Dominion – Blackout – 4/5
A UK Death/Doom that may well have been years ahead of its time, for whilst the likes of ‘The Gathering’ and ‘Therion’ had begun to dabble in the use of female vocals, few had used the ‘beauty and the beast’ (a growled male vocalist and a clean female vocalist) vocals that would emerge later. Taking cues from the recently emerged British Death/Doom scene (My Dying Bride, Anathema, Paradise Lost), there is another element at work here, distinguishing them from their peers, a slight thrash or groove influence that results in a simple, but effective and insatiable bass driven melody. This feels more experimental, and may well be the sound to bridge the gap between death/doom and the gothic metal it gave rise to.
Straying far more into doom territory it must be said, providing a deep and distorted bassy tone it thunders on, combining a lean and aggressive tone, slow to change and hard hitting, with occasional use of slow-paced tremolo riffing to create a dark groove, a catchy and addictive melody that powers onwards. Working magnificently with the drum work, which provides a constant clear and prominent aggression, as he pounds furiously on the cymbals and succeeds in creating creative ‘drum leads,’ often almost as addictive as the guitar work.
Even the vocals seem to fit perfectly in their unique style. The growled vocals quite thrash-like in tone, they can be fairly monotonous at times but break up the lead vocals perfectly. Demonstrating a good range of pitch, as well as power, the leading lady can only be described is unusual, with a frequently relatively deep tone, sudden sharp transitions in pitch and volume it leaves it feeling jagged, earthy and ultimately ‘dark.’ Yet despite her unconventional manner I can’t fathom how anything else could work, it feels a perfect fit for their style, resulting in a distinct but effective sound.
Despite its simplicity, it remains effective in providing an addictive groove, of stylistically presenting a sound to be played with, with the touch of folk tones in ‘Release,’ the deep seated deathly aggression in ‘Prism,’ or the thrash-y ‘Today’s Tomorrow,’ they retain a core style whilst providing a plentiful supply of new idea’s to keep themselves sounding fresh. This is not just another clone band, they have succeeded in innovating and experimenting with idea’s well before they were commonplace, and they feel as fresh now as they did over a decade ago. Fans of the genre would do well to give this a chance
Highlights: Release, Todays Tomorrow, Prism