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Destroying Divinity: Hollow Dominion

I was recently looking at some photographs from World War I, the kind that make it pretty clear that war is most often about death—and little else. That war, as people know, marked a moment when killing became even more impersonal that it would normally have been. Listening to this album reminded me of those pictures and of the overall mood of reading about war. No, the connection isn't very strong, but my point is that the music here captures a mood of death and despair and doubt. I don't have the lyrics in front of me, but the song titles suggest that the words aren't trying to bring some sort of cheer into one's life.

I liked this album pretty well. The lyrics are, for lack of better descriptions, dark, yet crisp. They sometimes even feel like they are emerging from the music, as if trying to sneak up a bit on the listener. The backing music is hard-driving and heavy; I was especially impressed with the speed and power I heard on tracks like "Scent of Death" and "Defleshed Skeleton."

My main criticism of this album is that it doesn't have much variety. Sure, the riffs are different and there are some individualized guitar leads, but the cumulative effect of the music makes it all blend together. Nevertheless, the band plays hard and never relents in its quest to capture an apocalyptic, despairing, mood. Fans of extreme death metal should find something here to enjoy.

Track Listing:
1. The Eternity Guardians
2. Burning Divine Domination
3. Scent of Death
4. Empire of Emptiness
5. Suffering Redemption
6. Defleshed Skeleton
7. Sinful Omens
8. Inner Slavery

Added: June 14th 2015
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1444
Language: english

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Destroying Divinity: Hollow Dominion
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2015-06-14 17:45:12
My Score:

Creating utter brutality isn't as easy as it sounds, countless bands in the death and black arena believing that repeated smacks of guitar and chunks of drums are enough, when combined to a vocalist with a shredded throat, to send everyone scurrying for the depths. Yet while this approach may still have your mum cowering in the corner as though she'd seen a mouse the size of the Titanic, in the world of metal it's a ten-a-penny street trick. Enter Destroying Divinity, a Czech Republic act who've been absent for four years and whose Hollow Dominion album is their fourth. They do tread faithful to the path carved deep by the likes of Morbid Angel, Sinister or Immolation, however the steadfast believability of what is laid out here sets this album far above many of the bands who've previously tried to make this route their own.

Threat arrives in many forms and here DD understand that you don't need to maraud at breakneck speed to make a fast impression; hence "The Suffering Redemption" winds tortuously slow and twisted into a mid-paced swipe of the unnerving. Yes the kick drums pound, yet the maelstrom they set sits at a steady even click, allowing the spoken gutturals room to sound less like indigestive expulsions and more like the demonic uttering originally intended by this style. Add a short guitar solo that barely feels like it even belongs to the song it punctuates and the disorienting effect is magnified. "Defleshed Skeleton" takes a similar framework and ups the pace, Erik adding schizophrenic vocal lines to a bass barrage which heads straight for the jugular as the guitars alternate between out and out steamroller and strangely melodic. However in truth it would be possible to single out any of the tracks laid out here and they'd line up tall and proud to all scrutiny coming their way. Crucially the production is claustrophobic, allowing the whole album to tower over you as the eight tracks pound and hammer into your conscience. The effect being intentionally unrelenting and resulting in the final execution of this scything sound being every bit as strong as it needs to be to stand up to its very own singularity in focus. Hollow Dominion is full to the brim with metallic majesty of the highest order and Destroying Divinity are in devastating form.

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