Doom music gets a bad reputation. I included have judged them in the past to be headbanging Neanderthals who scream lyrics and just rock out to the loudest guitar in the room. Well recently after meeting a handsome and smart man who admitted to me that he was a Doom music lover, I recognized maybe I was being harsh. If someone as smart as him found something in that music then maybe, and I do mean maybe, I should pay attention and give it a try.
He mentioned Messa as part of a long, and I do mean long, drawn out rant about how Doom bands are underrated. When he mentioned that Messa, an Italian band, used a piano and saxophone as part of their music, I became intrigued. After all since I played alto saxophone for 8 years in junior high, high school, and 6 months at college, I must be a music aficionado. I wanted to hear what Doom would sound like with these additions. OK Doomer, show me what I am missing. His pick “She knows/Tulsi” which he found on YouTube in .8 seconds.
It starts off slow with the piano and it almost sounds like music you would go to sleep with. Soft chords and mellow montage of beats for the first two minutes of the song. Then guitar/bass and the drums start to build. And almost like sex, the guitars lay down this amazing chord progression that breaks into what you expect will be more of the guitar and maybe a few screaming lyrics. Oh contraire my frère, it slows down again and you hear the lilting voice of the lead singer, Sara. It’s this compare and contrast between these soft sections that you may hear from a pop love song and these kick ass Lady Gaga forceful belting of a story that is delivered to your soul. Her range and ability to move you through the music are really phenomenal.
“She Knows” moved straight into “Tulsi”. This ends up be 14 minutes of musical delight. Yeah this is from me, I sat through 14 minutes. I can barely get through a full TikTok video. “Tulsi” starts with this amazing guitar dueling of the beat that raises your blood pressure. Till at about 2 minutes when they drop the bomb and it makes even the Taylor Swift in me want to move my head and throw the horns up to the music. This section is amazing. It makes me feel like I’m in a James Bond movie only there is no hot man and I am certainly not Halle Berry in a swimsuit. As the last piece de resistance, they add in the saxophone. Totally unexpected! The sound it brings to this song is literally stunning. Almost akin to a jazz piece but with the drums driving you all the way to the end.
Friends if this is modern Doom, then us popular mainstream pop fairies are missing out. These two songs from Messa had depth and character and told a story. And grudgingly, I had to give props to the Clean and Sober Stoner that maybe he was right. Maybe they are getting a bad wrap. Thus I have committed to be Luke Skywalker to his OBI Won Kenobi. Now I am not sure all of these bands that he rattles off that seem old and obscure are going to be worth it. There are others that he has already made me listen to that he calls Golden, that I am not sure are worth a damn. But I am committed to at least listening and trying to appreciate this art form. And I plan to share that with you. After all, if this pop fairy can become a newbie doomer, then so can you.