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I have to admit that I owned this album for some time before actually getting around to listening to it - we're talking months here - and this is one of those times that you put a CD on you forgot about and get completely knocked onto your behind by just how good it is.
Now let's get something straight. I've never particularly been a fan of the vast majority of "tech-death" bands and those who have the label thrust on them, as invariably it's all about what I call the 'widdle' - or over-enthusiastic overdoing of pinch harmonics & sweep picking simply for the sake of it - with little or no balls to back it up with.
There is something deceptively enticing about 'Born God And Aware' that appeals to even someone as apathetic towards 'tech death' as me. After numerous attempts at trying to synopse why that is and failing to hit the nail on the head conclusively, I gave up and just settled into the fact that this is one of Unique Leaders most promising signings - and I'd probably push it further, to say one of their most promising bands ever.
Their is a rich textures of various death metal nuances for the picking on this album. Yes there are undeniably parts and sounds present which would class as "technical" - which in itself is becoming such an obsolete cliché - but there are just as equal amounts of groove, riffs, hooks and just about everything else you could want in a band.
For example, album opener sets the initial mood by blasting out from the proverbial blocks and leading you into the assumption that this will be a predominantly 'blasturbation' based affair along the lines of say Origin.
Track three however, the insanely infectious 'A Demonstration Of Domination' belies in more explicit form the groove behind the bands music and I imagine is most definately a crowd favourite when played live.
In short, 'Born God And Aware' is someway between an amalgamation of bands like Spawn Of Possession & Hour Of Penance and something completely different. 'The best of both worlds' if you will.
I wouldn't go quite so far as to say it was quite on the same awe-striking level as Hour Of Penance's 'The Vile Conception' album released earlier this year, but those who enjoyed that particular release would no doubt find lots to enjoy about 'Born God And Aware' in equal measures.
The sole regret I have about owning this CD is that I didn't listen to it sooner.
Possibly the most promising death metal debut album of recent years for sure.
If this is the mark of Dominion, and the band gets the support & appreciation they deserve, then us as death metal fans in general are in for some promising times ahead.
Criminally underrated, I would recommend virtually anyone with an inkling towards brutal death metal (a la Hour Of Penance, Origin etc) or the more technical bands like Necrophagist & Spawn Of Possession should make the concerted effort to listen to this album, which encapsulates the first truly common ground between the aforementioned bands.
Dominion released quite an album in Born God and Aware. I had acquired this album awhile ago along with many others, but just recently did I get around to listening to it, and I have to say I was quite impressed. What shocked me is that this album seems to have garnered little attention despite the fact that it's a good album from a popular metal location; Sweden.
Naturally as Dominion is labeled technical death metal, this album is indeed technical. The album opens up with "The Endless", which is a great song to open up with; this song is very lively and has a very nice repeating and catchy riff. About half way through "The Endless" it goes into a repeating riff with a solo laced underneath which sounds excellent. The second song, "Appreciate to Mutilate", has a few unique solo sounding guitar riffs that flow very nicely into each other, certainly a strong song instrumentally that most death metal fans will enjoy. The third song, "Demonstration of Domination", has very distinct riffs that fly over all other aspects of the song, the drumming throughout "Born God and Aware" tends to match nicely with the guitar work, however, the emphasis certainly was not focused on the drums or the bass. "Legion Dominion" is quite possibly my favorite song on this album, the guitar work is very distinct and has a short little riff that is repeated throughout the song and sounds great. This short riff really sets the tone of the whole song to me. "Born God and Aware" is also a great song, it starts out sluggish and gritty, then stops and quickly starts back into a fast aggressive speed and feel and stays like that throughout. “Temple of Insects” has a similar feel as the rest of the album and that is fast paced drumming and riffs with one short repeating riff that acts as the refrain. The guitar work that Dominion has done for this album certainly is the highlight; they have a very distinct style of playing, which you start to notice after a couple songs go by. You can track the progress of the songs easily by the guitars as they tend to have one short distinct riff they repeat throughout each song at certain points. The album closes with the song “Elite” which is the longest song on this album. This song has more of a progressive tinge to it at the beginning, utilizing a slower gritty pace for a short time, and then about one minute in, speeding up and this is repeated throughout the song, going from the slow gritty style to a faster more frantic pace. Additionally, there are many times during Born God and Aware it sounds as if there are two vocalists layered on top of each other, which gives the vocals a unique touch.
Overall, Born God and Aware was well executed with great guitar work. The riffs generally are very memorable and catchy, sticking with the listener long after the album has finished, a rare quality in technical death metal. I can certainly recommend this album to any and all technical death metal fans, as it is one of the better releases out there to be found in said genre.
Edit: Partially rewritten and updated.
With its highly appealing, almost Seagrave-esque cover and popular country of origin (Sweden), you'd think this release wouldn't have fallen through the cracks quite so badly. And yet no one seems to have heard it, judging by the lack of reviews for the CD here, there, and everywhere.
Pity, because this is pretty damn quality, crushing technical death metal. Dominion is apparently a two-man band, both members playing multiple instruments on the album. That's usually a recipe for something that comes across as pure studio artifact, but these gents seem to have gone out of their way to pack as much brutality into their songs as any full band out there. Kudos to 'em on a job well done. Besides being loud, fast, and pummelling, this is a very technically accomplished recording, especially in the guitar department. The guitar riffs are memorable - lots of jagged edges, but catchy enough in isolation and repeated sufficiently to become something like a hook. The guitar parts are definitely the skeleton of the album, everything else hanging off of them like so much fat and muscle tissue. With a rough, overdriven production job that emphasises the guitars and vocals and somewhat de-emphasises the drums and (particularly) bass, this is an album that begs to be played loud and wants to ram lots of nasty sharp objects down your throat. It doesn't sound great, but it does sound mean and bruising.
If I were to compliment Dominion on exactly three things, it would be 1. their guitar work, which merges technicality and accessibility very well (almost in an Anata-like manner, but much much heavier); 2. their vocals, which are rough and deep in exactly the right quantities; and 3. their songwriting, which is unique and memorable for the genre. They don't let things run together in a mess of time changes and stereotypical, unmemorable breakdowns. On the other hand, if I were going to knock them on exactly three things, they would be these: 1. the drums could be a little up in the mix; 2. the production could be a little less overdriven and compressed (the sound works in small doses but overall leaves you feeling a bit too, er, suffocated); and 3. ...fuck it, I don't have a 3. Overall I have little to complain about. This is one of Unique Leader's better releases, and well worth checking out if you like brutal death with lots of technical guitar riffs and songs you can remember more than 5 seconds after hearing them. In many ways it reminds me of Insision, a more popular band that I like quite a bit. If you are into that sound, this is a good pickup.