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Hollenthon - Domus Mundi

8.4 | 93 votes |
Release date: 13 July 1999
Style: Melodic death metal, Symphonic metal


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01. Enrapture - Hinc Illæ Lacrimæ
02. Homage - Magni Nominis Umbra
03. Vestige - Non Omnis Moriar
04. Lure - Pallida Mors
05. Interlude - Ultima Ratio Regum
06. Reprisal - Malis Avibus
07. Premonition - Lex Talionis
08. Eclipse - Vita Nova

Additional info
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Martin Schirenc at Vato Loco Studio, Vienna in March and April 1999.
Cover concept and layout by Martin Schirenc.
Music written by Martin Schirenc.
Lyrics written by Elena Schirenc.
"Reprisal" based on Percy B. Shelley's "Peter Bell the Third".

Guest review by
Hollenthon, fronted by former Pungent Stench guitarist Martin Schirenc, describe themselves as "Symphonic Black Metal from Austria," though I would venture that their sound is more akin to Symphonic Death. This minor quibble aside, with "Domus Mundi" they have created a flawless symbiosis of classical, ethnic, and metal music, and in doing so have released a most impressive debut.
Symphony and metal have much in common. They both are bombastic in nature, tend to have complex instrumental arrangements, and frequently make use of non-standard time signatures. That so many bands to combine the two musical forms seems natural. However, much symphonic metal sounds forced. In many cases it is simply metal music with symphonic elements layered over the top, and the resulting sound gives the impression that two pieces of music were simply combined into one song. Not so here. Schirenc obviously wrote, and more importantly arranged, the music with both forms in mind, and neither really forces the other into the background.
Supplementing this is a noticeable folk presence in the music. Ethnic chant and traditional melodies are liberally sprinkled throughout the album. In some cases these are played using the traditional instruments, others using modern ones. The effect is to further integrate these sounds into the overall cohesiveness of the composition.
The music here is very evocative. The aforementioned folk content, rather than the more common Celtic or Scandinavian tradition, is of a more eastern bent. Chants of Near Eastern / Middle Eastern origin, combined with Gregorian Chant in some of the tracks, gives the impression of being in Medieval Byzantium. "Vestige - Non Omnis Moriar," in keeping with its lyrical content, is paced by mid-tempo riffing that impregnates the listener's imagination with images of galloping horses. More so than just about any other album I have heard, this one places the mind of the listener at a specific place during a specific time.
Overall, "Domus Mundi" is a superior release that fires on all cylinders. The sound is full of bombast, the performances are technically proficient, and the production is clean. Most significantly, the composition, arrangement, and mix are so masterfully handled that the music appeals on all levels, whether you want to dissect your metal intellectually, or just want to bang your head.
published 05.06.2008 | Comments (1)

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Comments: 2   Visited by: 94 users
16.08.2016 - 19:17
Rating: 8
Metal Addict
Hollenthon is one of the finest symphonic death metal bands, and its debut album Domus Mundi is one of the finest works in the sub-genre. Though, I must say that some songs on this records sound more like folk/death metal, which give this record more of a medieval feeling, a bit akin to the music of Ancient Rites.
Favourite tracks: Vestige - Non Omnis Moriar, Lure - Pallida Mors, Interlude - Ultima Ratio Regum, Reprisal - Malis Avibus.
"And we are not who we think we are
We are who we're afraid to be"
- Lux Occulta "The Opening of Eleventh Sephirah"
03.04.2020 - 23:48
Rating: 7
"The Quaker"
A layer cake is not automatically good. This record is trying to be so many things sometimes, it just becomes overwhelming in the wrong sense. The production doesn't help much either. Synths sound cheesy, guitars sound a bit brittle, and the "symphonic" elements push on the vocals. There are many great ideas to be found here for sure, but balance is not often kept.

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