(The Sinister Flame)
'Sinister Ceremonies' is the debut album from Spanish, Nine Angles inspired, blackened death Metal trio Domains and follows their demo full length, 'Towards Pleroma', which was released in 2009.
This offering came with the usual press release that says it will take you to the abyss... and so on, but the important point is that it is a damn good listen.
It has a sound that encompasses all that is blackened death yet still not reflecting any one specific band, with superbly dirty, dense guitars, drums that attack your senses in waves, intense and well executed and vocals that are a deep, gut wrenching growl and perfectly suited to the music. There are a lot of black Metal influences but it remains firmly planted in death Metal and for a trio the overall fullness and depth is impressive.
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I have no favourite tracks as all ten are an excellent listen and also all have the ability to stand alone musically. There is also a wonderfully sinister edge to all of the tracks along with a dense atmosphere, which is what makes it such an engaging and excellent listen, each having something about it that grabs your attention and the more plays you give it the better it sounds and the more you discover.
To the greater part, the album is mid paced, ramping it up when necessary and you are drawn in from the opening notes of the very powerful first track 'Domains' with its extended intro which holds you in enthralled from the offset.
Three of the tracks also featured on the demo album, the malevolent 'Mastery', 'Eucharist Of Relevance' and 'Towards Pleroma' which has superb midway guitars, as do most of the tracks, one of the many high points.
There are a couple of instrumentals, the brief haunting 'Hopeless' and the longer, dark and oppressive 'Labyrinth Of Incense', which is partitioned so well you get a strong sense of passing through a dark labyrinth as you listen.
Whilst dark and sinister is the name of the game here the most sinister of all the tracks has to be 'Through Infernal Damnation' with its malevolent edged opener that extends into the main body of the track to great effect.
Also worth a specific mention is the dark, brooding 'Raped By Darkness' which has in places some of the most unique guitar work I have had the joy of listening to and sent a chill down my spine.
The album is available from thesinisterflame.com as a CD now or on vinyl from early August and is the first release from The Sinister Flame as a label which previously was just a print publication, voicing bands and individuals involved in the Black Arts and if this album is going to be the benchmark I will be watching out for future releases from this label.
'Sinister Ceremonies' is a superb listen that is packed to the brim with dark atmosphere and really pushes the boundaries that little bit further particularly from the perspective of uniqueness.