Make Me a Donut are a Swiss progressive deathcore group. Let me put the emphasis on progressive here, because you're not about to hear the latest Whitechapel or Suicide Silence album. Actually, when I heard the goofy name, I expected the output to sound a bit like Germany's We Butter the Bread with Butter. With that in mind, imagine my surprise when what came out of my headphones seemed far more akin to the chill, melancholic aesthetic of Kardashev. I may have missed their debut Olson and come months late to the topic of this review, Bright Side, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from putting the spotlight to another unique, young band with a different take on what metal can be.
Let me return briefly to the "deathcore" label. This is something that I would gather that a) the band or label included to increase the reach of their net, or b) was tacked on by listeners for lack of a better term. Really, the only aspects of the music that connects to the genre are the deathy vocals and occasionally djenty playing style. In other words, they only appropriated the best parts to create a strong frontman presence and keep a technical vibe to the guitarwork (and the bass guitar too, I might add). And in regards to the latter, these proggy hooks still have more in common with Warforged, Arreat Summit, and even WRVTH than anything else. The 3-part saga in the middle of the album even ends in some pretty traditional jazz musicianship, dropping the vocals in favor of something with a bit of class.
To be Make Me a Donut is to be in a constant balance of opposing sounds. Tracks like "Elusion" put angelic pinch harmonics, piano, and clean vocals right up against death grunts and binary palm mute crunching. One song will be a more standard bit of mathy progressive death metal, the next will be a post-tinged instrumental. And as if to confirm the support of the larger mainstream metal community, the crushing title track features Courtney LaPlante of iwrestledabearonce fame. Rather than being a quick cash-in, this track works on many levels for me. Again, you have the counter-intuitive juxtapositioning of somewhat ambient bells(?) and simple, effects-driven leads with more aggressive rhythm guitar and drums. This is not even mentioning the killer screams of both vocalists.
As if none of that was enough, Bright Side ends with a track called "Between" that is equal parts Meshuggah, tribal drumming, and electronic ambient. Jazzy guitar solos abound amidst a super-technical framework of strangely (and expertly) subdued heaviness. Those last two words could probably sum up this whole album. Make Me a Donut is a heavy band, make no mistake, but it's like they have bridled a wild stallion: you know the thing could kick you off at any minute, you can sense the palpable tension...but with the right rider that energy is harnessed into a truly impressive ride.
You can stream Bright Side in its entirety below, and I encourage you to do so. I am just glad that I didn't ultimately miss out on these guys, because they truly are the cream of the crop when it comes to what can otherwise be a highly generic genre.