MORBID ANGEL — Domination (review)

MORBID ANGEL — Domination album cover Album · 1995 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
One of the most beautiful things about MORBID ANGEL is that they never stagnated in their sound despite pioneering the world of death metal and taking that final step out of the thrash world which landed them the honor of being one of the most influential death metal bands to the plaudits of the critics. Although they took the early Slayer thing and put it through the brutality blender before they emerged with their groundbreaking “Altars Of Madness,” where they churned out sonic assaults about Satanism and occult themes, they quickly became more sophisticated in not only their compositions but in their subject matter. Beginning with “Blessed Are The Sick” they evolved their lyrical content in the realms of Sumerian gods while their technical chops became ever more tight and polished without losing one little bit of the fire and fury that made them one of the most successful extreme metal bands of all the early 90s.

After cranking out three beautiful beasts of unrelenting brutality, they took a rather left field turn and began to experiment with their sound. The result was their fourth studio album DOMINATION which not only expanded their sonic palette manyfold but also saw the debut of Erik Rutan as the second guitarist / keyboardist thus making the band a quartet instead of a mere trio. This would also be David Vincent’s last album for quite some time before he would rejoin in 2004. This album is quite distinct visually speaking as it is rare to find a death metal album cover graced in green and purple. The earliest CDs came in green jewelcases and there were plans to release a “Slime Pack” but was scrapped because of the toxic slime leaking from the albums before they were ever got shipped!

DOMINATION is quite the interesting listen and shows MORBID ANGEL diversifying its sound in many different ways. The first three tracks showcase the classic death metal sound but also add a new sludgy element to the mix with slower guitar riff tempos and even less frenetic drum parts. In the composition department the guitars are more atonal, there are multiple tempo changes and break downs and there is much more emphasis on creating a dark and gloomy atmosphere instead of focusing exclusively on brutality. Of course those squealing guitar solos still emerge from nowhere and the brutal riffs are still on board but something noticeably shifted on DOMINATION. “Melting” displayed a completely new side of the band with a theatrical soundtrack like a war march through some sort of ancient siege and as far as i know is the first of its kind in the death metal world. This sort of interlude music was adopted by bands like Nile who made it a staple of Sumerian and Ancient Egyptian folklore sounds but also has been adopted by other tech death bands like Gorguts.

The influences that led to an entire career that Nile (and even for others such as Gojira) are pretty much adopted from this album and are rather apparent on tracks like “Nothing But Fear” which have complex riffing, several time signature changes and differentiations in tempo and dynamics including passages where the drumming is on blastbeat mode while the atmospheric chord changes contrast with the brutality. Basically the blueprint for Nile albums such as “Seeds Of Vengeance.” The rest of the album pretty much follows suit incorporating the expected MORBID ANGEL magic through the mix of the down-tuned darkened pummeling dual guitar riffing of Azagthoth and Rutan, Vincent’s double bass line abuse and guttural vocals with Sandoval’s blastbeat drum abuse. However with the addition of dramatic war march doom metal sequences, more atmospheric keyboard touches and unexpected detours into sludge metal means DOMINATION is the most diverse MORBID ANGEL album of the early Vincent years. Personally i also find this to be the one i find most interesting. Despite all the brutality as well as being the pioneers of the genre, the first three albums haven’t aged quite as well as i would’ve hoped. DOMINATION on the other hand has all the aggression and attitude of a quality extreme metal album without the monotony of a ceaseless fire of riffs to infinity. An under-appreciated masterpiece me thinks.
Share this review

Review Comments

Post a public comment below | Send private message to the reviewer
Please login to post a shout
UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I´ve listened to this one recently, and to my ears it´s a step Down from the first three...still a great album, but it has been downhill ever since.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
And i would totally agree but this one took all that even further. Even the demos are pretty cool on the Abominations of Desolation re-release
Vim Fuego wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I'd contend Morbid Angel experimented with their sound right from the beginning. Some of the stuff on Altars of Madness had never been done like that before. It was a huge step up from the demos and Abominations of Desolation. Blessed Are the Sick was a revelation when it was released, and not just because of the classical interludes.

Review Index

Member Zone

Username:
Password:
Stay signed in

Metal Subgenres

Artists Alpha-index

MMA TOP 5 Metal ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
METALLICA
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
RUSH
Buy this album from our partners
Rust in Peace Thrash Metal
MEGADETH
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
IRON MAIDEN
Buy this album from our partners
Are You Experienced? Proto-Metal
JIMI HENDRIX
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

The Achieve Of Hate Metalcore
VIDE
Buy this album from MMA partners
No You Sludge Metal
RAINBOW GRAVE
Buy this album from MMA partners
Strike #2 Doom Metal
ATOMIC TRIP
Buy this album from MMA partners
Necrotic Ideology Death Metal
LOST TO THE VOID
Buy this album from MMA partners
Oblitus Scientia Deathcore
REPTILIAN CIVILIAN
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

PassCode - ATLAS (FullSize)
PASSCODE
Bosh66· 1 day ago
PassCode - Taking you out
PASSCODE
Bosh66· 1 day ago
PassCode - Tonight
PASSCODE
Bosh66· 1 day ago
More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Metal News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us

Buy Metal Music Online