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Ophthalamia is one of those bands that I would love to say that I'm a fan of everything they have written, but sadly, I am only familiar with Dominion. So far none of the other albums quite do it for me... they aren't bad, but compared to this largly forgotten gem, they pale in comparison.
Dominion has everything going for an album that you can truly call a classic release. Reminding a bit of slowed down Dissection, this has it all, right down to the production. Everything is quite audible and every nuance of every instrument is clear, while not being over polished. The guitar tone is nice and thick, heavy for black metal and certainly the standout instument here. Nicely played, quite melodic guitar riffage is a constant and that makes this an instant favorite for me. The drums are not flashy at all, but rather well played and very consistent, this drummer possesses a very good sense of rhythm that keeps this music plodding along at a medium and some times, thrashy pace.
The vocalist is kind of a weird thing, I love this guy's vocals but I swear he is an exact carbon copy of Legion of (ex) Marduk fame. On the archives It and All are credited with the vocals on this album, however Legion is listed as an ex member (the Via Dolorosa album, I believe) and my copy of the album doesn't have a lineup listed. Kind of makes me wonder if Legion is actually the vocalist and its been listed wrong all these years? Who knows... either that, or they wanted the vocals to sound EXACTLY like his.
The standout track on this album (to these ears anyways) has got to be "Great are the Deeds of Death"... with some nice heavy guitar riffs and tons of melody, this song just kicks ass. The vocals have this rhythmic quality that just makes you want to scream along and headbang like you did when you were a teenager. Very memorable and very inspiring. If only more black metal bands were this good and the sad thing is, you never hear anyone talking about these guys anymore, very unfortunate. My only complaint about this album is the last track, it just seemed a little pointless, otherwise i would have rated this at about a 98%.
Dominion was released over 10 years ago and i still listen to this all the time, it has survived the test of time and will continue to do so for a very long time... the essence of what a "classic" is.