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Astral Domine - Arcanum Gloriae Award winner

Astral Domine
Arcanum Gloriae
by Dan Mailer at 30 January 2014, 2:13 AM

ASTRAL DOMINE has a sound that only Italy truly masters; that of Symphonic Power Metal, with powerful orchestral sounds and delicate piano playing, and heavy yet melodic riffs, accompanied by emotive clean guitar sections. ASTRAL DOMINE is a perfect example of this style, and their debut album could set them up to be a big part of the next generation of Power Metal. It’s not surprise Fabio Lione is involved in this one.

Speaking of Fabio, the first track, the eponymous “Astral Domine” serves as an introduction to the story of the album, with atmospheric sounds and dramatic voiceovers really setting the scene for “Holy Knights” which includes some masterful playing, choral voices and a great chorus that really gets things off to a great start. The clean guitars at the end are also a really nice touch. “King Of The North” features more fantastic guitar playing layered with keyboards to great effect, before the main verse begins, with the soaring lead vocal really powering the song along. This song seems to mainly focus on the instrumental side of things but the vocals are plenty powerful and appreciated when they are utilized, with another epic Power Metal chorus. “Moonlight” is a mainly acoustic song to begin with, with soft flutes leading the melodies before the vocal takes over, also with a softer approach that really compliments the song and shows how dynamic the singer is. Some great backing vocals and harmonies also add to the affairs here, making this a definite highlight of the album! The song builds to an awesome climax at the end before a piano section highlighted by the sounds of the ocean brings things to a close on this one.

“A Tale Of Elves And Pain” begins with some more spoken word, before a nice, almost folky melody kicks things into motion with some acoustic guitar backing. A lovely layered sound lends this song some great musicality and the song is very well structured and written, with a powerful guitar sound crashing in later on. There are a lot of great build ups with some powerful female soprano vocals involved as well as a great guitar solo too. “Where Heroes Die” is one of the epics of the album with its 9 minute running time. It opens with atmospheric organs and chanting choirs before giving way to an emotive piano section that really supports the vocals once again. There are more epic choruses and sections that you can shake a stick at here, with plenty of tension building moments and heavy releases of said tension. This is another highlight of the album, with really dynamic songwriting and some really great emotions on display here.

“I Am The King” is another song that solidifies the bands abilities as a power metal band, with another solid chorus and plenty of heavy riffs on offer. “My Lord” opens up with a piano section that builds and builds until it reaches heavier moments with one of the more epic choruses of the album. “Welcome To My Reign” is a fairly short song on album that features many an epic, but it gets its point across very nicely anyway and features some quite different vocals and some very cool keyboard sounds. The sound of metal upon metal closes the album with “Falsi Dei” with a heavily dramatic sound to it and plenty of furious drumming and riffage. This is a great closer to the album, making full use of everything the band has to offer, from epic choirs to mighty lead vocals and technical guitar playing, to a tight rhythm section that really supports the orchestral keyboards sounds.

The production is pretty good, especially in regards to the vocals and the layering of those, and the keyboard sounds on offer. The rest is solid and provides a great backbone to the epic storytelling of the band itself.

This is a really good album, and should really get ASTRAL DOMINE out there, with a powerful and memorable sound spanning a wide range of emotions and atmospheres. Here’s to hearing more about and from these guys.

4 Star Rating

1. Arcanum Gloriae
2. Holy Knights
3. King Of The North
4. Moonlight
5. Tale Of The Elves and Pain
6. Where Heroes Die
7. I Am The King
8. My Lord
9. Welcome To My Realm
10. Falsi Dei
Marco Scorletti - Lead Vocals
Luca Gagnoni - Lead Guitar
Francesco Delogu - Rhythm Guitar
Davide Di Patrizio – Drums
Yeshan Gunawardana – Keyboards
Mirko Margiotti -Bass
Record Label: Bakerteam Records


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