Dominium War Ritual Reviewed

Hailing from Richmond, Vancouver, Dominium are a black metal band that were formed in 1999. They have been described as a band that “hold the true old school black metal spirit” and they say that their mission is to “spread the plague of sonic terror”. I reviewed their latest release War Ritual.

The album opens with a strange and wonderful introduction. The impression of a marching crowd is created through the use of an effective drum beat o create the impression of building to a climax which comes at the beginning on the next track. Track number two, Decimated, is heavy, enthralling and dark. It is filled with interesting time signatures and exciting drums. The change in speed at 1:27 momentarily gives the song a lighter feeling which is a nice change in pace. The use of marching and sound of fire in War Ritual is creepy and feels like the song is falling into chaos. I would say this track is filled with noteworthy drumming; however, the name of the drummer on this album is nowhere to be found. Return to war setting at the end of the track is a nice parallel with the introduction, nicely rounding off the track. The next track, Screaming Death, is generally fast-paced craziness, which switches it up at around 1:37 to a slower, more substantial rhythm which I feel would be necessary in a live show for an audience that feels the need to move to this music. This is followed by Unleashed which features a change in rhythm which is effective and necessary after track four. The chaotic drumming and the guitar tone makes me think of old school punk; filled with angst and energy. I don’t really like Into the Black War. It starts with a deeper and darker sound which feels like it is preparing for dark sludgy metal but does not deliver and, instead returns to its former chaotic sound in a rather anti-climactic fashion. There are a lot of different time signatures happening in this track which I feel leaves it sounding confusing and left me unsure of what they were trying to achieve with it.

Beneat the Shadows is probably the most monotonous track on this album. It is slow paced and repetitive and, for the most part, the guitar work is dreary. The change at pace which comes at 2:53 is a welcome difference and definitely saved this track.

The track which follows, Witchfinder, is exciting and, in places, groovy. It is a frenzy of great drumming, fantastic guitars and apocalyptic screaming. The baby crying at the end is bizarre but not out of place on the track as you might expect.

The ferocity and fast-paced madness is not lost as the album moves into its penultimate track I Am Oblivion. The layered vocals work really well in this and the constant changes in rhythm mean that the track keeps the listener engaged.

The outro is the same drumming as the intro, nicely rounding of the album and bring it full circle to a close. It feels as though the listener has been taken on a music journey by Dominium.

Although they meet the conventions, this can be a blessing and a hindrance. The audience knows what to expect from the band and the band can predict what the audience wants but this can restrict what the band do. However, in this case, I think it worked out for the best as Dominium clearly know their subgenre inside and out and know what they want to achieve through their music. The album is not something I would go out of my way to listen to but black metal is not my first choice when I’m looking for an album to put on. If you’re a fan of black metal then I suggest you give it a listen.

TRACK LISTING:

1. Intro

2. Decimated

3. War Ritual

4. Screaming Death

5. Unleashed

6. Into The Black War

7. Beneath The Shadows

8. Witchfinder

9. I Am Oblivion

10. Outro

Review by Eileen Bate

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