficiently rocked with a driving gallop-like riff, an organ sample to continue the gothic tone of the album and a solo suitably good for the change in style.

I find myself listening to this album a lot over the past week. The band has glimmers of past droning, gothic, occult style bands that I used to be into in the late 90's to early 2000's. It was a welcome throwback even if I long for more intricacy and complexity for my music nowadays. Van Dorst’s Patty Smith-like vocal style is hypnotizing and intoxicating over dark, dron-y, and crunchy guitar textures that are quite captivating. Ultimately the riffs can seem repetitive and the hooks are not as strong as they might like them to be, but I really dig the aesthetic the band is building. If they sound like your thing too, you should check them out and continue into their back catalog as I believe their debut was a better effort.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Sulphur & Starlight
2. Wolf Moon
3. God Practice
4. Summerland
5. A Glass Forest
6. The Well’s Run Dry
7. Ode to the Future
8. Be Your Sins
9. Dust & Shadow
Ryanne van Dorst – Vocals and Guitar
Micha Haring – Drums
JB Van Der Wal – Bass
Reinier Vermeulen – Guitar
Nick Polak - Guitar
Record Label: Prophecy Productions


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Edited 15 July 2020

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