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Dominus... For those of you who doesn't know, this band would later evolve into Volbeat, but before doing that they started out as a death metal band from Ringsted. Speaking from experience, I lived in Ringsted for 13 years and I am surprised that a band like Dominus, or even any kind of metal band would spawn in that city. It is the asshole of Zealand since nothing fucking happens, and the metalhead population is 0 since I moved the hell away. But back to the matter at hand! Dominus changed their style for each album and personally I would only recommend the first two albums.
View to the Dim is death metal with a capital D. The successor The First 9 is also death metal but it got more hints of what Dominus would become later on, but it still contained death metal vocals.
And yes, it is Michael Poulsen who is the vocalist, and I am, like many others, truly amazed that he can deliver the vocals that you'll hear on this album.
"Upon the years of the seventh century, we followed the blaze to Valhalla. To see the mighty kingdom of Odin... To be among the bravest men of history."
The cover for this album looks really good, but I never understood why their logo was kept in the background of the white font instead of just using their proper logo... Anyway. Dominus are from Denmark (like yours truly) and we are many that take pride in our heritage as Vikings. For once you can see it on the cover, and you can hear it in the lyrics. Vikings and Nordic mythology is an ongoing theme on this album with well written lyrics which is well performed, and Mjölnir (Thor's hammer) is also portrayed on the back of the album. Aside from all that, the albums strongest force is its production, because it still blows me away even though I've listened to Dominus since 2010. The word "perfect" is not something I would ever use in a review, but the production on this album is pretty close! Drums, bass, guitar, vocals. Everything. It all sounds amazing, everything is audible, and nothing being drowned out. The vocals and the bass is probably what keeps blowing me out of my chair. It just sounds amazing, and is something that must be heard.
The highlights of the album are"Tears of Black", "Bring Down the Roars", "Spiritual Mountain" and "The Ravens Eye" but I would strongly recommend you just listen through the whole thing. As those songs are the ones that shines the most, this whole album is put together extremely well and it is a pure joy going from start till finish. There is only one track that I could live without and that is the outro "Weiv Ot Eht Mid" which is stripped of all instruments and only feature vocals. I can't hear what's being said on the track but I definitely think it is redundant.
This album always struck me as something special because of its unique sound. Some songs has grown more on me over time than others, and for some everything is just instant hit. We are all different in that way but I can assure you that if you like quality old school death metal with a production that will melt your mind, then you should try check out "Volbeat" before they went soft. View to the Dim is a lost and forgotten gem and it is one of my favourite death metal records... and a little side tip.
If you like me enjoy View to the Dim, I would recommend that you check out the bands two demos Ambrosias Locus and Astaroth which was released respectively in '92 and '93. The bands single Sidereal Path of Colours from '93 also adds some good material for your Dominus death metal collection!
"Now as we ride in iron and steel, we know that this is the land of eternity."
With perplexed bewilderment they pushed their creaky boats off the comforting zone that was the shore of their homeland, unknowing of what would come to pass as they peregrinated towards the endless black beyond their realm. For many months, perhaps years, a countless barrage of waves and stormy conditions pounded their vessels, the fruits of a dark sea that is beyond time itself. On the exterior these men were an effigy of staunch determination, gloriously crowned by horned battle helmets. But, behind this mask was the doubt and terror that every warrior who faces a journey of moment will inevitably come to know. The torments and struggles of the sea suddenly resided as they reached the shores of a mysterious land. These men of unflinching iron and steel had arrived upon the place that had forever been in their hearts. It was here that sempiternity was inchoate, the mighty kingdom of Odin.
Where Dominus excel is with their vivid contrasts between darkness and light, good and evil. It is here that we see the root of our existence, the plight of the human in an irrational universe. With a surging palm-muted riffing technique that owes its legacy to the likes of Entombed and Grave an abyssic dimension is spawned, a maelstrom of chaos that reveals itself in the fluctuating rhythmic lexicon of the band. This is impeccably juxtaposed with fluent Nordic melodies that joyously announce the inducement of meaning into our world, a token of the proud pantheistic heritage of our forefathers.
The intensity of the dominate rhythm section is fierce, shading a view to the dim and infusing sharp breaks to continuously steam-roll the listener. As already mentioned, there are melodies of a contrasting nature to the above, these are used to enhance the narrative and oft add a feeling of battle glory, supplement to some short leads. These range from tremolo to those of a scalar variety. The bass is surprisingly audible amongst the din and oft plays an explorative role, a further tendril to drag the listener into this sullen wasteland with its pulsating apathy. The drums are never flashy, sensibly refraining from blasting, and help to reinforce the rhythm with a flowing display of battery. Although recording in Denmark, the production is suitably akin to that of Sunlight Studios, allowing for a crisp, fuzzy and dense distortion sound.
This album depicts a satisfying look into to poetry of life, encompassing all of its joys and sufferings, the lonely path that a human must transgress in search of meaning. As we come further along this never-ending voyage, we realise that although its accomplishment will never be certain, a distinct sense of a fulfilling purpose will arise. Death will no longer be a dreaded monstrosity - the being will have traversed into a state of immortality.