Review Summary: Morbid Angel takes a risk with a change in sound and it pays off.
Morbid Angel is a Florida based death metal band that has been very influential on the genre since their debut. Many of their albums are regarded as classics, but for some reason or another some of the bands albums go unnoticed. Domination
is a departure from the bands overall previous releases and has a very thick feeling. The sludge influence on Domination
is apparent through and through which allows the album take its time delivering sweet riffs and very catchy songs overall.
Trey Azagthoth and Erik Rutan do their best in creating some of the most memorable and infectious riffs and solos as usual. The tempo changes on the record are great. While as mentioned before, most songs have very sludged out slow guitarwork on occasion the duo gets a hit of NOS that allows them to deliver some blazingly fast riffing that definitely gives the flow of Domination
the kick in the ass that it needs.
The vocal delivery on Domination
is a major change compared to Morbid Angel's previous releases. The vocals are delivered with a great amount of energy but lack the variation that they need, the majority of the album Dave Vincent sticks with his mid ranged growl. Some odd vocal effects are used at times that give the performance a slightly fresh feel but all around the vocals throughout are nothing too special. Vincent's vocals are clean enough that most listeners should easily be able to make out the lyrics without having to look them up. Speaking of which the lyrics on the album are interesting, nothing groundbreaking but still worth listening to when you find yourself playing the album.
Given that Domination
has a slower pace than your average death metal record, Pete Sandoval doesn't do too many blastbeats during the play time of Domination
, there are certainly plenty to tide the average listener over but just enough to where it doesn't begin to work at your nerves. The bass on the album remains unheard for the most part. Fortunately the riffs make up for that. The production is decent and thick, all of the instruments are decipherable apart from the bass.
The album is pretty sinister for the most part. "Hatework"
is the most aggressive song featured on the album as well as the most memorable. It features some experimentation that the rest of the album just simply doesn't have, exemplifying an atmosphere that is unmatched by most death metal at the time. One thing that Domination
could do without is the interludes. While they are epic they throw off the flow of the album as a whole and could easily been seen as filler.
Another highlight on the record is "Eyes to See... Ears to Hear"
, it is without a doubt one of the catchiest songs on the album. Morbid Angel did a good job creating a creepy atmosphere on the song using a very melancholic chorus. The song features the only clean vocals on the album, which may be a turn off to some but they do contribute to the track successfully making it a very standout moment on the album.
gets a generous four out of five. It certainly doesn't surpass Morbid Angel's legendary debut, but it is a a worthy addition to any metalheads collection. The sludge attribute is what really enhances Domination's
overall sound. This record would also work very well as a gateway album for the death metal genre, it is easy to digest compared to a good portion of albums in the genre.