DOMINUS — The First 9 (review)

DOMINUS — The First 9 album cover Album · 1996 · Death 'n' Roll Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
UMUR
"The First 9" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Danish death metal act Dominus. The album was released through Progress Records in 1996. Dominus formed in 1991 and they were one of the more active and prolific death metal acts on the Danish underground scene of the early 90s. They released two demos and the "Sidereal Path of Colours" single in 1993 before releasing their debut full-length studio album "View to the Dim" in 1994. Today Dominus are probably mostly known for being the first child of Volbeat frontman Michael Poulsen, but the early recordings by Dominus couldn´t be much further from the rock´n´roll infused rock/metal of Volbeat. There have been two lineup changes since the release of "View to the Dim (1994)" as lead guitarist Mads Hansen has been replaced by Jens Peter Storm and drummer Jess Larsen has been replaced by Lars Hald. The remaining members of the lineup are Michael Poulsen (vocals, guitars) and Jesper Olsen (bass).

"The First 9" is a concept release. It´s in short a horror/fantasy story about a dream kingdom ruled by the Crystal Demon served by 9 demons and how the protagonist is to complete the birth of the 9 demons by sacrificing 9 people. Stylistically the music on the 10 track, 35:54 minutes long album is quite different sounding to the predominantly old school death metal style of "View to the Dim (1994)". While "View to the Dim (1994)" is mostly an old school death metal release, it also features quite a few groove metal oriented riffs and rhythms, and the groove elements are further developed upon on "The First 9". In fact the music style is a groove oriented death´n´roll style and while there are traces of old school death metal in the music, that element has been scaled back considerably. While there are differences too there are also quite a few similarities to the groove laden death metal of fellow countrymen in Illdisposed. The vocals have become a lot more intelligible and more aggressive growling and there are male clean vocals on the album too (delivered by producer Casper Munkebo). The latter vocal style only occurs occasionally and sounds slightly like Dave Mustaine (Megadeth).

The quality of the material on the album is pretty good and the songwriting is relatively memorable. Some tracks are more memorable than others, and some don´t stand out as much, but the quality is overall decent. The musicianship is solid and the two new members bring a lot to the music. Compared to "View to the Dim (1994)", the sound production on "The First 9" is also a major upgrade and the music sounds both raw, powerful, and detailed. So upon conclusion "The First 9" is a definite step up in quality from the debut, but it´s also quite the musical development and the two albums could basically have been released by two different artists. That´s how different they sound. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.
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