by Lindsey Williams & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & I & lt;/span & f there's one thing that the members of Doom Lit Sky hate, it's hardcore.
Bassist and vocalist Kyle Ewegan puts it simply. "We hate hardcore kids and their cheerleading dancing."
And they just might be able to justify their hatred by the refinement of their sound. They're hard-working musicians who favor a cataclysmic blend of speed-oriented sound and dark melodic structures, based on a tradition of extreme metal that hardcore can only hope to suggest.
For those unfamiliar with recent trends in popular music, hardcore can be described as a simplified form of extreme metal. Removing the speed and skill that had been associated with extreme metal from its inception, hardcore has instead simplified various metal techniques and dumbed-down both the content and the musical prototype. Hardcore musicians often employ a style-conscious stage presence that more often than not involves fingerless gloves and butt-enhancing jeans -- a mentality that many less fashion-concerned musicians who describe their metal as "extreme" find offensive.
"Things about hardcore like tough-guy attitudes, lame breakdowns and shitty beats are distinctive to that type of music," says drummer Cameron Olson. "And it's annoying that they can get away with taking stuff from metal that belongs to you."
When it comes to metal conventions, Doom Lit Sky references extreme metal roots while developing their own unique combination of styles. Consisting of Ewegan, Olson, guitarist Jason Griffith and vocalist and guitarist Justin Ray, the band describes its music as "blackened grind."
"It would be nice just to call [our music] metal, but there are too many 'metal' bands giving it a bad name," says Ewegan.
The band serves up a stomach-wrenching combination of the satanic vocals and rhythm-oriented and melodic components of black metal with the earth-shaking, warp-speed assault of grindcore. There's not a lame breakdown in earshot.
"It's about flow, harmonization, cleanliness and speed," says Olson.
"And a few melodic pieces," adds Ray, "for the ladies."
Although the band jokingly says their subject matter is simply an ode to "anti-hardcore" music, the band's dedication to their craft is quietly expanding an enthusiastic fan base. Since beginning (and playing their first few shows) as a two-piece with original members Olson and Ray in early 2002, Doom Lit Sky has played a series of packed shows, including an opening slot for thrash legends Anthrax earlier this year. They're enjoying growing popularity in the Inland Northwest and are planning a series of short tours along the West Coast this summer.
"We're trying to see what audiences think," says Griffith, "Find out what people think of us."
The band recorded a five-track demo in 2005, appropriately naming it At War With Hardcore. They're planning to record a full-length demo within the month and make it available to both local fans and to concert-goers during their tours. As always, their formidable mesh of metal styles will be diametrically opposed to current music trends.
"We're not playing to appeal to a large crowd," explains Olson, tongue in cheek, "Otherwise we would play Yanni."
"We're playing what we want," says Griffith. "We don't care what people think."
And what of the people who might write off Doom Lit Sky merely as a set of fierce-looking musical elitists?
"Hardcore is a display of anger," says Olson simply. "And true metal is an outlet for anger."
Doom Lit Sky at Fat Tuesday's with Necrophagist, Neuraxis, Arsis and Alarum on Sunday, May 7, at 8 pm. Tickets: $12; $15, at the door. Visit www.ticketswest.com or call 325-SEAT.