Domination, on the other hand, is mostly mid paced, and thus it doesn't need to have an ultra fast song when the previous song wasn't that slow. But this song is ok. It works as a very aggressive sounding song. And although it is aggressive, and well, angry, it still doesn't have the malevolence of the brutal fast songs in Altars and Covenant, or even the couple of fast songs in Blessed are the Sick.
Why not? Well, besides the fact that is simply isn't as brutal as, say, "Maze of Torment" or "Damnation" from Altars of Madness, or as brutal as "The Lion's Den" or "Pain Divine" from Covenant, the lyrics are about war, rather than being about the occult and killing christians and satanic things, which they were on Altars and Covenant and ought to be about here.
Still, this song is ok. Next up is "Caesar's Palace" - which is, well, not that great. It has a pointlessly long intro, for one - the actual song, meaning the heavy riffing and vocals, doesn't start until over two minutes into the song.
And when it does start, it quickly goes very mid-paced. This isn't a bad thing by itself, but it means that it fails to achieve a doomy effect which it could if it was slower, or a more brutal effect which it could if it was faster. The lyrics are about Caesar, which is Where's all the lovecraftian influences that were so prominent on Blessed are the Sick? Where's the brutal satanism and anti-christianity that was so prominent on Covenant?
Instead, we've got lyrics about war and about emperors So it makes the album stand out, and not in a good way. This song is still ok really, but nothing special. Then we have an instrumental interlude, "Dreaming". Not bad, in fact it's a lot better than the first instrumental on this album. Next is "Inquisition Burn with Me ".
This song is pretty good. Again the lyrics are mostly war themed, which as I said before I can't help feeling is a little out of place when they should be lovecraftian or satanic.
But still, besides that, this is a good song overall. Finally, we have "Hatework". This is easily one of the weirdest songs that Morbid Angel ever did. Mostly because it has a huge amount of keyboards and weird sythesised effects, which to be honest doesn't really fit in that well with the guitar. It sounds like over-use of keyboards to the point where they drown out a lot of the other sounds.
Thankfully Morbid Angel never used Keyboards in this way again on any of their later songs, and instead mostly regulated them to the instrumental interlude tracks. In any case, this song is not very good for headbanging. The riffs sound odd underneath the wall of keyboard sounds, and the whole song is very strange. But the one good thing about this song is that it does give a feeling of impending doom and crushing, nightmarish darkness - something that the other songs on Domination just didn't do, unlike the songs on Blessed are the Sick, which succeeded in this regard.
Even so, for a slower Morbid Angel song I still far prefer God of Emptiness from Covenant, the closing song on that album. Overall, this album isn't bad at all, it's just not really that special or interesting throughout. That's it's biggest weakness - it lacks the darkness, otherwordly feel, and brutality of not only the first three albums, but also of the following two albums.
This is stands in between as an album with over use of weird vocal effects, too many keyboards in some places the intro to Caesar's Palace and the whole Hatework song , a bit too much focus on trying to be more accessible, not as memorable songs as previous albums, and an uncertain speed - it tries to replicate the atmosphere of Blessed are the Sick, but it doesn't succeed in this very well.
It's certainly slower than Covenant, but it's nowhere near as slow as a lot of people make it out to be. Instead, it's mostly mid paced. Which means that on most of the songs, it fails to capture either the terrifying aggression and brutality of the previous albums' faster songs, or the crushing doominess and creepiness of the previous albums' slower songs.
Thus it doesn't really create a very interesting atmosphere throughout the album in comparison to any of the other albums, earlier and later. Even so, it isn't a bad album. If you're a Morbid Angel fan, you should definitely still own this. And if you're a casual death metal fan trying to get into death metal more properly, this album may be the perfect way into death metal, as it isn't as harsh or as inaccessible as their first three albums, or their following two. Despite the amount of time I've spent criticizing the songs on this album, I actually still like the album a lot.
I don't like Hatework or Caesar's Palace that much, but most of the other songs are either pretty good or very good, even if not as brilliant as those on, say, Altars of Madness or Covenant. It still has some very good stand out songs and is just as brutally crushing and heavy throughout in most ways. Thus I'm still proud as a death metal fan and as a Morbid Angel fan to have this album in my collection. I don't get why this album has gotten rather underwhelming reviews from people.
I consider this to be better or at least on par than anything done after this with Steve Tucker. Perhaps its the timing of this release, given that it came out after 3 classic Morbid Angel releases in Altars People may have been let down and it's hard not to compare this to three death metal classics.
But Domination is a very good album nonetheless, also I find David Vincent's lyrics and voice to be more interesting than Tucker's. My friend owns a record shop in my city that sells pretty much everything, including all kinds of metal music and he tells me that of the 3 most sold MA releases Domination is third behind Blessed Are The Sick and Altars Of Madness.
