Home > Music > Morbid Angel – Domination (1995)

Morbid Angel – Domination (1995)

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I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I managed to convince myself that Domination was Morbid Angel’s “urban warfare” album, with an apparent lyrical/conceptual focus on human issues mixed in with the usual occultisms. If at all true (and I’m mostly pulling on “Dawn of the Angry” and “Caesar’s Palace” for this), it might be in part due to Erik Rutan, who presumably managed to parley the fame he gained from performing here into the existence of Hate Eternal.

“Hate Eternal” is in fact kind of relevant, since Domination is rather divisive at the best of times. Not Illud Divinum Inanus (uh, I mean “Insanus”) levels of hatred on display in the metal community, but when people complain about this album, it’s usually on the grounds that it supposedly represents a sort of dumbed down take on death metal. I can hear what they’re talking about – Domination is slower and often more “normal” sounding than its predecessor, even when I can accept it as a deliberate exploration of tempo and texture. Regardless, a different compositional palette, and one supported by blatant alterations to the production, as well! In most ways, this album’s production resembles that of Blessed Are The Sick; a suitable imitation since that album occasionally explored its own doomy tendencies. As such, Domination is also generally less distorted and cleaner than its predecessors; Dave Vincent meanwhile downtunes his own growls further at occasional expense to their ferocity.

To be perfectly honest, the band sometimes sounds exhausted on this album – not a great thing. By the release of Domination, Morbid Angel had been releasing albums for some time and enjoying ever greater commercial success – for instance, Covenant supposedly moved 127,154 units between 1993 and 2003, at least in the USA and presumably more worldwide. Beyond its supposedly more accessible instrumentation and production, Domination does little to deviate from the overall formula of previous albums. In fact, it enjoys the benefit of similar songwriting techniques and structures to its predecessors for better or worse. On the other hand, there’s only so much you can do with one niche before you begin repeating your previous works in a less interesting fashion, and I do believe that’s what happened here. Further backing this up is how effectively Morbid Angel rejuvenated themselves with this album’s successor (Formulas Fatal To The Flesh) which, while again not being all that different, was a change substantial enough to breathe some new life into the… formulas.

If this, for some reason, is your first Morbid Angel album, you might not even notice this, but back in 1995, it certainly was not. Domination has a couple of quality cuts, but overall it’s kind of disappointing and lame.

Highlights: “Eyes to See, Ears to Hear”, “Dawn of the Angry”, “Hatework”

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