DOMINIA – The Withering Of A Rose

DOMINIA – The Withering Of A Rose

Even though all three of the original Peaceville Trinity (Anathema, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost) started out as death/doom projects, all fairly equally dividing the death and doom, already on their 2nd album (the legendary masterpiece "Turn Loose The Swans" by many regarded as their best) My Dying Bride showed a great gothic metal tendency, which they both continued on the subsequent recordings and occasionally made dominant. It is that period in their discography that the Russian style purveyors Dominia seem to emulate on their 5th album, dressed in some modern influences.

Having begun as Tentamentum in 1999, in St. Petersburg, Russia, and continued for 2 years before changing the name, Dominia debuted with a "Dancing With Marie Jane" demo (2001), but they had to wait 5 years for a release of their 1st full length, "Divine Revolution" (2006), which they followed with "Judgment Of Tormented Souls" (2008), "Theophania" (2014) and "Stabat Mater" (2017), before this 5th album, "The Withering Of A Rose", preceded by three singles, "My Flesh And The Sacred River", "Suprema", "The Elephant Man" (interestingly, the 3 highlights on the album). With their debut album, they resembled more the melodeath of Enforsaken with a solid symphonic Dimmu Borgir-ian basis, and were, overall, a much more extreme being. With time, they incorporated more and more gothic/romantic elements, which is another way in which they are similar to My Dying Bride. Accordingly, for this album, Anton Rosa (vocals, bass), Denis "Daniel" Sukharev (guitars), Oleg "Papa" Filistovich (drums) and Mikhail Morozkin (violin) were tremendously inspired and influenced by Peaceville past and present, although, curiously, not that much by Paradise Lost as compared to the remaining two.

Specifically, most of this well written and quite catchy album is quite heavily inspired by "The Angel And The Dark River", "Like Gods Of The Sun" My Dying Bride, the morose "Nomoreus" (or "No More Us" for the less observant) the best example, with its obvious "The Silent Enigma" Anathema references and the surprising black metal twist in the middle, but what really makes this record are the aforementioned singles. The crown jewel is the fantastic, "The Elephant Man", with a very melodic catchy riff opening, an abundant trumpet, and some of the melodiscism strongly recalling My Dying Bride’s "The Light At The End Of The World", "The Dreadful Hours" era, while Anton sounds so eerily like Aaron Stainthorpe I suspected a guest cameo on vocals (and still am not quite sure), but the highlight of the song is the transitory, first trumpet, then guitar, then violin solo, all in a rapid succession but with a midpaced rhythmic background. "My Flesh And The Sacred River", an all too obvious reference to My Dying Bride’s 3rd album, boasts very similar stylings, excellent ancient Swallow The Sun melody, Vader’s Piotr "Peter" Paweł Wiwczarek/Lamb Of God’s David Randall "Randy" Blythe growls, Hypocrisy’s Alf Peter Tägtgren clean vocals, more violins (of course), the track generally the most akin to the melodeath/doom of Dominia’s debut album. It is the "Eternity", "Judgment" Anathema-nian "Suprema" which is the most surprising twist here, with Anton additionally sounding like Anders Fridén on In Flames’ "Come Clarity", Pink Floyd-ian acoustics turned epic alternative metal.

"The Withering Of A Rose" has a few questionable choices, such as the instrumental title track which, while full of interesting and catchy ideas, overall, seems pointless without vocals. The album’s lead off, "I Want To Forget" isn’t the greatest, either, again, full of good ideas and catchy moments, but somehow subdued, as if it were simply barely introducing you to the record, instead of hitting you square in the jaw, right away. But if so, then there’s seemingly similar consideration in both "The Light Of The Black Sun" and the ancient Grey Skies Fallen-sounding "Entombed In Grief", the latter opening wit riffs highly reminiscent of Callenish Circle’s "Graceful…Yet Forbidding" album, both tracks good but not great almost funeral doom, yet contributing to the impression as if Dominia was sometimes holding back, whereas they could really unfold their creative wings given the knowledge, experience, skills and abilities they doubtless possess. The bonus track, "The Song That You Don’t Like" is another witness, with its The Smashing Pumpkins vibe, showing that the album is one of many colors but some shining brighter than others.

"The Withering Of A Rose" is a very good album, overall, but I can’t see myself hanging on to it past the 4 review listening sessions. Still, if you appreciate My Dying Bride’s "The Angel And The Dark River", "The Light At The End Of The World" "The Dreadful Hours", Anathema’s "The Silent Enigma", "Eternity", "Judgment", Swallow The Sun’s "The Morning Never Came" with some In Flames’ "Come Clarity" ballad flair, give it a whirl.