Here Now, There Then by DoolRelease date: February 17, 2017
Label: Prophecy Productions
Dool is a new group made up of some serious players from the Dutch music scene, most notably the rhythm section of underground metal icons The Devil’s Blood – Micha Haring (drums) and Job van de Zande (bass).
If you are familiar with the late Selim Lemouchi’s satanic rock act then no doubt you’ll know all about the arrival of Dool, and the promise of excitement that generates. The set-up is similar too, with a female vocalist, Ryanne van Dorst, and with three guitarists being employed along with said rhythm section. Despite the pall of darkness that surrounds the bands lyrics and image, however, Dool is a different proposition sonically. Whereas The Devil’s Blood were often quite traditionally metal sounding, with a lot of Judas Priest-style riffage and Farida Lemouchi’s stentorian vocal delivery. Dool are more aligned with gothic and alternative rock. The bands press release mention Sisters of Mercy and Sonic Youth as influences, but whilst the former is obvious in the big, bassy swathes of the production and sultry delivery, the latter is impossible to detect. There is little sense of experimentation and of re-writing of rocks form. Dool are as buttoned-down and European sounding as any number of painfully earnest prog metal bands.
The star of the show for Dool, perhaps surprisingly is singer and guitarist Van Dorst a controversial mainstay of the Dutch music scene under her alter-ego Elle Bandita, she has tried her hand at everything from rather naff rap to folk rock, whilst slowly developing into a very confident rocker. She’s quite a character and in fact having checked out footage of their well received set at last year’s Roadburn Festival it’s fair to say this patchy album, with its rather dense and lumpen production does her a big disservice – she is a performer of real power and magnetism. I for one would really like to see this album performed live where I suspect it would be much more compelling.
Of the eight tracks on Here Now, There Then only four really hit home, beginning with the opening stealthy, haunting epic ‘Vantablack’. The album highlight is definitely ‘In Her Darkest Hour’, which approaches the melodic majesty of Ghost’s Meloria album, a small irony, knowing what fans of The Devil’s Blood Ghost are. The other two numbers follow straight after, meaning the middle of the album is where the band really hit the spot before it all sort of fades to black again. The driving ‘Owynegat’ is where the Sisters of Mercy influence is most obvious in its early stages, before becoming more mournful and yet seductive, with more good work from Van Dorst, and some excellent lead guitar work from Nick Polak (ex-Gold) and Reinier Vermeulen (ex-The New Media), mixed with anguished violins.
Then there’s ‘The Alpha’, with more sexy satanic seductions amid the muscular riffing “Maybe I’d be better of sleeping with the devils son” breathes Ryanne, already sounding pretty convinced!
The rest of the songs are not bad, they just don’t grab you. I’ve listened to this album at least a dozen times and it’s always the same tracks that make me stop what I’m doing and check the track listing.
I guess it would be unfair to judge Dool against The Devil’s Blood, but then again they have made much of their connection in the run up to this release. As it stands I personally think Dool are very much a band with their own merits who show some promise, but I guess most people interested in this album will have much stronger opinions, one way or the other, as to Dool’s worth. They have, in a way, made a pact with the devil which they may live to regret.