Friday 27 February 2015

Dominium - War Ritual


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

There songs may read like the album that Metallica or Slayer never made, but they are in fact the work of Richmond, VA black metallers Dominium. War Ritual was released last year by US underground label Horror Pain Gore Death Productions and was Dominium's first full-length, despite them being active since 1999. Their pedigree is such though that way back in 2000,  they opened up for Mayhem! More recently they've played with Hellgoat, who I featured here not so long ago. War Ritual was released on CD and digitally.

War Ritual begins with a medieval-folk vibe on the Intro. Towards the end though, things get a bit scarier! First song proper, Decimated is pure hatred in musical form. I’ve spent a lot of time listening to ambient and atmospheric black metal in recent months, so being confronted with a strand this menacing is a shock to the system. Both the rhythm section and guitars are raging, while the vocals are possessed shrieks that bury themselves right within your synapse. The title-track gives you clue as to the direction that Dominium is taking. From the militant marching beat of the intro to the progression that follows, they prove that there’s no time for rest while there’s evil to be spread! It’s well-known that Richmond, VA has a vibrant and burgeoning heavy scene but I didn’t realise that Satan’s black talons were so prevalent there. Screaming Death was the song title that prompted me to mention thrash metal in my opening paragraph and despite the song’s subtle elements, the blasphemous screams banish any thoughts of keg parties and whirlwind head-banging in favour of spikes and corpsepaint. The pace of War Ritual is unrelenting, with Unleashed signalling the midway point with a precision battering of double-bass and razor sharp riffs. I find that often, this strand of black metal can suffer when the production ins’t as forthright. Thankfully, there’s no such issues as Into The Black War. It’s icy and raw, but the volume of the mix helps to make things more engaging for the listener. Beneath The Sickness is Dominium’s longest number of War Ritual and while its pace isn’t necessarily slower, the staple set of riffs throughout the song give it a hypnotic atmosphere. It’s a welcome change to the barbaric undertones. Dominium hit full-gear with Witchfinder. It contains probably the most intense drumming on the whole of the record. They have an apt song-title in I Am Oblivion, which is the last full-throttle song on here. With the Outro, it all ends amongst a wash of ringing feedback and hauntingly sinister tones. In a musical climate where bands like Watain and  Behemoth are heralded as genre leaders, Dominium have proven themselves to be worthy of higher praise. I’ll be honest, I favour Dominium to those earlier mentioned bands and War Ritual may be my favourite release from Horror Pain Gore Death but by my own admission, I’ve still got a lot of catching up to do.

You can stream and purchase War Ritual here:-

Dominium Facebook -
Horror Pain Gore Death Productions Facebook -

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