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As anyone acquainted with heavy metal music should know, once upon a time there was a band called Queensryche, who started out as a fantastic power metal band, before going a more ‘progressive rock-metal’ route, culminating in their divisive 1990 release ‘Empire,’ before releasing a string of ‘good or bad, depending on who you ask’ albums, until releasing the ‘American Soldier’ album, making them officially dead to everyone.
But let’s take it back to the Empire part. Although it sort of marks a ‘point of no return’ in Queensryche’s discography, sort of acting as a barrier between their power/prog releases and a more progressive rock direction, much like how The Black Album divided Metallica’s career, and ‘Countdown to Extinction’ in Megadeth’s, there’s no doubt that Empire is a pretty good album, and it certainly has its fans. This album is for those fans.
Sacred Dominion are a great band that certainly ring closely to Empire-era Queensryche, but without the disappointment of remembering that this band isn’t playing ‘Queen of the Reich,’ or any shitty Cabaret tours. Now, I know there’s a lot of people who think Empire is where Queensryche dropped the ball. Hell, some don’t even like its predecessor “Operation: Mindcrime.” On the other hand, if you enjoyed classics like The Thin Line, Jet City Woman, and Another Rainy Night, you might dig ‘The Inside.’
The songs often feature verses very heavy in power chords, and catchy sing-along choruses, and vocalist Mario Brescia even sounds similar to an Operation: Mindcrime-era Geoff Tate. Not really hitting those “Queen of the Reich” notes, but still having a fantastic high range. The verses often sort of have an almost rap-ish A-A-B rhyming style, which makes for sort of a catchy verse. The solos and instrumental parts are very solid. I can’t say that there are any mind-blowing solos, but they’re perfect impressive enough, and certainly get the job done.
This isn’t a band looking for major attention, and not a band looking to change music. This is a band of talented guys just having fun and making music, and mostly staying local in Pittsburgh, though being lucky enough to open for the likes of Whitesnake, Mr. Big, Iced Earth, and Dio Disciples (the Dio Band with ‘Ripper’ Owens). And winning a few ‘Best Album’ and ‘Best Song’(for Closer) along the way in last year’s Iron City Rocks music awards.
If you dig Queensryche’s Empire-era, and want to hear the band that may have mugged and robbed that band of their talent and Geoff Tate’s voice in a shady parking lot somewhere, or just want to forget how terrible Dedicated to Chaos was, this is certainly worth checking out.