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Donoma - Falling Forward (2017)




Written by Dale Butcher, posted by blog admin

Right from the very first note of Donoma’s opening salvo “Sick” on the band’s second full-length release Falling Forward, it’s quite obvious that the band are not your ordinary rock group in the least.  Wailing violins, alt-country guitar rock switched from stun to kill, whirlwind rhythmic drive and a vocalist who howls like a coyote equate to a band whose ethos is as much frenetic punk/noise/metal as the country/blues/folk prophets that are trying to escape from the group’s amplifiers. 

The interesting part is that after the first track…things just get weirder!  These Wisconsin maniacs could very well be the soundtrack to a serial killer’s mind.  As often as it goes with the criminally insane, Donoma are sweet one moment and then unhinged the next.  For example, stack up the insane asylum noise-bombed punk/metal rushes of “Jack in the Box” and “Splinter” to the sultry 60s folk-fueled hard rock of “Another Light” and the dreamy acoustic drone of “Come with Me” and you’ll see just the kind of multiple personality disorders at hand here.  If that dichotomy doesn’t give you the full picture then just compare the wayward hard rock guitars, blue-eyed soul vocals and shed shaking, bluesy power chord riffs of “Memory” and “Unfortunate One” to “He Loves Me Not’s” Bette Midler on acid madness or the shifty, low-key Sinatra style stunner “Deep Beneath the Woods” and you’ll see that this outfit’s mindset never settles for one particular genre to master.  That’s what makes Donoma’s sophomore platter so enchanting and enrapture, the fact that no musical rules are held sacred.  Too many bands and artists fall into following the established templates of those that came before them.  While having a start point is perfectly admirable, it’s how you develop your sound from there that can make or break a career.  Donoma is all for the making, not the breaking. 

Falling Forward never falters over its semi-lengthy runtime and a cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” is not only welcome but manages to challenge the original in terms of its artistry.  Not only does the original material on this album shine but even the sole cover song is so fantastically performed that one can’t help to sit back and admire Donoma’s amazing resolve and attention to musical detail.  If you buy one rock album this year, Falling Forward will be the most rewarding choice you’ve made in some time. 

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Swirl’s recent video for their single “Rise Up” highlights all of the qualities that brought the band to the attention of Ditch Day’s producers. The popular movie highlights three songs from the Southern California four piece and represents some of their biggest exposure yet. It follows on the heels of their self-titled release and the songs selected for inclusion on the film soundtrack represent the quality of that release quite well. The band consists of lead singer Alfred Ramirez, guitarist Duane “DT” Jones”, bassist Shane Carlson, and drummer Brian “Bam Bam” Jones. Their vivid and muscular hard rock veers into outright metal at certain points, but Swirl never goes in for the mindless bash and thud sound so common to lesser bands in this genre. Th…