There's a lot of strong tracks in here and as an album is holds its own with the first three classics, maybe not on their level but great either way. I don't get why they never had Erik Rutan do rhythm duties with Trey after this.
He complimented him so well and made the guitar sound great, thick and lush. Wonderful duo they were but I wonder if Trey's ego got the better of him and decided to let him go.
I hope they use the same lineup in the future album s as this one. To me it's their best and if they want to recapture their past glory they need to do so. Morbid Angel have been dishing out hellacious and ball shattering music for quite a few years now but "Domination" stands to be one of their best releases along side "Covenant".
The only flaw, albeit sort of a daunting one, is that some of the tracks just seem to be like filler tracks in the sense that they are no where near what Morbid Angel can really put forth. Aside from that flaw the album has actually a very brutal and technical presence.
Right from the start of "Dominate" the album pummels and plows through three tracks of eargasm only to have it stop at a filler track, "Melting". The remaining four tracks are decent but nothing truly groundbreaking or new to mention although "This Means War" is a killer track.
The musicianship and veracity of Morbid Angel is no doubt present on "Domination". Pete Sandoval again blows us away with pulse pounding blast beats and gut rumbling double bass kicks.
Trey also melts the faces of those who listen into slime with the nice and truly wicked sick guitar solo's presented on the album. The lyrical content of course is the trite and tired same old themes of war, death, Satan, etc.
Nothing new in there either. Morbid Angel do not have another "Covenant" on their hands with "Domination" but nonetheless it is still a very good album with a few minor set backs. Hopefully Morbid Angel won't continue to experiment with these filler tracks that much more and get back to what they do best, kicking ass.
Despite the muddy and incoherent production and mix by Bill Kennedy instead of the usual Morrisound crew and the fact that David Vincent was not bringing his A-game to the table with vocals and lyrics, this album is still a mighty blow to the weak and watered-down shite of the mainstream.
The songs are still for the most part there, the definitive feel of organized chaos that MA could still bring to the table like few others could or have since then. Trey Azagthoth and Erik Rutan were one of the best, if not the best, Death Metal guitar teams at this time mids. Erik's fluid melodic creations coexisted alongside Trey's wilder flailing and shredding beautifully, the solo in opening title track "Domination" being a fantastic example.
Trey contrasts this well with his frenetic leads on "Where The Slime Live" great title! Two eccentric and individual stylists on top of their game, you've got to love it. Their instrumentals leave a bit to be desired, though; while interesting, they feel out of place on this album. David's bass is not as distinct in the mix as before, but it still maintains somewhat of a presence, and his vocals are not as coherent as "Covenant", my personal favorite performance of his.
Nuff sed. This album tends to be better in its beginning, as it fizzles out slightly by the end--"Hatework" is not one of the better songs on display here. As mentioned, the instrumentals are good but not great. By about halfway through, it kind of dies a little, but it rallies back and manages to not fall on its face too terribly hard. It still beats the pants off of "Heretic" and "Formulas For David's swan song, it doesn't quite rival Judas Priest's classic "Painkiller", but still they coulda done worse anyway This is a phrase often used in conjunction with albums that are both terrible and a cheap attempt at a cash-in with greater public attention.
Properly, it signifies the ultimate sell-out: a compromise of one's own values for money, and an actual failure at that process. This repugnant album represents the complete and utter nadir of Morbid Angel's work, now and forever. I dare say that it would be impossible without considerable effort from the band itself to eclipse this LP in pure, unmitigated worthlessness. Rarely does the mere presence of an album make megenuinely angry, but this one does. Perhaps it's even more horrendous due to the previous history of the band, with three nearly flawless albums under their belt.
Whatever the factors, one can rest assured that 'Domination' is not only a festering wound on Morbid Angel, but on the metal scene as a whole. What can possibly rationalize such an insanely precipitous drop in quality?
Surely this can be in some ways forecasted by the time: 'Domination' came around at the deepest artistic trough for death metal that had occurred since its inception. In death metal had been to a greater or lesser degree abandoned by the deepest parts of the underground, which had fled the genre like rats from a sinking ship in favor of the more ideologically solid and less commercially inclined sounds of black metal. This was in significant part due to Earache's attempted deal with Giant Records, which at this point was on its last rapidly disintegrating legs.
But these are all just influences and not really quality excuses for the abortion that is this album, which is not merely an abomination on an artistic level, but can't even muster up any entertainment value to make it worth the occasional spin.
Opener 'Dominate' is similar to previous MA openers such as 'Rapture' in its high-speed intensity. Certainly this is a reflection of the previous albums, and for the brief two and a half minutes of its existence it nearly offers a glimmer of hope for this LP.
