Remember the days when Queensryche actually put out good music? Wonderful albums like Warning, Rage for Order, Operation: Mindcrime, Empire and Promised Land, all that perfectly combined power & progressive metal, steeped in intelligent instrumentation, catchy melodies and soaring vocals? I know, it's been a long time since that band achieved the lofty heights of those albums (and with Geoff Tate recently booted out of the band and replaced by the current Crimson Glory vocalist, it will be interesting to see what transpires there), so it was really a nice surprise to hear this little band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania called Sacred Dominion deliver this stunner of an album, The Inside, that just drips classic Queensryche. It's not an out and out clone job by any means, but The Inside features the Tate influenced vocals of Mario Brescia, lots of power & prog metal arrangements, and tunes that are instantly memorable.
For an unsigned band, Sacred Dominion have put out a product here that's really quite classy. From the first listen, many of the tracks here on The Inside stick in your head, featuring catchy choruses and musical passages the rely on potent riffs, appealing arrangements, and tasty solos that don't veery off into endless shredding. In addition to Brescia, the band is made up of guitarist Daniel Corso, Benjamin J Chiarini on bass, drummer Jeffrey Anzelone, and keyboard player Dave Watson. These guys have created some very solid and enjoyable fare here, such as the soaring title track, the dramatic "Closer", the upbeat & melodic "Losing Ground", the Dream Theater influenced "Open Minds", and "Desert to Dust", which could have easily been a leftover from Queensryche's The Warning album. Chalk "Memento Mori" into that category as well, as this sizzling song just soars from start to finish with outstanding vocals and crisp instrumentation. Toss in the melodic & atmospheric rocker "Time to Sail" and the complex prog -metal track "Somewhere" and you have an album filled with powerful songs that don't disappoint one bit.
The Inside is easily one of the big surprises of 2012, and if you are a fan of melodic progressive & power metal, you'll definitely want to check this one out. My guess is we'll be hearing much more from Sacred Dominion in the months and years to come.
Time to Sail
Desert to Dust