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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

CD Review: Dommin - Love is Gone

Dommin - Love is Gone
2010 Roadrunner Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Nobody does Glenn Danzig like Danzig himself, albeit no one shared the actuality with Tiger Army's Nick 13 and Volbeat's Michael Poulsen. Or Kristofer Dommin, for that matter.

While Danzig himself is perhaps Satan's bastard offspring to the secretive love tryst between Elvis and Jim Morrison, there's been a marketable niche to his seductive throat flutters and dank romanticism which--love him or hate him--has inspired many successive artists to rape their throats attempting replication.

Kristofer Dommin has built himself a tuneful Goth metal playground not only the vamps, the drapes and the trenchcoat militia can hang out at. After only one self-produced album, 2006's Mend Your Misery, the Danzig-Nick 13-Peter Steele-Jim Morrison disciple scores big with his line-cutting Roadrunner Records debut. While 15 songs on Dommin's sophomore album Love is Gone creates for a gratuitous momentum-halter towards the end, there's no argument Dommin and his alt metal squad capitalize on their good fortunes.

Type O Negative, Katatonia and My Dying Bride might be considered the poster boys of Goth metal at its edgiest. The equally exciting though dancier Lacrimas Profundere leaves little room for other Goth groups to drape yin and yan chiaroscuro shadowing their haunted palaces in-the-making. It's thus sufficient to say Goth metal finds itself in a gray clog of confusion with only a handful of genuine experts practicing the craft.

Dommin, however, possesses the rare ability to transcend the woe-speckled belief system of Goth through hook-oriented singalong gateways endorsing pleasure beneath the inherent pain. They loop some Type O along with the other aforementioned comparables and subtle splashes of Sisters of Mercy, the sovereign lords of Goth rock for all-time. A song like "Making the Most" gives Dommin a resonance of Danzig in search of middle ground between his dirtiest solo output and his dreamy late-eighties offshoot Glenn Danzig and the Power Fury Orchestra. On the other hand, Dommin can stomp on their amp pedals with kick ace rockout sessions like "One Feeling" and their hip two-step to the fugue, "New."

Love is Gone opens with the dense, doomy and luxurious "My Heart, Your Hands," a song with more tunefulness than your average mud-slogged dirge march. Kristofer Dommin fields all of the guitars in addition to the vocals, and his group consisting of Billy James (bass), Konstantine (keys) and Cameron Morris (drums) play effectively into his schemes by plowing volume and tapestried choruses after Kristofer coaxes his audience out of their pants. "Tonight" goes right for the dial (and jeans fastener) as a slick merge of Goth-Pop sensuality. Kristofer disports amorous swoons in breathy seduction to the point "Tonight's" ruddy and spirited harmony becomes instant addiction.

It might've served Dommin's purposes best to have kept Love is Gone blocked at perhaps 12 songs, or even 11 if they wanted to strive for the always-sharp leave 'em wanting more motif. Granted, a couple tracks are short instrumental interludes for mood-staking purposes, such as the Depeche Mode-esque synth strut Konstantine emits on "Within Reach." Konstantine's electro viaduct bridges the bobbing rocker "Without End" to the crashing, emotive ballad "Closure." Depsite Kristofer Dommin's propensity to follow a snaky Danzig vocal line on the tapping, reserved verses of "Closure," he alters his octave to a unique alto which soars gracefully on the amplified and bell-clanged choruses. A rather interesting tryptych of varied affections.

"Dark Holiday" comes off gleefully like a step-heavy cabaret from a padded cell as Dommin assumes a Jim Morrison drawl on the verses to the accompaniment of an Amanda Palmer/Dresden Dolls piano calliope, launching into headbanging Type O Negative-ish choruses. As much as the title song drags with chain-strapped heaviness like both Danzig and Steele, "Dark Holiday" presents a chipper, playful antithesis to the melodic gloom prevailing on this album.

Despite overstaying its welcome in the final round of songs, Love is Gone is a highly entertaining album chocked with more Glenn Danzig impersonations than a Misfits convention. Luckily for Dommin, it's also filled with distinctively-penned tunes targeted straight for the nightcrawlers of the metal underground...

Rating: ****

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to see just how permeant memory has become in our lives. It seems like everywhere I turn, I see something with a card slot or USB port, haha. I guess it makes sense though, considering how cheap memory has become as of late...

Gahhhh, I shouldn't be complaining. I can't get by a single day without using my R4 / R4i!

(Posted from R4Post for R4i Nintendo DS.)