Of course, it doesn't have any of the genuine fury that Morbid Angel had on previous releases, but perhaps you could dismiss that as a fluke.
But to the observant, one can clearly see that the spirit and passion of previous releases is fundamentally missing. The instruments, vocals, and lyrics, despite all their implied aggression cannot muster up the misanthropy of albums like 'Covenant'.
But let's say we get past this. The conviction present here is rather stale and contrived, but the overall instrumentation isn't a total loss. Too bad that's what defines the best points on 'Domination' - not total losses. And then there's the superbly telegraphed 'Melting', one of MA's regular ambient tracks, except this time it has no greater significance whatsoever except to fulfill the slot of ambiance that Morbid Angel provides on every release.
Then, hey, another tolerable track in 'Nothing But Fear'. It doesn't seem that bad, does it? With utterly nothing to distinguish them from any other mids death metal track, they are forgotten as quickly as they arrive. This is a first in Morbid Angel's career; tracks in their catalog simply aren't forgettable. Up to this point, every song they had written had life and personality.
But not now, not to this Morbid Angel who has more interest in endearing themselves to Pantera fans than writing quality death metal. And there's four more tracks after those, each worse than the last. To seemingly pair up with that we get 'Dreaming', yet another ambient track that mercilessly parodies previous gorgeous ambient tracks such as 'Nar Mattaru' or 'In Remembrance'.
Witness the horror, yes, the abject horror of the realization that the previously mighty Morbid Angel have fallen in favor of appealing to fourteen year-old boys with delusions of grandeur and attention-deficit disorder.
But no, the worst is yet to come. Perhaps the most fundamentally loathsome track on the album is 'Inquisition Burn With Me ', whose lyrics go far beyond laughably inept and turn utterly disgusting.
Which brings us to 'Hatework'. We ascend the mountain of untermenschen-pleasing songs and we arrive at 'Hatework'. A monument to artistic death, an emblem of the rapid, horrific decomposition of death metal in Under the pretense of 'originality', Morbid Angel crudely chains together martial drums, aimless and utterly pretentious guitarwork, and overblown distorted vocals. And it finally ends. Great music? No qualms there At the same time Morbid Angel came out with this disc, the nordic bands Burzum, Dissection, and Mayhem had already encountered more than their fair share of negative press.
YOU are your own "Lord and Savior. I got this disc in '95 at the same time I got Misery Loves Co. I bash on Morbid Angel quite a bit on most of my reviews, but usually because they could never really top this disc for me. Listen to Bloodbath's new disc if you want the only album that really comes close to this. It's heavy, hateful, and is just some of the most classic death metal you will ever hear But, as is the case with most good death metal, it's the guitar riffs that dominate the maelstrom.
Axeman Trey Azagthoth plays tight and inspired and drops nimble fingered riffs like anvils and solos "Caesar's Place" has four careening solos on almost every single song. Songs like the title track and "Eyes To See, Eyes to Hear" have explosive, pounding rhythms with machine gun riffs, and "This Means War," "Nothing But Fear," and "Inquisition" fly by like lightning, with break neck tempo changes, blinding double bass drumming, and buzzsaw guitar flurries.
There are a few slower tracks, like "Where The Slime Live," which features a stop-start beat with lurching guitars, but most of this album is ferociously fast and heavy. This album has stood the test of time as one of the best death metal albums of its era. It's one of my all time favorites. There are no weak areas to be found anywhere. Nothing but brilliance from a band at the top of their game. A friend let me borrow the cassette of Morbid Angel's Domination.
I was totally blown away with the musicality displayed within this album. The best word to describe the playing was simply 'inhuman' to me at the time.
I loved it. For whatever reason, though, I never ended up picking up this album for myself at the time. Actually, I think I had just copied my friend's tape However, 15 years later now, I ended up spending a weekend where I got to hang out with David Vincent. This prompted me to order the CD and give it another listen. Once again, I was blown away and couldn't believe I had spent the last decade and a half without this album. David Vincent is one of the stand out vocalists in this style.
While others are content on just a single pitched growl, he uses several different pitches, tones and effects. Vocally, he is very understandable, too.
The guitar and bass work meld together over the warp speed drums to create a 'slimey' and vicious sounding album. If you are a person who is into Death Metal and do not have this album, you're missing out. If you are not a fan of Death Metal, but love great musicality, you'll find this album very interesting as well.
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Covenant Domination Formulas Fatal to the Flesh
'Domination' is the album that crippled Morbid Angel. 'Domination' is the album that set up Trey Azagthoth for hatred from the metal community. 'Domination' is the album that made David Vincent leave the metal scene in utter shame.