Domination Inc. – “Memoir 414” (Steamhammer / SPV)
Battle Helm Rating
Five years on since their fiery birth and keen to move on from “Infants Of Thrash” despite it being well received, these Greek thrashers have supported Kreator, Annihilator, Behemoth, Decapitated and Sepultura as well as playing Wacken Open Air, having won the Green ‘Wacken Metal Battle’. Now, pulling out all the stops for this sophomore, the band have collaborated with former SepticFlesh drummer Fotis Benardo at the helm of renowned Devasoundz Studios, with the mastering job entrusted to the practised hands of Henrik Udd (Architects, At The Gates, Dimmu Borgir) and Vagelis Petikas of Revolver Design (Megadeth, Nightrage) providing a nice, hand painted cover with lots of symbolism. Well, “Memoir 414” is definitely heavier thanks to the huge sound, adding plenty of menace – along with crystal clarity – to the massive chundering guitars and those pounding drums so prepare for plenty of decibel damage! That said, there’s also lots of melody and catchy grooves across the 9 tracks, and while not necessarily of the happy clappy variety, certainly shows how both the song writing prowess and musical maturity of the band has grown in half a decade – certainly enough to impress one of the top labels in the world. From the hammering beats and squeaking guitars on ‘Dark City’ that ring in a very Machine Head head style sound a la ‘Davidian’, the layered vocals of hoarse laced with guttural tones along with rhythmic jazz guitar adds the differential, along with some warbling heavy metal elements to show Domination Inc. are becoming a band in their own right. Likewise, ‘Dehumanized’, with its fast galloping beats and slashing riffs, along with hardcore screamo is reminiscent of The Haunted, but slickly laced with melodies to add the finesse and tantalise before a slow, massive headbanging passage blasts its way in complete with evil Slayer-esque tones heralding tons of screamo and equally wailing guitars to the end – wow! Ending with a cover of Motorhead’s ‘Love Me Forever’, the gargantuan slo-mo riffs and ugly, tortured drawls definitely evoke the sound of Crowbar, although the virtuosic but soulful guitars mid song definitely owe more to Pantera, while still being a commendable departure from the original. Definitely filling a gap left by the classic thrash bands of the 90s, “Memoir 414” promises a fresh start with the intention of making a difference.