Tuesday, 3 April 2012

MORBID ANGEL - Domination (1995)

01  Dominate
02  Where The Slime Live
03  Eyes To See, Ears To Hear
04  Melting
05  Nothing But Fear
06  Dawn Of The Angry
07  This Means War
08  Caesar's Palace
09  Dreaming
10  Inquisition (Burn With Me)
11  Hatework

Domination is the fourth full-length studio album by death metal legends Morbid Angel, released in 1995. This was Morbid Angel's last album under the label Giant Records, before the company filed for bankruptcy. The band then re-signed with their former label, Earache Records. This would also be the last album to feature vocalist David Vincent until 2011's disastrous 'Illud Divinum Insanus'.

In contrast to it's predecessor, which features a muddy and murky sound, Domination features a great production. Everything is loud and clear, with good instrument separation, yet at the same time, heavy and thick - an increased budget is perhaps one of the main factors for such an improvement. This works to the benefit of the material; a song like "Where the Slime Live" would not be nearly as effective with a less bass-heavy production. The drums, however, suffer a little - Pete Sandoval delivers yet another outstanding performance, however, he does sound a bit restrained, due to a slightly sterile drum sound. The overall tempo is generally much slower than anything the band had done previously, although there are still some very fast songs like "Dominate" and "This Means War".

All kinds of interesting musical shapes wrap this album, along with some of the most brilliant arrangements and lead effects, probably the best I've heard coming from Morbid Angel. Domination does show a more experienced and skilled band at work, their minds expanded and their creative juices flowing. "Hatework" is actually the stand-out here for me. This song gives off such an incredibly hateful, sinister atmosphere of doom that there is really nothing else like it on any of Morbid Angel's other albums. Along with "God of Emptiness" from 'Covenant', this song showed that Morbid Angel were willing to experiment a little, unlike some of their peers at the time. Composed of deep (possibly David's deepest ever) vocals, marching drums and a mind-blowing solo at the end, this song wouldn't be out of place on a doom album. It's simply a masterpiece.

I know all too well that 'Altars Of Madness' had more impact in the metal world than anything else the band put out, and in theory this album is just a great extension of what the first few records created. 'Domination' is a testament to bold creativity and atmospheric death metal; it represents Morbid Angel at their peak, both success-wise and in a musical sense. This record is therefore essential to the casual listener and to the die-hard fan...

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