With an air of oppressive finality Norwegian band Dominanz unleash a dark imposing and consuming soundscape with their debut album As I Shine, inspiring images and feelings of a stark, bleak and desolate industrial wrecked world. The dark smothering shadow tone of the album at first is at odds with the title but as the release progresses through its harsh cold corridors a simmering hope and defiance and glee emerges.
The trio of vocalist/bassist/guitarist Roy Nordaas Mathisen, Jørn Tunsberg on guitar, and drummer Frode Gaustad let loose their hybrid black metal sound on As I Shine to powerful and impressive effect. The fusion of black/death metal and an intensive cold industrial sound laced with some engaging gothic elements, creates a unique and rewarding experience, it is harsh and full of foreboding but at the same time irresistibly siren like, its shadowy dirty call impossible to refuse.
The origins of the band go back to 2006 and the Nordaas (Taake, Ofryskje) project Cult of Deception he started. Two years passed and he expanded with the arrival of Tunsberg (Hades Almighty Immortal, Old Funeral) and Gaustad (Thy Grief). Accumulating a growing following since then 2010 saw the arrival of their first single ‘The End of All There Is’ and on August 19th comes the release of their debut album As I Shine via Industrial Silence Production/Rock N Growl.
The album opens with the impressive ‘Infinity’, a track that stands tall with all contenders for track of the year. Its driving riffs and dark grinding grooves vocally and musically are absorbing and the gothic vocals tones of the female singer on the chorus stunning, adding another dimension to a song already soaked in wonderful ingenuity. The sound has a mix of flavours from the likes of Rammstein, Fear Factory and a Sisters Of Mercy/Bauhaus fusion, all consumed and absorbed into the Dominanz well of creativity.
Track after track the high consistent level is maintained throughout the variations of sound and delivery. Vocally and musically the variety is pleasingly strong; harsh and melodic, smooth and growling ,everything works side by side or apart, and touches like the recurring female voice and the dark cloud like synths work perfectly.
‘Agony And Domination’ with its March Violet like female gothic vocals, the driving riff laden title track, and the exceedingly infectious ‘Eternal’ a song that has a strong Rammstein/ Type O Negative gothic feel, all help to make As I Shine an essential listen and purchase. It should be noted that despite the comparisons mentioned the Dominanz sound is distinctly unique with nods towards those bands being mere spices in their creative mix.
It really is hard to pick out one track as the best because of the consistency but the opener has to have it closely followed by ‘Last Say Of Your Life’. From a simple guitar stroking chord the track builds and explores down many dark walkways and inspired musical revelations, a dark evil menace oozing out of the songs pores and the disturbing intensity withering.
Lyrically the album is as threatening and dark as the music with themes on a destructive world ranging from depictions of erotic oppression, slavery, and domination of fellow man. The evils of the world and cold stark reality has never sounded so good and in the hands of Dominanz becomes something that has to be felt and experienced repeatedly. If there is one album you should check out this year As I Shine has to be right at the top of the list.