The wonderful folk over at INVERSE RECORDS sent me an email regarding a band by the name of D.O.L, asking me to check them out. Initially formed in 2017 as more of a metalcore outfit, they’ve since restructured and now, consisting of members MC on lead vocals and guitar, fellow guitarist Hades, bassist Jyka, drummer Catsy and keyboardist Lauri, we find them peddling in more Gothic rock affairs. This month saw them release their debut EP by the name of “Between Love And Death” ...so with that in mind, let’s get dolled up and find out where exactly.
The EP opens up with “Recreational Death” which is officially my new favourite term for suicide. What do you do in your downtime? Oh you know; a little crochet...spot of yoga...a little recreational death here and there. I digress; the track kicks off with some slow, steady percussion and minimal riff-work before it undertakes a more synth-driven sound. The electronic tones in turn both counter and compliment MC’s vocals which are admittedly, really quite coarse, but they blend well enough. Combined with the harder rock backing, they sound like they’d easily appeal to fans of ENTWINE or maybe on a lesser scale, THE BLACK CAPES for example. The guitar solo is great too, this is a promising start.
There are a few enjoyable offerings here to be fair, such as the lead single “My Juliet” which puts a lot more emphasis on the synth elements for an ever so slightly colder, darker albeit catchier listen. The general instrumentation is very much more leaning towards a classic rock style, as proven by another impressively slick solo, with the more Gothic aspects being a subtle underlaying aesthetic giving their sound just that extra touch of flavour. Closing track “Love Denied” too utilises the same qualities allowing for a wonderful dose of catchy alternative rock, ending the EP on a genuine high note...but...there is something we have to address, and lads; you were doing so well.
It’s not uncommon for a new band looking to get noticed do so by means of a cheeky cover song...HIM did wonders with “Wicked Game” after all...but when you make a song your own, you’re meant to do the song justice, not make the original artists want to disown the fucking thing! The track in question is “Hurt”...yes THAT “Hurt”, by NINE INCH NAILS. The original was such a somber, haunting recording it became instantly iconic and to this day remains a definitive Gothic anti-ballad. The late, legendary JOHNNY CASH braved a cover himself but his own stripped-back, acoustic rendition was so emotionally raw and powerful, he arguably bested Trent Reznor.
Here however? Oh boy...it starts off well enough with the slow-burn introduction and musically there’s nothing wrong with attempting a harder approach, sometimes a new take, a new twist on a track can have surprisingly effective outcomes...but vocally? Merciful god, MC sounds like he actually IS hurt, like, in actual physical pain...like the poor fucker stood on some Lego while walking into the recording booth. His angst-ridden forceful vocal is so jarring with the original that it sounds wrong, like it’s not even the same song. I’m not exaggerating when I say despite being DEAD for the past seventeen years, Johnny Cash can still do a better job! Despite this, there’s enough original content here that shows a lot of promise as the five-piece move forward, and they have a plethora of Finnish alternative dark-rock bands to take notes from while they find their own sound and style, but that cover needs to go. Hurt? I just became addicted to painkillers THINKING about it.