Sinister Ceremonies is the debut album from the Spanish death metal band Domains, and it’s a great album, sounding fresh and original, and genuinely evil.
It’s the atmosphere of the album that really makes it how great it is. With a lot of modern death metal bands there’s an emphasis on excess brutality and speed at the extent of good song-writing and the ability to craft a mood. On Sinister Ceremonies, Domains manage to a forge a great cavernous sound, rumbling away with an evil atmosphere. Their sound is full of depth, with the rumbling nature of their music sounding abyssal, it really drags you in. All the elements of the band’s sound are well produced with a great wall of sound, very dense with discordant mid paced guitar riffs alongside a thundering bass sound and really evil sounding low, dark growls from their bassist/frontman David Aggressor. The mix is perfect, and each instrument is exactly the right volume, and there’s a very warm sound to it, which when combined with the abyssal nature of the record, gives the listener the image of the earth splitting open and hellfire pouring out, especially on the really fast Through Infernal Damnation. While they don’t go for the typical modern DM aesthetic, the album doesn’t sound like old school revivalism either, and despite a detectable Immolation influence they have a sound of their own, and it’s unique and intriguing
Throughout the album there are fantastic guitar solos too, really twisted sounding and sprawling, yet at the same time coherent and dark, they really add another layer to the maelstrom of evil sound. It’s interesting guitar work which doesn’t sound like many other bands, with the solos covering a lot of different tempos and really twisting around. Overall it’s an album that is mostly mid-paced, but they have so many good ideas and huge sound throughout that it still remains interesting and original, and when they do break out into faster sections, such as on the intro to Eucharist of Relevance, it makes it all the more powerful, and really adds to the crushing nature of the sound.
It’a not a straight froward death metal album with catchy riffs, but one by a band who want to create a thick atmosphere. It’s an album to absorb with proper listening, rather than one to simply bang your head to, there’s a lot more to the band’s sound than that, and there’s a large depth to it. With great, vibrant song writing every song is brilliant, and at just 43 minutes long, it feels like the album even ends a bit too quickly.
Overall it’s a great modern death metal album from a band who have genuinely done something different to what most death metal bands are doing. With a great atmosphere it’s bound to be an album to please fans of Immolation and early Morbid Angel, and the abyssal depth of their sound makes it an evil sounding, unique death metal album, that anyone looking for something different in their death metal should give a listen.
Two songs Raped by Darkness and Sinister Ceremonies can be listened to on their bandcamp page below.