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  • Underrated even by members of the band that created it, this cd is evidence that not even the musicians themselves are the best judges of their art. Trey Azagthtoth (guitarist/songwriter)is an excellent musician and very creative, but many of Morbid Angel’s albums lack truly memorable songs. Great riffs and incredible drumming (from Pete Sandoval) abound, but songs that truly embed themselves in your mind and make your blood burn from beginning to end are never many. “Domination” is a masterful exception, and the best album Morbid Angel have ever written– a brilliant combination of technical proficiency and raw, straightforward, great songwriting.Extreme metal albums often suffer from having most of their songs centered on a similar theme. The result is a repetitve album that loses the interest of the listener. Morbid Angel’s “Formulas Fatal to the Flesh” and “Gateways To Annihilation” both are partially guilty of this, but “Domination” blows this convention away. There is a track here for any kind of brutal music fan: the pounding brutality of “Dominate” and “Dawn of the Angry”, the complex layers of “Nothing But Fear”, the slow and sinister grinding and churning of “Where the Slime Live” and “Hatework”– the album stays fresh and never wilts. Even the normally filler-quality Morbid Angel intrumentals are passable in “Melting” and “Dreaming.”Azagthoth and the excellent Erik Rutan (now of Hate Eternal) provide Morbid Angel’s trademark ‘firestorm’ guitars in full force. The riffs are creative and powerful: you can almost smell brimstone in the assault of “Eyes to See, Ears to Hear” and “Dawn of the Angry.” The two also provide an interesting contrast in their styles of lead guitar and soloing. Pete Sandoval’s drumming ability is nothing short of legendary, and he carries every track with relentless but artful percussion. Perhaps the best part of all is the voice of the mighty David Vincent. Always one of the greatest voices in brutal music, his guttural roar here is matchless. He adopted a unique style for “Domination”, demonic and powerful, but easily understood at the same time. Extreme or death metal vocals often just blend in with the music, their meaning inaudible and their impact weak. In “Domination” Vincent gives the voice a power of command above the music, and he lifts the whole album to inspiring triumph. My only criticisms: the drums are a bit more muted than they could be, and as Azagthoth has since stated, the production is a bit smoothed out, somewhat reining in what each musician brings to the tracks. Even so, what hurts each individual musician in a very small way often aids the songs themselves–making them more cohesive and more powerful by combination of efforts, rather than one person sticking out here or there.”Domination” is Morbid Angel’s magnum opus. It is in almost all respects an improvement and evolution from its predecessor, the excellent “Covenant,” and brought the group to musical heights they have not since acheived. It is a high water mark not just for Morbid Angel, or even just for extreme metal, but for heavy music itself. In any case, “Domination” is an indispensable piece in any true heavy music collection.

    Posted on February 26, 2010