by J. Doodle Lipscomb
Right before I first saw Schoolyard Heroes at Rush’s Coffeehouse in their hometown of Bremerton, a male friend of mine pulled me aside, pointed toward Ryann Donnelly in her shimmering gold dress, and admitted to me, “She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and when she sings, it’s like instant orgasm.”
I was taken aback. But after hearing her dramatic screams, I quickly understood him.
The sharp guitar shredding solos, the pumping of the drums into your heart, and the pulsating beat of the bass lends the band a scary and shocking edge to their performance alongside the stunning gothic queen Ryann on lead vocals. And to top that off, they add a bit of glam, making every show an experience. Ryann gets all dolled up in bright mini-dresses as if she is heading out for prom, but then you see her flushed skin and ripped tights and you realize, she's already had been to the prom. And she tore that place into pieces. Think Carrie but without the blood and with even more vengeance in her snarl.
The great range and styles she puts into her vocals are amazing. Sometimes she goes thrash ( “Body Shots”), sometimes she lends a smooth operatic sound to the sorrow (“Nothing Cleanses Quite Like Fire”), sometimes she goes confrontational (“Centaur: Half Man, Half Motorcycle”), like when I watch her battle rap against an audience member at the Capitol Hill Block Party.
There are also the rockabilly-meets-progressive numbers “Battlestar Anorexia” and “Funeral Parlour Tricks, with each beat being dictated by dotted notes to create a stopping effect, or a perfect beat for dancing in a sense that is so much more than the usual core dancing you may see at progressive metal shows.