Don The Reader

Don The Reader

BandMetalNew Age

Churning out a technical racket in the vein of Botch or early Every Time I Die, this is a malevolent beast of a record. This is pretty much an essential addition for fans of controlled sonic chaos.



If youre riding shotgun in a jet-black Trans Am thats careering across the 405 San Diego Freeway headed for an oncoming semi in a mess of fire, glass and bent metal and you have one of those moments of serene calm right before the whole thing becomes a hideous crime scene, then you can appreciate the sonic apocalypse of Don The Reader. With rhythms and guitars that start and stop like a convulsing crack head, ripping open a wound of chaos and insanity inflamed from screaming that sounds so drastic it could be coming from a torture victim, the groups music berates the ears with a forceful amalgamation of rage, bravado and, occasional cavernous ambience. This is brutal schooling in the art of catharsis, where the each grating passage feels like a sucker punch to the face and the quiet parts only last long enough for you to wipe the blood from your nose before catching another uppercut to the jaw.

The story of Don The Reader begins in 2006 in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, in the shadow of its immense shipping port. Spurred by a desire to create music that was both artistically engaging and completely different from surrounding trends, drummer Kenny Cullens, guitarist Sergio Hernandez, bassist Michael McCullough and synth player Mike Roberts began writing and playing songs with their friends that drew from the blaring grind of bands like the Dillinger Escape Plan and the Locust. Calling themselves Don The Reader after a suggestion from a previous singer, the group became enraptured by odd time signatures and technical playing and eventually began adding more ethereal, experimental passages into their already pummeling sound.

Right before tracking their first demo, Roberts stepped up to vocals and wrote his parts in a brief period of time before the sessions began. The band cite this as the turning point in their stylistic development, his confident and masochistic-sounding scream adding an entirely new element of desperation to the songs. Soon thereafter, guitarist Taylor Hoff was recruited from another respected band in the area. Although he was still in high school at the time, Hoffs playing style and youthful musical outlook added a fresh shot of adrenaline into the group, solidifying Don The Reader for good. They began writing in earnest, crafting what would become their debut EP in a collective environment. The band write all together in the same room, jamming, crafting, cutting and pasting parts while they discuss where the song should go. Says McCullough of their writing style, There is no one particular person who writes the majority [of the material] because we all have a particular spice to offer.

With the new songs in the mag and the gun aimed, the group recorded the new EP over the course of a few months this past winter with friend Chris Ozeene. Although the sessions were hampered by both financial and situational setbacks, what emerged is a sweltering testament to the ingenuity present in modern aggressive music. The songs explode like a twelve gauge: abrasive riffs searing of modern hardcore and traditional metal influences merging with a capable but schizophrenic rhythm section and Roberts devastating vocal performances. At times, though, there is peace, and the songs break for a passage of calm where the guitars reach the outer realms of a reverb-induced trance and the whole band catches their breath before launching right back into the mayhem.

For now, the members of Don The Reader all live within five miles of each other. Its an area they know well they all grew up there but Los Angeles has always been a bizarre wasteland of pop culture. The situation does have its advantages, though. Living in LA gives us more of a reason to write obscure music, says McCullough We want to scare the shit out of the common folk but at the same time reach out to them and help them break out of their shell. Soon, home will be a distant memory as larger opportunities a label, non-stop touring, a new album begin to manifest themselves. And for a bunch of dudes sitting on a nuclear bomb of potential, the only things thatll be left in their wake are the remnants of destruction.


Don The Reader EP - July 07
Upcoming Full Length Recorded By Eric Rachel - Spring 08

Humanesque - (released 10.07.08)