Release DetailsLABEL N/A
RELEASED ON 4/1/2008
A Dominion Of Darkness
posted on 6/2008 By:
Since their 2000 debut released on Metal Blade, Jacobs Dream have been a band that I've always felt were on the cusp of something great. It was a heavy metal base with melodic hints and original vocalist David Taylor reminded me of Geoff Tate in many ways. All the elements seemed in place for them to become, at least, cult favorites, but it's as if the band could never capitalize on where they were going with their music. The band's sophomore effort improved on the debut but didn't really blow it out of the water, like I was hoping and when the third album, Drama of the Ages, was released the band had switched vocalists in favor of Chaz Bond. Drama of the Ages was a bit of a different direction, possibly due to Chaz's different vocal abilities; the music attained a bit more of a Jag Panzer vibe, even with the slight modernizing of the sound. Still, while enjoyable, Drama of the Ages fell flat and clearly Metal Blade was paying attention as they let the band go sometime later.
Seeing no other option, the band self-released their new album, A Dominion of Darkness. With that it would be safe to assume the band would probably have a chip on their shoulder, something they feel they needed to prove to everyone. Yes, they were dropped from a major metal label, but this album would show everyone the mistake in that. Unfortunately I can't say this album is THE album I've been waiting for from Jacobs Dream, I still don't feel that fire and passion that I've been longing to hear in a band that has all the elements right, but lacks something a little extra to put them over the top. A Dominion of Darkness is an enjoyable traditional metal album, with some modern leanings that are hidden beneath a rather traditional production. Vocalist Chaz Bond sounds better here, quite probably due to the songwriting, which gives him better vocal lines to work with. I wouldn't be surprised if Chaz's idols were Geoff Tate and Harry Conklin as he seems to work within the same areas vocally and quite often I find myself wondering if he's attempting to imitate them.
The album contains a good range of heavy, pounding numbers with faster tracks with a couple more epic songs. It's clear the band are working within that traditional metal framework, though they do step out here and there for a peek, like in the album's second song, "Can't Break" which has a very modern, stompy opening riff that comes back again and again. The chorus is a sing-a-long and it's one of the few songs here that can really get the listener involved, it's just a strong, straightforward, full-on metal song. A song like "Curse of Antikythera" reeks of Queensryche worship, I could definitely see this song built from a piece of Operation: Mindcrime. From the main riff to the vocal melody to even the solo, it's clear the band were looking elsewhere when they wrote this track. "Embraced by Sorrow" is a pounding epic. The song is slow, with a strong backbone in the drums and open riffing that becomes rather punchy and choppy later on. The unfortunate problem is that standing within the album songs start to run together and sound alike, those solid moments that you noticed upon listening to the album are quickly forgotten by the time the next song starts and eventually you just forget the album even exists as it fades into background music as you slowly stop paying attention. When the songs are taken singularly one can see at least some of the talent the band has and can be impressed but that's not how albums are meant to be listened to.
One thing that could have avoided this issue is the lengths of the songs themselves. Songs feel as though they are meandering, losing focus. Cutting a solid minute off of a fair amount of songs here, regardless of the restrictions that would put lyrically and thematically on the band, would have greatly improved the flow of many songs as well as the entire album as a whole. The album becomes a bigger chore than it needs to be at nearly a full CD of music.
Jacobs Dream have evolved slightly musically, but they're still in the same place they started, lacking some of the, well, oomph that the great bands always have. Certainly Jacobs Dream isn’t alone in this situation but it's rather disappointing when it's clear there's talent in place.
Register to post comments.