Doan is a progressive alternative metal from Montreal, Canada. The band began as a cover band, playing songs by Tool, Alice in Chains, and Deftones. The influences were evident when it came to time to writing their own compositions. Stupidity Kills is the debut album of original Doan songs.
As the title suggests, the theme of the album revolves around the shortcomings of humans, stretching from the individual’s mind to our collective mentality as a species. The opening track “Some Kind Of” examines how humanity is unable to coexist, and how war is a part of our nature. “Step Back” talks about how advancements in technology are leading to our own devolution. “Happy Sobriety,” the shortest track on the album, is about the pharmaceutical industry and our pursuit of happiness through medication. What Doan is proposing is that it’s not a singular event, but rather a multitude of unhealthy habits and obsessions that are digging our grave.
I remain on the fence with Diane Thibault’s vocal style. Her delivery ranges from a slam poetry rhythm to long, drawn-out notes, as if she’s chanting some kind of incantation. She channels the spirits of Maynard Keenan and Layne Staley, while developing her own sound. At times, it blends well with the music and builds an atmosphere of mystery, mostly due to the amount of reverb on her voice. It sounds best on the chorus of “Madness or Reason” in particular; Thibault’s melody doubled with a voice of a lower register makes for a chilling effect.
On the other hand, it’s clear that English is not Thibault’s first language. It can be heard in her pronunciations of certain words. The occasional grammatical error takes away from the overall poetry and profundity of her lyrics.
Guitarist Nicholas Roy is the driving force of the band, alternating from heavy distorted hooks to slow instrumental breaks, and playing around with a variety of effects pedals at his feet. Bassist André Labrecque and drummer Olivier Roy are the glue that holds everyone together. Roy also recorded and mixed the album, which can be an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time, in that he knew the sound he wanted to go for, but would have benefited from getting a different pair of ears behind the board.
All in all, there’s no new ground being broken on the album. It’s the same formula that’s been used time and time again, with some degree of success. It has the ability to engage a number of dedicated music listeners while boring others in need of something fresh. We are all aware that we are speeding towards our eventual self-destruction, yet we choose to stay apathetic for the most part.
Written by Chris Aitkens
*edited by Kate Erickson