Dooms Children – Dooms Children
Released: October 20, 2021
Wade MacNeil // Lead Vocals & guitar
Ian Romano // Drums
Patrick Bennett // Guitar
Dan Romano // Bass
Alexisonfire is my second favourite band, and I deeply love Wade MacNeil. So I can tell you I was much excite when I heard about Dooms Children and so keen to listen. While I tend to lean towards the heavier side of things, I am willing to give almost anything a go. Plus – when it comes to AOF side projects – if City and Colour has taught us anything – they rock. But don’t come into Dooms Children thinking it’s similar to anything Wade has done before or been a part of (Gallows, Cancer Bats, composing for many things) or that he could easily join Dallas Green onstage with C&C. Dooms Children is its own mix of bluesy, psychedelic, rock with hard-hitting, emotional lyrics. Let’s take a look, shall we?
‘Trip With Me’ starts the album, and as the name suggests – it is a funky, psychedelic starting point with classic seventies organ, a groovy bassline, fuzzy guitars and hazy group vocals in the chorus. This song sets the vibe and gets you into the hippy dancing at Woodstock mood. Next up is ‘Flower Moon’, which is one of my favourites on the album. It starts with the great organ again and then slows down with soulful instrumentation. Wade’s gravelly vocals are perfect for the pained feel of this song and its poignant lyrics.
Wade has said that this album was him being as brutally honest as he could, working through a tough time in his life – having to go to rehab and the end of his marriage. Often, the lyrics in this album smack you in the face, so they should considering the subject matter. ‘Psyche Hospital Blues’ has a great example of this, the opening line being “My father cried when he dropped me off at rehab / caused so much pain / I didn’t even know”. This song is one of my favourite styles of song – heavy subject matter put to more upbeat music. The guitar in this song is just so good, and it makes you feel like you want to be on the back of a vintage motorbike in America riding past Death Valley. And I had those thoughts even before I saw the film clip, which is Wade riding a bike, wearing a long blonde wig and bandana – trying to capture an Allman Brothers type vibe as he puts it, and it works.
‘Skeleton Beach’ takes us right into blues territory with fantastic slide guitar and congos. I also love that the lyrics are so honest. This song has a kind of country, Dolly Parton/songs my Grandad used to listen to, but then the opening line is “I dropped acid in Toronto / before I caught a plane. I was high above the clouds / it was a perfect day.” I chuckle to think about my Grandad listening to a song with lyrics like that. The vibes in this song are ✨ immaculate ✨ and it’s about being chilled, high and heading to the coast. It’s airy and floating and the exact feeling of a chilled trip.
Next up is ‘Morningstar’, which is the song that most sounds like anything Wade has done before – initially. The instruments at the start gave me a slowed down part of Alexis’ ‘Dogs Blood’ but with an organ feel, but then it bursts back into the distorted, fuzzy guitar. The bassline in this song is also excellent. ‘Lotus Eater’ gets dark and moody, and Wade’s deep gravel is so perfect for this song. The song is six minutes of feels with a gorgeous chorus that says “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurts”, but you can tell the exact opposite is true.
I will say that this album is long – which I know some people are into, but honestly I struggle with sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, the back end of this album is brilliant; ‘Heavy Year’ references the death of Wade’s mum and other such heavy occurrences with gorgeous psychedelic guitars, incredible drums, and the trusty congos. There’s also the six-minute slide-guitar banger ‘Spring Equinox’ and ‘Stardust Lullaby’. The latter finishes the album in a slow, pretty way with some kind of flute throughout (my music theory knowledge is not good enough to tell you exactly what instrument it is). For me, though, the highlights are in the first half of the album, and I genuinely feel that a song or two less wouldn’t have hurt. I do understand that there’s a lot of story to tell, and Wade says he wrote a lot pre, during and post-rehab, so there’s a lot of material.
All in all, this album is brilliant. Baring your soul and being vulnerable, especially when the feelings are fresh and raw, is hard, but imagine bottling that and opening it up to criticism by releasing it into the world. A world where you are a well-loved artist known for a particular style of music, and this album is pretty far away from that style. The album was also co-produced by the talented Daniel Romano and features multi-instrumentalist Ian Romano, and guitarist Patrick Bennett so for nothing else that would tickle your fancy – the tight sound and instruments can be appreciated.
I really hope everyone gives this album a chance because it’s bloody good, and whether you’re a blues/psychedelic/rock fan or not, I truly feel you will resonate with something on this album.
Dooms Children – Dooms Children tracklisting:
1. Trip With Me
2. Flower Moon
3. Psyche Hospital Blues
4. Skeleton Beach
6. Lotus Eater
7. Heavy Year
8. Chinatown Glow
9. Spring Equinox
10. Friend Of The Devil
11. Stardust Lullaby