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Domination Campaign – Onward To Glory

Domination Campaign
Onward To Glory
by Justin Joseph at 06 September 2021, 11:39 PM

DOMINATION CAMPAIGN is the recent side project constructed by the duo of Joe Haley and Jason Peppiat both belonging to the Australian Death Metal juggernaut, PSYCROPTIC. There most recent and first full length album, "Onward to Glory", released on Prosthetic Records, is one that utilizes the Death Metal formula but with added grooves and intensity driven musical aspects into the mix. So how is the actual album? Let's find out!

The production chosen for this release is cloaked in more polished and crisper aesthetic, meaning the mixing of the instrumental elements are done quite well, where all singular aspects can be heard but brought together they create a unison that is sharp, precise and quite militant. A positive about the production chosen here is that even though it's one which skin bares no protrusions nor a rough exteriority, it doesn't sacrifice the revulsion discharged by the strings and percussive elements, instead the aggression displayed here undergoes a transformation that maintains the spirit but the body which acts as it's vessel is more robust and relentless almost mechanized. The tracks, "As Daylight breaks" and "Terror from Above" are examples where the mix utilized enhances the overall listening experience, since most of the song structures rely on the intensity and grooves in which the production creates a pathway for those aspects to be exaggerated in order to accentuate the atmosphere that is created. "The Sniper's Gaze" is another song which utilizes grooves coupled with a slow drum beat for its intro, while it's simplistic, the production here illuminates each element allowing the listener to hear more depth to the playing, such as the metallic tinge that is exuded from the strings being picked to the crash of every beat, and this is where the mix shines, again, one can compare the overall musical structure to a well-used dagger that has tasted numerous battles, but if pressed against a whetstone, it's blade would become deadlier and much more dangerous, this is how DOMINATION CAMPAIGN utilizes the album's production to their own benefit.

The musical elements forged by the instruments is another positive that is echoed throughout, "Onward to Glory" , as the album is stylistically built around a foundation of groove laden patterns ( it sometimes can remind one of the modern era of OBITUARY) exhibited by the combo of the guitars and drums. "A Modern Age of War" is an example of one of the tracks that makes use of this formula, however, the band doesn't simply rely on the hooks of grooves to make this album appealing as to there are bouts of intensified riffing as well as pulsating drumming that breaks up the groove patterns, this acts as a positive as it makes these elements on the track as well as the album much more satisfying when they are executed. The vocal delivery which echoes throughout this release feels like a war cry spewed from a tongue heavy with malice, as it gives the feeling of pure chaos as the verses are bellowed forth. The track, "Domination Campaign" demonstrates the vox fused with the instrumental elements in a way that the vocals highlight certain climatic points on the track wherever it requires intense-driven riffing, in other words, the vocal patterns on this track (as well as the album as a whole) forms around the contours of the musical direction in different shapes that are formed, and it is done so rather serviceable.

Even though there exist many positives about this debut, there are some negatives that reside within, even though it may not compromise the album structure that has been built. For Instance, even though the instrumental playing and vocal delivery are excellent combined with the production (as mentioned before), as singular elements they illuminate within their own space, however when combined to form one cohesive song, sometimes the connective tissue which binds these factors may not be as strong as to make them coexist in one body at the same time. Again it's not a negative that courses through every track, but in my opinion, its one that prevents this album from being almost perfect.

In ending this review, this is an album I would still recommend to all Extreme Metal fans and even those of PSYCROPTIC. While it may not be a perfect album and it's certainly one whose formula already exists, it's still very much enjoyable especially where the grooves are concerned. For a debut from the two (2) heads of PSYCROPTIC, this is rather strong start for a musical duo and it's one I look forward to for more releases in the future!

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Death Before Dishonour
2. Onward to Glory
3. As Daylight Breaks
4. The Sniper's Gaze
5. A Modern Age of War
6. Against the Odds
7. Terror from Above
8. The Domination Campaign
Joe Haley - Drums
Jason Peppiatt - Vocals, Guitars, Bass
Record Label: Prosthetic Records


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