March 19, 2008

CD Review: Immortal Dominion - Awakening: The Revelation

Are looking for an album that finds its members desperately seeking a genre? This may fill the bill. However, if you are looking for an album that is more focused on what it is and what it wants to be, you will need to look elsewhere. Immortal Dominion's Awakening: The Revelation is a release that is filled with metalcore, deathcore, death metal, and even some punk stylings. However, none of them seem to want to step up and take control. In this regard, this 2005 release (the last full length form the band) is all about self-discovery, a desire to figure out what the band wants to be. The title then becomes all the more relevant, as the band concept is being awakened and the multitude of influences slowly reveal what it is that they are. Rumor has it the band is working on a new album, one would hope that they have gained more focus since 2005.

You may be wondering why is there interest in this 2005 album from a band you've likely never heard of. The answer is simple; there is a renewed public interest in the band following the release of the horror film Teeth. You see, the band was able to contribute five songs to the soundtrack, and that will almost immediately raise the interest level. It would not surprise me to learn that this happening is the driving factor in the band continuing to drive forward.

Whatever the real case may be, there is a new push of this album to help get the band's name out there and create some buzz, with the hopes of positioning them for a breakout year in 2008. Will it work? Perhaps. While the movie buzz will put them back on the radar, it is going to be what they do on the next album that will seal their fate. At this point, I would have to say it is a 50/50 shot at hitting it big.

The problem is that while there are some good tunes on Awakening, it is not a great album that loses something in the cohesion factor. I did not get caught up in any of the songs. Not to take anything away, I think the skills are there to create a truly kick-ass metal album. Perhaps the next album will be it?

The first thing to grab my attention with Awakening is the cover art. It is black and gray with the band's name on top and bottom, simple enough. The interesting portion comes in the middle, in the form of some bio-mechanical art that seems to have been directly inspired by H.R. Giger. It is an intriguing image that feeds perfectly into their clipped style.

As for the music? Like I said, there are a variety of styles at work, a band in search of itself. On my first pass through, I cannot say that any of it really stuck out to me. However, on subsequent passes there were a couple of songs and moments that stood out to me. On the whole, there was some strong riffing that was easy to get into from Ray Smith and Brian Villers, there was also some nicely timed double-bass by drummer Ben Huntwork.

The first song to jump out is "Eat Your Flesh." It is not so much the song, so much as it is the amusement I get from him shouting "I want to eat your flesh / But I don't know how!" I cannot put my finger on it, but hearing that just cracked me up. Another is "Sold My Soul," a near radio-ready blend of metalcore and deathcore, and one of the songs to garner them some notice from its inclusion in Teeth. "Something to Change" is a decent excursion into deathcore, and "Awakening" is interesting for the alternating grind/acoustic during its opening segments before becoming a completely brutal cut.

Awakening gains some much needed focus during the last few tracks as they go more full-on death. This focus clearly shows the band gaining some momentum in both style and in songwriting as they are the best tracks on the album. If they can take these last moments and translate them into something fresh to further the momentum they may be a band to keep an eye on.

Bottomline. Mediocre album. It is not without its charms, but it is definitely in need of a direction. Take those last few songs and the strong moments strewn throughout the rest and you have a good seed from which to grow a band and an identity. Awakening is worth checking out, but will not likely ne revisited all that often, save for the few tracks you add to your iPod.

Mildly Recommended.

Track List:
01. Punishment
02. Will to Survive
03. Eat Your Flesh
04. Sold my Soul
05. World
06. Something to Change
07. Fear Free
08. Not Good
09. Awakening
10. Christian Witchcraft
11. Blasphemy
12. Untouchable
13. Shallows in the Vatican Darkness
14. The Other Side of Pain


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