Domination Inc from Athens are a thrash band with a fairy story. Don’t worry I do not mean that they are Megadeth with unicorns and Lars Ulrich as the wicked stepmother (though I would pay to see that). Rather, the quintet started in 2012 when brothers Alpha and Ares Karatzas (drums and guitarist) and their fellow teenagers vocalist Theo Paphodopolous, guitarist Kostas Evangeliiou and bassit Jim Kakes. Their 2014 debut album got great reviews in their native Greece and led to support slots with Kreator, Behemoth and Decapitated. Two years later the band won the Greek “Battle for Wacken” earning themselves a slot at W.O.A 2017 where SPV records had a gander and liked what they saw and are now releasing Memoir 414 on their Steamhammer imprint. Pretty good going huh?
The band’s sound is a modern take on Teutonic thrash and the groove metal of Pantera. No dayglow thrash revival stuff here. Opener “Cutting Edge” is a bold brash brawler of a track with chunky riffs and Painkilleresque passages. Paphodopolous’ vocals are impressive in their power and aggression and the riffs and chops that back them, whilst not being that original are tight and metal to the core. You can see why these guys went down a mead-soaked treat at Wacken.
The band follow up this tight thrashy opener with a gargantuan slab in the shape of “Day VII Deus’ Ignorance”. A just sub ten minutes this beastie goes over into New Wave of American Metal territory bringing to mind Lamb of God with big metallicore riffs (note not metalcore). Big chunk riffs for big chunky necked men or women to slow slam around beer sodden halls or fields. It ends in melancholy piano and consists of a lot of clichés and is, if brutally honest a little flabby. But then I too am full of clichés and a little flabby (ok a lot) so I can forgive them as it is a nice slice of 90’s metal nostalgia.
“The Sickening” is a single and is a kick to the balls, Pantera style banger. I am not the biggest fan of the Cowboys from the nether world but this Athenian take on the style is pretty good with some rapid thrash drum fills bringing it all home. “Dark City “ is more of the same.
“Dehumanized” brings to mind latter day Death with little flourishes of Prog injected and the vocals even getting a little Chuck ahem chucked in. After a brief instrumental interlude it is back with the thrash with “The Eye”. More than a hint of Testament on this one which gets my thumbs up!
“Culling” is pedal to the floor thrashcore with a beatdown or two and even a power metal solo. Good galloping fun.
I am not down with the power ballad that is “Love me Forever” which closes Memoir 414 though it’s not melodic enough to be one thing or heavy enough to be t’other. I thought everyone got over the ballad thing once we accepted the Black album?
Domination Inc wear their influences on their cut off sleeves. Originality does not shine here but gusto, guts and great musicianship do. Definitely worth a spin.
(6.5/10 Matt Mason)