Domine - _Ancient Spirit Rising_
by: Yiannis Stefanis (
Having recently celebrated the completion of a decade as a recording outfit, Domine are one of the most recognisable power / epic metal bands ever to come out of Italy. Their main influences were always very simple to detect: by bringing together the melodic guitar tunes of Helloween, re-enforcing them with heavy riffs and flamboyant solos of Maiden-esque origins, and adding lyrics involving stories about warriors and dragons, this quartet was always guaranteed the support of the average Euro power metal fan. Will the same rules apply after the release of the band's fifth effort _Ancient Spirit Rising_, or is this the album that will bring the band in contact with a much wider audience?Well, I have to admit that the opening track, entitled "The Messanger", certainly gave me such an impression: a promise that this would be an album whose musical boundaries would extend far beyond those of any average power metal release. Even though Morby (ex-Sabotage) sounded once again quite determined in using his trademark high-pitched vocals, which I personally find quite tiring and difficult to digest, the main '80s sounding riff and inspiring refrain that builds the main core of the composition left me with a huge smile on my face. That unfortunately cannot be said for the following track, "Tempest Calling" -- an average melodic power metal composition that sounds totally uninspiring and has nothing to offer in terms of musical structure and imagination.Listening close into _Ancient Spirit Rising_, one can easily detect the band's intention to create a modern-sounding release based on traditional formulas, and a perfect example of that combination is the song "The Lady of Shalott". Introduced by a beautiful melodic piano theme, the song quickly picks up pace, and the main Maiden-esque guitar riff, which is followed by an admirable guitar solo, are both indicative of Enrico Paoli's highly praised guitar skills. Sadly enough, songs like "I Stand Alone (After the Fall)" and "Sky Rider" reinstated the band to its former average status, leaving the Skid Row sounding same-titled composition together with the Epic monster "On the Wings of the Firebird" with the difficult task of retaining my interest and faith in this release.Long before being exposed to the nine compositions that put together _Ancient Spirit Rising_, I knew that Domine were far from becoming my favourite outfit. Nothing much has changed since then, and if I was to be extremely honest with you, I fail to see how I would ever feel motivated enough to place this CD into my player. On the other hand, I believe that _Ancient Spirit Rising_ has exactly what it takes in order to become appealing to fans of the power metal genre -- the only people that should feel free to invest their money in this release.
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