Dool Summerland

Prophecy

Website:

Dool

Being a big fan of Dool’s first album, 2017’s ‘Here Now, There Then’, I was champing at the bit to hear their latest offering, ‘Summerland’, which will be released on Prophecy on April 20th of this fine solar year. As fate would have it our lovely, bearded editor happened to request, in the private Metal Experience Facebook group, a reviewer for the very same. Lucky me! No need, this time, for any groveling or animal sacrifices to get my wicked way. Everything just fell neatly into place, as if by enchantment. So mote it be! A few hours and some we-transfer dark magic later and the thing is sitting in my inbox. I then spent the next hour trying to work out how to get it to play through my Sonos system from my phone, finally giving up and opting for headphones. Fuck Apple and their shit cross-platform integration! Curse them!

Anyway, before I get into the dead white horse-meat and pagan-potatoes of this review, I would like to request some help from our readers, specifically: 1) How does one pronounce “Dool” and 2) What does it actually mean? On (1), I’m assuming it rhymes with “Tool”, although someone recently sowed acid-like confusion in my addled brain by telling me it should sound like “Dole”. Huh!!! Which is correct? Help! The first to enlighten me on point (1) will receive a pint of ale at the next Metal Experience Fest (September 26th at Gebr. de Nobel in Leiden... I love a bit of shameless plugging)... please comment with your answers on Facebook, if you can be bothered. Disclaimer: Only the first person to answer will get a pint, not everyone who answers... I am not King Solomon, not do I own a gold mine... not yet ;-) Regarding (2) I cranked up the infinite knowledge-fountain that is Google and crunched a search. In Dutch Dool apparently has several, rather disparate, meanings: to get lost, a little crow, insecurity, unrest, confusion, a ditch, and, most bizarrely, a bunch of fruit. Odd language isn’t it? Imagine... “I feel rather “Dool” today”... “Yes, darling, you do look like a bunch of fruit/little crow/ditch”. How ambiguous and very un-Dutch. In English it apparently means sorrow and grief... never knew that! I think I will stick with that. Either way I will ignore the Farsi translation which is penis and all of the definitions on Urban Dictionary, the best of which is a combination of douchebag and tool, as in “you are a big fucking dool, Bob”... quite like that one actually. Anyway, I am “dooling” here (in the getting lost sense), sorry, but please let us know what you think. Doolness!

‘Summerland’ has nine tracks and a very good, value-for-money runtime of fifty five minutes. Yes, there are some longish songs. The whole thing is nicely packaged with a rather grim looking cover... a foreboding, reddish-black shot of clouds/smoke, the band’s name and album title placed, minimalistically, just off-centre and up. Hmm, clouds, summer, land... must be a reference to Dutch weather between May and September. The album will be released in a variety of formats, and you cam even win a cassette tape (I believe). How old school. Better buy a pencil in preparation for that inevitable moment when the deck spits out the tape like fireworks from Blackie Lawless’ codpiece.

I was a little worried when I first heard track 1, ‘Sulphur & Starlight’, a few weeks ago. I thought it sounded too poppy/soft/commercial. In fact I switched it off, bad impatient me. However on listening it through a few times I really like the way it builds... it has the best of Dool... although in my opinion the song could have been a minute shorter... but hey, it ain’t my song. Track 2, ‘Wolf Moon’, I love it... this is Dool. It pulses, it rolls ominously, it shifts vibe, it promises much, it’s hopeful yet sad, it explodes, it has some beautiful harmonies, it takes you on a journey... epic, epic song! “The God Particle” opens with a Page/Plant-like, Arabic melody and percussion... “old hat” you say, well just wait until the dissonant string plucking drops in, then the bass and drums... absolutely awesome. This lot know how to write! In a way it reminds me of some of Selim Lemouchi’s best stuff... the chords, the layers, the oddness. I like it until about the four minute mark, at which point it seems to go off on a totally unnecessary tangent for about a minute. Perhaps I’m being too much of a song purist here, though. Thankfully it does return to Doolness towards the end of the song. ‘Summerland’ is the albums ballad. It’s Banshees and Sisters-like in feel, perhaps not in execution, and has some great vocals and twin-guitars. Love the harmomies and the “piano and steel string guitar in a big, fucking empty ballroom” outro.

Track 5, ‘A Glass Forest’ opens like a song from that Canadian dweeb, Bryan Adams. Dunno where I pulled that from but thank the gods that thoughts of Bryan are quickly riven in twain by the big fucking La Tene era Barbarian sword that is Dool. This song is an absolute masterpiece in every way. The heaviness around the 2m30 mark is just wow, wow, wow and the song has some fucking lovely harmonies and Ryanne’s voice is at it’s best here. It’s odd actually, her voice sometimes seems a little exposed when the music is at a low ebb, especially in the lower registers... but not here, it’s hauntingly beaitiful in fact. ‘The Well’s Run Dry’ is the most 80’s goth-like track. Great harmonies, crescendo, leads and the outro melody is just beautiful. It sounds hopeful, as if everything just got better on earth. The next two songs, ‘Ode To The Future’ and ‘Be Your Sins’ didn’t really grab me. ‘Ode’ is my least favourite on the album. The bridges in ‘Be Your Sins’ deserve an homourable mention... very interesting... but the song is built on an irritating Dynasty-era-Kiss-like triplet which, well, irritates me. I liked the song more the further it progressed though.

The last song is ‘Dust & Shadow’. I love the intro, in all it’s weirdness (mix a horror film ditty with a Caribbean kettle drum, wtf???) The way the riff falls in is obvious and expected but it works and heads will bang to this, I guarantee you...even if it does somehow remind me of The Gathering... but that’s another story. I really do dig the vibe of this song and I totally dig the way it unfolds. On the day that our earth finally succumbs to it’s vicious plundering by greedy, careless mankind then it’s this song that should be blasted through the heavens as we all depart into endless, black oblivion.

‘Summerland’, on the whole, is a pretty damn good album. It’s a logical follow-up to their previous effort and if you liked the first then you will like this second. The vibe is largely the same: A little creepy, dreamy in places, folk-horrorish, gloomy, hopeful and, in places, epic. The songs are stories and I like that. The harmonies seem more thought through on this second album and I love the way the songs change up. However, some of the songs are too drawn out and the formula of opening with slow, arpeggiated chords, adding layers, and then getting heavier gets a bit sameish in places. But hey, screw that, this is just damn good. A few years ago I was a little slated on Facebook for saying that I believed Dool to be one of Holland’s finest. I still stand by that statement, both on vinyl and live. Dool are a great fucking band and I’m really looking forward to hearing these new opuses live. 8/10, easily. (A.J.)

80/100

Tracklist:
01. Sulphur & Starlight
02. Wolf Moon
03. God Particle
04. Summerland
05. A Glass Forest
06. The Well’s Run Dry
07. Ode To The Future
08. Be Your Sins
09. Dust & Shadow