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Domine - Emperor Of The Black Runes review


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Band: Domine
Album: Emperor Of The Black Runes
Release date: February 2004

01. Overture Mortale (Intro)
02. Battle Gods (Of The Universe)
03. Arioch, The Chaos Star
04. The Aquilonia Suite - Part I:
    1 - Under The Everlasting Sky
    2 - The riders Of Thulsa Doom
    3 - The Cimmerian Oath
    4 - A Prophecy In Blood
    5 - The Riders Of Thulsa Doom - Reprise
    6 - Victory In Sight
05. The Prince In The Scarlet Robe (The Three Who Are One - Part I)
06. Icarus Ascending
07. The Song Of The Swords
08. The Sun Of The New Season (An Homecoming Song):
    1 - Warm Are The Rays Of The New Sun...
    2 - While I Think About An Uncertain Future...
    3 - A Blinding Light Floods The Darkness...
    4 - Inside My Soul The Answer Unfolds...
    5 - And A New Hope Brings Me Back Home...
09. True Believer
10. The Forest Of Light
11. Altar Of The King [Riot cover] [Japanese bonus]

Domine's real misfortune was to be precisely contemporary to the most famous Italian power metal band ever, Rhapsody Of Fire. In fact, despite being around since 1983 and having released a demo, Domine, in 1986, they released their first album, Champion Eternal, in 1997, the same year in which their compatriots released the highly acclaimed Legendary Tales. Comparing the two bands was unavoidable, and the result obvious.

But this doesn't absolutely mean Domine is a talentless band. It is exactly the opposite. Domine play typical power metal, but not a zero-originality HammerFall or Helloween clone. They shaped this overcrowded genre according to their personal conception, forging a complicated, highly-technical, epic, super-fast style which, once heard, can't be confused with every other band's pattern.

Emperor Of The Black Runes is Domine's fourth release, and the second which can be considered, together with the precedent Stormbringer Ruler (The Legend Of The Power Supreme), at a high level. To enjoy this album isn't possible through a hasty listen, through which it may be incorrectly branded as an average power metal album, like thousands of others. Please, don't make this error.

After an imposing intro, Domine suddenly show what will be the main thread of this album: "Battle Gods" and "Arioch, The Chaos Star" are two solid, easily singable tracks, which show two of the ups of this release. In fact both songs are lead by the tireless double bass drums, and Morbiducci's super high-pitched voice provides oodles of great aggression. But this only prepares for the real masterpiece of this album, "The Aquilonia Suite", an 11-minutes track inspired by the saga of Conan the Barbarian. This song overwhelms the rest of the album by quality and quantity, and is enriched by some power metal reinterpretations of the 1982 movie soundtrack. The album continues on a really good level with some killer tracks and other just enjoyable songs.

Maybe Domine are damned to lie in the uncomfortable limbo between world popularity and total anonymity, and probably this is caused by their single, big limitation: in this release, as in all the others, they play just epic/power metal. Unless clamorous revolutions, this is the cross they will bear throughout their career. But Emperor Of The Black Runes remains a very solid release, a must-have for every fan of the genre.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9

Written by R Lewis | 09.12.2012

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

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