Written by Alex Stojnanovic
Love Of The Damned
The Discord Of Melkor
Serpents Of Fire
Eric Peterson - Vocals, guitars & bass
Lyle Livingston - Orchestrated keys & piano
Alex Bent - Drums
Leah - Female vocals & choir
Release Date: September 21, 2018
Label: Spinefarm Records
It's been a long 13 years since the release of the last album Black Wings Of Destiny, but during that gap, Eric was incredibly busy with Testament, releasing three brilliant new studio albums since the reunion of the original lineup in 2005: The Formation Of Damnation, Dark Roots Of Earth and Brotherhood Of The Snake, and due to the band's hectic touring and recording commitments, Eric never had too much time to put all his focus into Dragonlord, except for when he had time off. There was also some troubles with the record label a few years back, leaving Eric to question the future of the band at one time.
Let's be honest. Eric is the driving force in both bands, but Testament is his bread and butter, while Dragonlord is a side project. In this day and age, when it's tough to make a living as a musician, you need to prioritize the band that is guaranteed to get you the better paycheck. This isn't a criticism. Everyone's got bills to pay, and families to feed and take care of, so for everyone who is a bigger fan of Dragonlord than Testament, and wished that Eric put more time into the side project, you need to understand this. Eric is going to have a much better chance at getting tours, festival slots, record sales and guarantees with Testament than he will with Dragonlord. That's just the reality of the situation.
Having said all that, here we are in 2018, and the long awaited third Dragonlord album Dominion has finally been unleashed. Eric and keyboardist Lyle Livingston have brought in Alex Bent from Trivium to record the drums and Leah, who Eric has worked with in the past, is also on the record providing some female and choir vocals. Since thrash is Eric's comfort zone, the incorporation of thrash-style riffing into Dragonlord is unavoidable, but that's a good thing because it's one of the elements that gives the music dynamics as opposed to riffs that usually soar and are tremolo-picked being the main focus. For example, "Lamia" is more of a straightforward metal number with crushing grooves and heavy hooks, and is one of the album's highlights. I'm sure it find favour with many fans who prefer that style, even if they aren't a fan of the vocals.
Tracks like "Northlanders", "The Discord Of Melkor" and "Serpents Of Fire" are primary examples of tracks that take the listener on a musical journey, where you have the combination of soaring riffs and blast beats, but also riffs that rage and get heads going. The orchestral touch is another element that emphasizes the tracks, but they're not heavily featured to the point where they would overshadow the guitars. Instead, they are used wisely. They even make the tracks sound like movie scores. Eric's screeching vocals seem to caress the styles of Dani Filth and Shagrath, but his melodic vocals can also be haunting and majestic. "Love Of The Damned" is the closest thing to a ballad we'll get on the album, and the only track that's devoid of screeching vocals. At the same time, if you prefer the heavier songs, there are the heavy ragers like "Ominous Premonition" and "Dominion", giving something for everyone from the die-hard black metal fans, to the lesser fans and the casual listeners.
To sum everything up, after 13 years, Dragonlord delivered an unbelievable slab of black metal with huge riffs, great melodic and heavy vocals, and just the right amount of orchestration. Dominion won't silence the black metal purists, but if you prefer your black metal with variety like me, then you'll be happy to know that this album was certainly worth the wait.
Highs: Crystal clear production, potent riffs and melodies. Variety keeps the album exciting.
Lows: If this type of black metal isn't your cup of tea, then steer clear.
Final Rating: 8/10
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