Doppler, Inc. - Nu Instrumetal

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Favored Nation
Catalog Number: FN2450-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:26:00

Doppler, Inc. is a quartet made up of Doug Doppler and Steve Sarina on guitars, Atma Anur on drums, and Uriah Duffy on bass. The music they produce is somewhere between metal and fusion, thus the album's title Nu Instrumetal. It's fuzzy and dirty and grungy and not at all pleasant in that tough-guy, take-no-shit kind of way. I'm not saying it's not good stuff, just that it's stuff with an attitude that you wouldn't want to cross. If the music were buzz-saws, you'd be all cut up and bloody.

As hard-edged as the material is, the most metal-heavy piece, at least in terms of the backing instrumentation is the closer, "Five Hi" (with guest bassist Stu Hamm*). Strip away the guitar pyrotechnics, you'd have some real thrashy metal stuff going on, something "lacking" "cookie monster" vocals? not really lacking, of course, since it's just find an dandy without them. Add some sweet guitar soloing though, and what results is?thrash-fusion. For a brief moment, Hamm gets a moment out front, then he subsumed back into the body of the beast (though he's well part of the beast).

Guitar is at the center of every piece, as you might have guessed, given that Doppler has lent his name to the moniker. This Doppler reading says the weather outside is hailing fire and brimstone, while white hot lava bears down on you. There's nothing subtle here, nothing understated. Nothing "pretty" to please the "ladies," as they say. Though "Like Father, Like Son" comes close, it being a mellow, balladic piece, with a mid-western flavor in the laidback drums, snickering percussion, and walking bass lines. This is a showcase for Doppler's fretwork, however, both in expressive "vocal" lines as well as speedy soloing. It's a "at sunset" kind of piece that evokes orange and pink skies and a see-forever landscape. And "Starcrossed Lovers," a piece that you might suspect would be the mellower, balladic piece isn't. It does have, at times, an AOR (e.g., Journey) feel, though it never shakes its metal-fusion skin at all, and never ever becomes sentimental.

The album opens with "Fat Lip," which will give you one as it comes charging out of the gate and stomps right over you. Parpy keyboard-like tones feature prominently, although it is guitar. Niacin bassist Billy Sheehan guests "Bring It On," which also features Night Ranger guitarist Brad Gillis. It's a piece that groans into existence, like an amorphous being stretching and taking shape; Sheehan's bass tone is fat and throbbing. Guitars at about the halfway point have grown shrill; for the second solo (Gillis) they have a throatier shrill tone. Not my favorite piece because of those shrill guitars.

"Fire Down Below" -- hell no, fiery right here on the surface if the fiery, white-hot guitar solo is anything to go by. You'd have to be fleet-fingered to avoid being no-fingered. "Wrecking Ball" and "Bumpin' Grind" are the more expected metal-fusion we're familiar with from, say, Planet X.

Two tracks stand out for me for one reason: their use of voice-box guitar. And the resultant dirtying up of the sound to match. "Wicked" is just that, a throaty, evil piece with some equally throaty subvocalizations that sound like "? big fat bruise." This use of voice-box guitar (or what sounds like) returns later on "Funky Armadillo," where clearly the words being said are "funky armadillo." And yes, the track is funky, played with, I'm sure, wide grins. At least live as you can hear the camaraderie between the four loudly here. About halfway through, Sarina and Doppler trade leads as the sound pans from left to right and back; though mostly the two guitarists sound front and center, playing in lockstep.

The take-no-prisoners approach to Nu Instrumetal leaves you exhausted at the end. Gotta love the power, the drive of it, though. Drums are present and felt, but I kept thinking that they didn't have enough presence in the overall mix, that the guitars dominated a tad too much. It's not a bad release, though, and is high energy enough to be a fun listen and doesn't wear out its welcome. What will probably rattle around in your head long after is "Wicked."

Fat Lip (5:29) / Fire Down Below (4:41) / Wicked (4:17) / Grind (4:07) / Wrecking Ball (4:40) / Funky Armadillo (4:34) / Like Father, Like Son (4:34)

Doug Doppler - guitars
Steve Sarina - guitars
Atna Anur - drums
Uriah Duffy - bass


Billy Sheehan - bass (9)
Brad Gillis - guitar (9)
Stu Hamm - bass (11)

Nu Instrumetal (2005)

Genre: Fusion-Jazz Fusion

Origin US

Added: August 6th 2006
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1107
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]