Review || Domination Inc. - "Memoir 414"

Domination Inc. is releasing their sophomore album, "Memoir 414", on August 23rd 2019 via SPV/Steamhammer. My relationship with this band started a few months ago, while randomly catching them play and I had to properly pick my jaw from the floor. Having followed closely the band's recent activities and added all three singles in my playlists, I was quite biased on what I should be expecting when I received the album. The reality is, I was gravely mistaken -and this is one of the very few instances of my life where I enjoyed being wrong. If "Memoir 414" were to be summed up with two words, those would be versatility and unpredictability. Since labels can be confining in this genre, it is of great importance to keep in mind that it is not "just another thrash metal album". A term like this wouldn't do it justice.

The quintet has evolved since the release of their debut album in 2015 and they are now taking the natural next step. They have assimilated their influences which they fully integrated in their musical identity, an element "Infants Of Thrash" was lacking. There is an actual consistency in the ideas circulated throughout the record and in the way the tracks flow. Opener "Cutting Edge", the third single, is as fierce and solid as a kick-off should be, with a neck-breaking structure -also qualifying as a pit hit in my books. The following track, "Day VIII Deus' Ignorance", in its almost ten-minute glory, proves the multifaceted musicianship of Domination Inc. As the intro unfolds, the listener is met with bold bass lines and shortly afterwards is engulfed in a textbook thrashy riff. This catchy culmination in turn, provides a fertile playground for a beautiful eastern-inspired lead melody to develop, remaining quite prevalent in the theme of the song and eventually ending it in a full circle. "The Sickening", one of my favorite tracks in the album, maintains the playful character we have seen so far. Sporting some clever twists, the track whimsically winks at varying yet complementing genres. "Dark City" kicks off with a slow tempo intro which may fool the listener. However, it doesn't take long for its vivid nature to shine and the facemelting instrumentation to manifest. Gingerly tiptoeing around some hardcore punk influences and infused with Machine Head's spirit, this absolute banger is hands down one of the best songs in "Memoir 414".

We are halfway through the album already when "Dehumanized" starts blasting. Literally. The soaring riffage at times seems to pay homage to certain oldschool sounds, further establishing the -for lack of better word- earnest badassery that shapes this release. Quick pause to breathe and the instrumental "Crux, Nux, Lux..." serves as the intro to the second single, "The Eye". A lot groovier than its predecessors, it portrays an almost different facet of the band. Without losing its edge, its stomping elements add extra points of awesomeness. When it comes to varying facets, however, "Culling" takes the cake. Although average in duration, the different sounds that it incorporates create an illusion of length. Still probably the hardest track to apprehend, at times it feels jumping from one theme/fusion to another in an almost burly way; while the rest of the album sports a well-rounded experimentation, certain parts of "Culling" to me apprear not as meticulous. I am a sucker for artful solos though, so I'll give it that. "Memoir 414" closes with a Motorhead cover. As a tribute to the late Lemmy Kilmister, Domination Inc. adapts "Love Me Forever", a quite challenging song to begin with. An unusual choice of epilogue, it isn't exactly what you would expect to blow off the steam that the merciless pummeling has produced so far but, in the context of the album, in an odd way it makes sense and the band interprets it in a truly unique way. The listener may be taken aback at first by the almost clean vocals in the first verse but as it builds momentum, we are immersed in the ambience it creates.

Overall, "Memoir 414" is a genuine attempt for Domination Inc. to rebrand themselves and they succeed. They have crafted a well-rounded album where each song has a distinctive character and is built in a way to reach a mounty climax. The scarce slow moments serve as calculated breathers just before another sonic assault is launched. Domination Inc. proves how hard work, combined with the eagerness of youth and solid musicianship, creates a concrete outcome. And if this is what the sophomore full length album has to offer, I am looking forward to seeing what these kids will do in the future.

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