by Thor

Tasmanian death metal unit DOMINATION CAMPAIGN comes out of the gates hard with their debut full-length – “Onward to Glory” – available now from Prosthetic Records.

There’s not a lot of info available on this band yet. As of now, it’s a two-man operation comprised of drummer Joe Haley (CRISIS ACT, GANGS OF OLD LADIES, PSYCROPTIC, RUINS, ex-DISSEMINATE, ex-SYNESIS ABSORPTION, ex-THE AMENTA) and his cohort Jason Peppiatt (PSYCROPTIC, ex-BORN HEADLESS, ex-M.S.I., ex-GOREVERK) on vocals, guitars, and bass. The album’s opening track, “Death Before Dishonour” was featured on a Prosthetic Records sampler, but otherwise, “Onward to Glory” is the entire canon.

Musically, Domination Campaign plays a fairly conservative version of death metal. Lots and lots of midtempo action, not a lot of blasting, and not a lot of bells and whistles. The vocals are technically guttural, but they’re more akin to the modern, nonclean vocal approach of bands like GOATWHORE or even LAMB OF GOD. There are unfortunately scant few riffs of distinction. For the most part, everything about this band’s music is just sort of middle-of-the-road. And that’s a problem when you play what’s widely referred to as “extreme metal.”

While the band’s music probably won’t blow away the tried and true among you, the production on “Onward to Glory” is fantastic. The guitar tone is among only a few good ones to come across my headphones so far this year. The vocals are aggressive and up front without ever getting into harsh territory. And most importantly, these guys have captured the type of snare sound that everyone chases but few ever catch. The only lackluster part of the mix is the bass guitar. It’s a little boxy and buried.

Conceptually, these guys also tread a well-worn path, if their song titles are any indication, at least. Everything alludes to warfare, including the tracks “The Sniper’s Gaze,” “A Modern Age of War,” and “Terror from Above.” Alas, it would seem the generals are still gathered in their masses.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with DOMINATION CAMPAIGN’s “Onward to Glory.” However, it’s not an album that I can envision myself ever listening to a second time. Make of that what you will.