Glaswegian quartet, Dominicide, made their first ripples in the underground with 2017’s self-titled technical thrash effort but have now revamped their line up and reinvented themselves as a symphonic band with a Psycroptic intensity. You’ll enjoy their new EP If you like your riffs razor-sharp, your rhythms rapid, and your vocals vicious. And which metal fan frowns upon these three attributes?
All eyes in Scotland are on the new Frontierer record at the moment, yet Dominicide’s brand of 220bpm death-thrash is on the opposite side of the spectrum. Unlike the chaotic mathcore of Frontierer, the Glaswegians’ music is precise and calibrated like a machine hooked up to a timer. Think Slayer with a mechanised industrial production and double-kick drum patterns that capture the same exquisite power as Death’s classic Human record. ‘The Empowered’ is the type of furious harmonic minor death metal we’ve come to expect from Revocation but with a bigger emphasis on the eye-popping scream vocals to enhance the intensity. Listen to the sustained howl of Craig Law at the beginning – this is how you bring down the walls of Jericho through the power of your lungs. If only more death metal bands put as much work into the awesome power of the malevolent vocals as Dominicide. If you’re not rocking the air guitar or raising a sword to the sky for the chorus refrain of “Empowered, ascending/ From the ruins to fight one more time/ Empowered, defiance/ Resilient to the end,” you’ve forgotten how to enjoy metal.
A repeat of three more songs like ‘The Empowered’ would meet no criticism here, but Dominicide are just warming you up for the main surprise before they unleash the dark opera metal of ‘The Orchestraitors’. Track number two thrives on a lyrical theme common to modern metal – the betrayal of the people by the rulers we voted into office. We put them there to stop the nefarious influence of the oligarchs and billionaire bigwigs from dictating policy and public life, but they ended up just like the money-grubbers. This one starts with the majestic, blackened death metal sweep of Necronautical and goes heavy on the keyboard choirs at the beginning before the roaring vocals and lighting fast riffs take over. The exotic perversion of the choirs will make you shudder. Imagine the scene in a costume drama where the barbarian victors throw the semi-naked virgin princess into a male dungeon with twenty malnourished prisoners. Craig Law’s earth-shattering roars are more terrifying than the prospect of what might happen to our fictitious virgin princess. In case you wondered about the identity of the traitors, Dominicide spell it out for us: “They are the orchestraitors – overlords/ The dynasty ruled by predators/ Corruption towering over all…”
A change in approach is often greeted with cynicism when a band embrace a new direction, but here Dominicide sound re-energised and even more apocalyptic. ‘Theocracy’ is an impressive blast of rhythmic bludgeoning, but at no point do the vocals sound like an afterthought once the drummer and guitarists have worked out their complexities. The succession of deathcore breakdowns at the end shows they’ve not forgotten their roots, either. Only closing track, ‘Reincarnate’, could benefit from some editing, but that’s because the first four minutes are so intense and the extra two at the end diminish the adrenaline levels. Nevertheless, you’ll marvel at the finger-tapped melodies balancing the awesome plectrum action of the thrash riffs. And how can you not appreciate the way Oskar Mazurek treats this song like his own personal drum clinic? The technical ability of this band is immense.
Be under no illusions: Architecture of Oppression marks the birth of Dominicide 2.0. More of this on the next album could lead to something special.
Release Date: 10/09/2021
Record Label: Self Released
Standout tracks: The Empowered, The Orchestraitors
Suggested Further Listening: Product of Hate – You Brought this War (2021), Strapping Young Lad – City (1997), Necronautical – Slain in Spirit (2021)