ANCIENT DOME – Cosmic Gateway to Infinity
Slugging out in the Italian thrash scene since 2000, Ancient Dome has amassed quite a collection of material through the years: demos, live and split records, and two previous studio albums to this latest effort "Cosmic Gateway to Infinity". The band straddle the line of Bay Area technical thrash and older power metal – you can hear semblances of Iced Earth, Forbidden, Annihilator, and Megadeth in their sound.
Guitarists Paolo Porro and Alessandro Fontana run circles around their contemporaries, injecting a load of twin heavy hitting tricks and speed picking while dancing up and down their fretboards on winners like "…Hyperspace" and the very engaging title cut. The triplets can come at your slower and methodical as in "Nebuloid" or slightly jagged and full of off-timing charm such as opener "N.I.F. (New Interstellar Force)", giving the rhythm section of bassist Davide Bianchi and drummer Giorgio Alberti a lot of ground to cover while maintaining a sense of power and bottom end tightness. Gerardo De Feo could be the weak link of Ancient Dome – his slightly accented delivery can diminish the impact of certain tracks – but the gang background vocals make up for any slight deficiencies, check out the shape shifting "A Sea of Stars" for both aspects of their vocal presentation.
Acoustic guitars within "Dead Zone" add texture to another fabulous arrangement, a little more progressive as the tempos and riffs vary throughout this 6 minute and change track, the Porro/Fontana team again building up a series of head banging riffs and playing off of each other as the best thrash axe duos should. Given my first exposure to the band, "Cosmic Gateway to Infinity" is ideal for those who want a little more musical muscle and technical prowess within their thrash template – and as such Ancient Dome are one of the best acts in this style going today.