Dominaeon Album Review

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Wednesday 11 Jan 2006 (Michael Bugeja - The Malta Independent)

Without a doubt one of the foremost metal acts to emerge from the Maltese music scene ever, Doom-mongers Forsaken have slowly but surely overcome the limitations of having an isolated island as a home base. The role of the international metal underground’s close-knit network has certainly been a vital cog in Forsaken’s wheel of fortune, but to be fair, the band itself has toiled hard and sacrificed a lot to get to where it’s at today. In fact it is thanks to the band’s professional outlook and dedication, as well as passionate performances (both home and away), that their following has now spread across many borders, and, by the sound of their third and latest full length release, Dominaeon, and the strongly positive acclaim it has already received abroad, the future isn’t looking so gloomy for Forsaken after all!

Crafted in a manner that seems to ooze a more reflective twist underneath the elaborate lyrics than previous outings (probably because of its spiritual concept), Dominaeon wastes no time in picking up the pace with the imposing title track, all six and a half gloriously riffed and revved minutes of it, but there is more in store here than heavy guitars and Leo Stivala’s vocal aptitude. After Paradigm of Chaos’ meltdown, the album lets the measured weight of Obsidian Dreams loose, enriched as it is by the Orff-ian choral accompaniment that adds even more muscle to this intense, epic number. Equally incisive, intricate and inspired is The Celestial Alchemist, largely gliding gently forward on an acoustic twang, clearcut vocals and again, a choral wrap that eventually propels the song to its towering climax.

By the time Daylight Dies sets in and comes to its crashing conclusion, fading into the Blood Of The Son’s stripped acoustic interlude, it is all too clear that, despite opting to write an album with a more defined, cohesive theme, Forsaken’s epic doom timbre has been played down but certainly not sidelined. The next track, Kenosis, proves this only too well, treading over a mesh of vintage riffage and downbeat changes that pause just long enough for Wretched of the Earth to trudge its way in, picking up where Kenosis left off and building up even more vigour and verve as Leo’s voice soars to the themes of retribution, condemnation and revelation. The end of the record comes with the powerful Resurgam, which clocks in at just under ten minutes and packs equal parts rolling guitar attacks and blistering arrangements, rounding off an album that deserves every ounce of the inexorable praise and encouraging reviews it has received from some of the top metal mags in circulation! Personally, I think it is one of the band’s most accomplished releases to date!

Forsaken will be launching Dominaeon with a special live performance at The Alley on Sunday, 15 January. Deluge of Sorrow will also perform. The new album will be on sale at the gig as well as from Band Aid Music Shop (Zabbar) and Damage. Inc (Savoy Arcades, Valletta).

Forsaken website