Dominum – Hey Living People (Napalm Records)

Wednesday, 27th December 2023
Rating: 8 / 10

When you assemble people who have proper respect as well as understanding of the tasks at hand, the results can be ideal even if it’s a newcomer outfit. Producer/songwriter Felix Heldt has worked with Feuerschwanz and Visions of Atlantis among others – stepping into this power metal act Dominum in the vocalist role (surname Dr. