Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Label: Fono Ltd.
Personnel: Anton Rosa (lead and backing vocals, bass, additional guitars and keyboards), Dmitry Rishko (violin, keyboards, additional lead and acoustic guitars, backing vocals), Denis Sukharev (rhythm guitar), Anton Ryzhev (rhythm and lead guitars), Pavel Mosin (drums)
Writing for this blog, something Mr. Collins and I like to do is search for bands that we’ve never heard, and try to introduce them to our faithful readers. It’s how we discover hidden gems or crap heaps, and how we learn of the new, up-and-coming bands in heavy metal. While not necessarily new (but new to us), Dominia is different from your typical metal band, and I chose their most recent release, Stabat Mater for a review.
Formerly known as Tentamentum, Dominia formed in St. Petersburg, Russia in February of 1999, so they’ve been around for a while. What makes them rather unique is their orchestral infusion into the typical, guitar-bass-drum, heavy metal sound. If you noticed, one of the instruments Dmitry Rishko plays is violin, and you’ll hear it throughout the album. For me, this was one of the best qualities of the album that kept my interest, and eventually made me decide to review this album.
To give a little background on the meaning of Stabat Mater, it is a 13th century Catholic hymn about Mary’s suffering during the crucifixion of Christ. The title of the hymn originates from the hymn’s first line: Stabat Mater dolorosa, which in Italian means: “the sorrowful mother was standing.”
Now to give you some of my thoughts on the album.
What I liked:
The violin. Eight songs instead of ten. And that’s just about it. I know that sounds bad, but this album is forgettable, and it would have been extremely difficult to power through if it had more than eight songs. If you can listen to this album in its entirety without stopping, I applaud you. For reviewing the album, I was only able to accomplish that twice, and barely made it. It was only by the well-thought-out violin pieces that I survived.
What I didn’t like:
The vocals had no emotion and were coma inducing. Actually, the growling vocals may had been better when used since I could at least hear something. To make matters worse, the sound mixing seemed to drown out the vocals so I could barely make out most of the lyrics, and had to search them online. Another major element I didn’t like was the absence of memorable guitar riffs and solos. Nada. Zilch. Like I said earlier, this album is forgettable.
Unfortunately, this album may go into the aforementioned crap heap. I wouldn’t call it a total waste because of some beautiful orchestration with stringed instruments and keyboards, but even the orchestration couldn’t overcome the lackluster vocals and guitar work. If you’re looking for something off the beating path, you may want to give Stabat Mater a try. If not, stay away.
I’m going to give Stabat Mater a 55%.