Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Band Review: Doomsday Student

     Arising from the ashes of several other projects, Doomsday Student resounds frenetically, their sound rife with notions of psychosis. The joke is that all that seeming insanity, sexual dysfunction, bodily malfunction, and obsessive-compulsive behavioral manifestation is underpinned by solid musicality and a highly disciplined sense of ensemble. In other words, this band is tight.
     To get a real sense of just how dead on these guys are, see them live. Their album, A Jumper’s Handbook, which is available for downloading at Anchor Brain records, does a fairly good job at conveying the jagged abrasiveness of their music. But, there is something slightly tame about the sound of the record. Live, all the latent potential bottled up in the recording comes bursting forth with ferocity and that collective rhythmic sense that is so satisfying.
     Craig Kureck, the drummer, is a human metronome. Not as overtly technical as someone like Gabriel Serbian or Zach Hill, his style is based on isorhythmic concepts, a reiteration of a few ideas, repeated almost to the point of redundancy. Craig’s dead solid sense of internal feel is what makes it succeed. This complements his phrasing style and overall musical instincts. There is a subtle intricacy at work in the way he utilizes the hi-hat that brings to mind some trippy version of jazz drumming, and the ‘four-on-the-floor’ bass drum bombs that clearly articulate the quarter note pulse of the music are also of interesting note.
     The interplay of the rest of the band continues and extends musical concepts that have been experimented with for years in this particular sector of the ‘underground’ scene. Stephen Mattos and Paul Vieira create a guitaristic framework that is more indebted to a linear as opposed to a riff-based style of thinking. In other words, their approach to writing guitar parts is closer to classical contrapuntal thinking as opposed to straight-up rock-based riff writing. This is not to say that they are creating ‘classical’ music. That would be a profoundly stupid thing to try and assert. It is to say that the tendency within this group of people to think in terms of stacked layers of melody creates a musical texture that is closer to classical writing than straight up power-chord rock style. Even in terms of the drumming, this melodic style can be felt. The interplay of the drumming and the guitar parts further confirms this hypothesis; Craig’s phrasing complements the guitarists phrasing at the same time his drumming solidly lays down the meter.
     On top of this, Eric Paul delivers the vocals in the manner he is known for- amelodic, half-shouted in a highly nasal upper register whine that suits the demands of the situation better than anything else would. As in past projects, the symbiotic nature of the vocals and music is highly intriguing. The schizophrenia of Eric Paul’s persona is mirrored by the schizophrenia of the group’s utterances. To truly get it, you have to hear it. Eric has always been a singular entity.

Check 'em out at:

Also, Anchor Brain records, home of Doomsday Student, is Eric Paul's Providence based label. Please support Providence rock and roll. Thank you.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love this band. Love Arab on Radar. Good Analysis