‘Can you hear that?’ a young elf politely asks the wise old wizard of the shire from a small hole beneath a withered oak tree. ‘Why, I haven’t heard such a hellish sound since I gazed into the bowels of Mount Bellyache!’ the old man exclaims with a mixture of excitement and bewilderment. And thus thrash metal was born with its literary sister, science fiction.
Thankfully, none of the irony and downright campness that litters the annals of metal has been lost on High Wycombe’s bastard sons Domitian. This 10-track demo starts reasonably promisingly with the aptly titled ‘Warm Up Song’ (they seem to have a knack for titles as you’ll soon see) with their trademark skewed tempo changes. Epic Metallica-esque classical guitar intros give way to frenetic drumming, a sheer wall of guitar sound made out of the aural equivalent of breeze blocks and rasping, indecipherable hollering. And just as you’re beginning to detect a formula they go off wherever their collective imaginations take them such as the jazzy interlude in ‘Killing Fields’. Such unlikely chopping and changing that somehow hangs together hasn’t been done this well since The Rock Of Travolta’s debut EP.
The highlights have to be the hip-swinging metal stomp ‘Shit On My Head Wayne’ (oh, what a chorus...) and the controlled Slayer style riffage of ‘In God We Thrust’ (see what I mean?).
With a rather impressive combination of expert musicianship and plenty of teenage silliness they would fit in rather well with local Oxford funksters Marconi’s Voodoo or possibly the mighty Mindsurfer who both play reasonably fantastic gigs despite little acclaim. And that’s the problem with this demo. Live, I’m certain they could get a decent 6-man mosh going with a few pretty girls in Motorhead tops cooing at the sides stirring a generally enthusiastic if drunken response from the gig-going massive. On record however, it occasionally feels tedious and doesn’t bear repeated listening. Maybe it’s just me, I love my metal but I can only take it in small doses with many pinches of salt. With this approach, you can’t go too far wrong with Domitian.
5Alex Lightning's Score