Monday 1 August 2022

Dome Runner - Conflict State Design

Labels: Self-Released/Starving Light Collective

Formats: Digital/CD

Release Date: 12 Aug 2021


1. Fuji Cracks

2. Imprisoned Existence

3. Unfollow

4. Impure Utility Of Authoritarian Power Structure

5. The Undemonizing Process

6. In Pain

7. Expire

8. Exit Design

Debut album Conflict State Design was digitally released by Finnish industrial sludge band Dome Runner in August 2021. It was joined by a CD pressing from fellow Finnish label Starving Light Collective around the same time too (at least I believe that to be the case, but correct me if not). I was contacted by both the band and SLC separately sometime ago about it and in typical fashion, I'm finally writing about it now (sorry to all parties involved for the severe delay). Dome Runner started life in 2017 and released their debut demo in 2020.

I’ve never really gravitated towards industrial music but I’m aware that as time passes, tastes change and I am a lover of sludge, so Dome Runner gets my approval. Plus, they’re Finnish so that makes me happy. Album opener ‘Fuji Cracks’ is a bizarre mix of both the aforementioned sub-genres and the experimental, hypnotic nature of Dome Runner’s sound is obvious right away. Oppressive percussion sits alongside droning riffs and vocals that slide between truly harsh reverb-filled screams, and spacey clean singing. Plus the colours used on the cover art remind of Fear Factory’s Soul Of A New Machine (in a very round-about way). 

Obviously, there’s no great similarity between the two bands, aside from the Industrial leanings to my ears, but please tell me what you think. ‘Imprisoned Existence’, much like the album’s opener, contains repeating electronics and a barrage of down-tuned instrumentation. The vocals are delivered with the intensity of a powerviolence band in parts, which is definitely in keeping with the rest of the Starving Light Collective roster. That said, the music here is definitely more mind-opening.

‘Unfollow’ gives you elements of thrash and groove metal with it’s simple but very effective riffage. The crashing percussion/samples render you incoherent while Dome Runner aurally attacks from all directions. I forgot how genuinely refreshing it was to listen to something far removed from what’s been on rotation for me recently (death metal, screamo). So far this album is a great listen.

The longest song on the album is ‘Impure Utility Of Authoritarian Power Structure’ and it’s a swirling mix of tempos and heavy textures. I use the term textures loosely though, as the sound that’s achieved throughout this album is anything but gentle in feel. It takes control of all of your senses and thanks to clever song-writing and sludgy tones, it very much stays on the right side of becoming a noisy, incoherent collage of sound. 

I wasn’t doing Dome Runner a disservice with the final sentence of that last paragraph, as I really dig this and ‘The Undermonizing Process’ shows why, as the band comes into their own with an ear-splitting hybrid of fast/slowness. The more you take this in the more you hear of their musicality. It’s extreme but it’s infectious too and if there was a song that truly summed up Conflict State Design it would be ‘In Pain’, purely for it’s constant groove. It may seem like I’ve run out of things to say at this point, but I’m really just taking a moment to soak it all up. 

‘Expire’ breaks me from my trance and in doing so, it quite bizarrely transports me back to when I was watching Turnstile’s Glastonbury 2022 set on TV from earlier this year (must be the clean vocals). Again, I know neither band are similar in any way. It’s just the colours my head paints. Closer ‘Exit Design’ is a gentle, ambient piece that calmly calls time on proceedings in brilliant fashion.

This is another prime example of why you shouldn’t pass up on the opportunity to listen to something new, even if it does take you nearly a year to actually do it (as is my case). Dome Runner are another reason why I hold Finnish music in such high regard. Likewise, Starving Light Collective too. Please give this album a listen if you haven’t done so already.

For Fans Of: Godflesh, Napalm Death, Killing Joke, Kurokuma and Fear Factory

You can stream Conflict State Design and grab it as a name-your-price download from Dome Runner below:-

Dome Runner -

I can't find any links to CD copies, but you can contact Starving Light Collective via the below link to see if any copies are still available:-

Starving Light Collective -

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