DOMAIN - The Chronicles Of Love, Hate And Sorrow

Domain - The Chronicles Of Love, Hate And Sorrow

11 songs
61:50 minutes
***** ****
Limb

Bandpage

With more than twenty years of active band history, Domain are probably one of Germany’s most consistent power metal bands. Yet where most artists prefer to walk a safe path once they have found their style, Domain are not afraid to always venture into new territories. Three years after their superb Stardawn, they are now back with a new line-up. Only keyboarder Erdmann Lange and guitar virtuoso Axel "Ironfinger" Ritt remain from the previous incantation, and it seems that the fresh blood brought also new ideas and gusto to their sound.

The Chronicles Of Love, Hate And Sorrow, their ninth album to date, is a concept worked out by new vocalist Nicolaj Ruhnow and works as a ten chapter exploration of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe novel The Sorrows of Young Werther (Die Leiden des jungen Werther). This may seem at first quite pretentious, but the veterans are experienced enough to pull this through as one of the few really working metal operas. The CD starts with three songs that left me with my mouth wide open. Their compositions are rarely shorter than five minutes, although also never longer than seven minutes, and combine the muscularity of power metal with perfectly integrated symphonic, progressive and even classical elements. The multilayered vocals give the final product a dramatic touch that distinguishes this highly artful product from most other suchlike records that all too often end up in cheesiness.

Apart from the vocals, it’s the orchestral keyboards and Ritt’s singular style, reminiscent sometimes of Brian May, that give Domain their very special identity. Expect pathos, expect kitsch, but it’s done with such an unrelenting passion that you just have to end up loving The Chronicles Of Love, Hate And Sorrow. Not every song is a total winner, but the band manages time and again to prove that they are among the best German, even European metal bands, even if they don’t have the same popularity here than they have for instance in Korea where they once played in front of 25.000 excited people.

Axel Ritt is even one of the few metal artists who has strong political convictions that are normally rather found in the hardcore scene. Having been a vegetarian for twenty-five years, he actively supports PETA and is a dedicated opponent of hunting. In times where this genre is more often about the virile virtues of manhood, he is a welcome exception. This may not directly influence The Chronicles Of Love, Hate And Sorrow, but that doesn’t prevent this masterpiece from being the highlight in the career of Domain, a band that manages to still surprise after all these years!

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