Dool – Summerland

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Prophecy Productions
Released: 2020
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Ryanne Van Dorst – Vocals & Guitar,
Micha Haring – Drums,
JB Van Der Wal – Bass,
Nick Polak – Guitar,
Omar Iskandr – Guitar.

1. Sulphur & Sunlight
2. Wolf Moon
3. God Particle
4. Summerland
5. A Glass Forest
6. The Well’s Run Dry
7. Ode to the Future
8. Be Your Sins
9. Dust & Shadow


Subgenres are a funny old game in music. It seems the longer the human race continues to exist, the further we want to pigeonhole our music. Words get bolted to words and the world’s music vocabulary digs further down. We gotta go deeper! So with characteristic obfuscation in these opening sentences, we come to the dark rock stylings of DOOL.

Yes, dark rock. So there’s now a niche for rock music that is less about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, and more about sex, drugs and nihilism – who knew there was a need for a bonafide term to encapsulate it (hint: goth rock). Okay, that’s enough of that before we descend into another round of “old man yells at cloud” – how is the band’s sophomore effort, ‘Summerland’? In short: pretty good. There is a quiet majesty about their music that you just don’t get with a myriad of other acts out there. The songs carry an “epic” sort of quality, sprawling out at great length and winding through their narratives with thinly-veiled mysticism. It is very easy to lose oneself to the album’s winding takes on finding your place in the wider world.

Their sound doesn’t quite break out into your typical Marshall stack-powered rock roar, but it does enough to drive itself forward and into your brain. The use of clean and acoustic guitars throughout, with the chiming progressions of “Wolf Moon” and folk-influenced “A Glass Forest”, very much reminds of the Pagan influence that the album’s title draws from. When the guitars do up the gain, it’s a little more fuzz than bit-crushed distortion, but no less impactful. The mystical and winding “God Particle”, with it’s glorious “Can you relate to me?” refrain, presents a sizable amount of chunk to get the teeth into, whilst closing duo “Be Your Sins” and the melancholic “Dust & Shadow” demonstrate the band at their darkest and, arguably, heaviest.

If you squint, there is a touch of modern OPETH about DOOL, especially with those final songs. Hell, the Hammond that carries the bridge of “Be Your Sins” could feasibly be a ‘Heritage’-era cut from the celebrated Swedes. But the cleaner guitars, the winding and proggy songs alongside powerful vocal melodies, especially those on the ballad-y title track do indicate that DOOL are still very much their own band. They ably mix a blend of “classic and post rock, Midde Eastern flourishes, psychedelia and metal”, as described in the accompany PR kit, so rest assured that there is no aping about here. Fans of Åkerfeldt et al., though, won’t feel too out of place giving ‘Summerland’ a spin.

The earlier rail against the whole “dark rock” term may be a little bit of an overreaction to the band’s PR description, but if anything it rather belittles them. Whilst ‘Summerland’ doesn’t quite reach the aggression or edge of metal, the mixture of the aforementioned genres combines delightfully into a meandering and esoteric blend of progressive rock. There is a darkness that permeates throughout, and it is a bewitching and compelling quality that adds a touch of complexity and depth to proceedings. DOOL’s name may be derived from the Dutch for “wandering” but they certainly know the way to making pretty sweet music.