DOMINE - "STORMBRINGER RULER - THE LEGEND OF THE POWER SUPREME" (DRAGONHEART)
Reading the press release accompanying this CD is like reading the transcript of a Monty Python sketch. Especially the sentence "After the release of the album, the band begins live activity, playing a sold out gig in Athens, Greece," which wraps up with "in front of 600 crazy metalheads." The press release is filled with irrelevant and unimpressive factoids that only detract from the album. I know for a fact that these silly press releases usually decrease my opinion of the accompanying product, so with considerable mental effort I set to listening and writing...
Italian band Domine play prog-ish power metal with more than their share of the usual lyrical cliches of the genre. Their previous album impressed me so little that I callously asked a friend of mine to write the review, and he wasn't impressed either. Curiously, not long afterwards he did move to Italy. Whether that was to get closer to Domine or further away from the Delegator of Bad CD Reviews is beyond me to conclude. Anyway, you will be glad to read (as was I to hear) that the band have made some progress since then.
After the intro, the album starts with "The Hurricane Master". Such as the title betrays, it's an up-tempo cut, much in the vein of Rhapsody actually. It's a pretty good track despite some teeth-clenchingly high power metal vocal sections. "Horn of Fate" is another good up-tempo track. The first climax is "The Ride of the Valkyries", which harkens back to Manowar and Iron Maiden a tad, and incorporates Wagner's classical theme, well done. Unfortunately it starts off and ends with some virtually solo vocals, which reveal limitations in timbre and English accent of vocalist Morby. Still, the track as a whole is pretty excellent. "True Leader of Men" is probably the fastest track on the album, one of those 'victory' kind of songs. It is followed by the melodic, good "The Bearer of the Black Sword" and "The Fall of the Spiral Tower". One of the obligatory ingredients of any power metal album seems to be a ballad. "Stormbringer Ruler" is no exception, unfortunately. "For Evermore" sounds uninspired, though after about 2 minutes it gets some balls. So-so at best. The album wraps up with "Dawn of a New Day - A Celtic Requiem", another very OK track and worthy album closer.
Vocally, Domine may not be equally accessible to everyone. Other than that, the band have succeeded in delivered a commendable CD.
Written November 2001
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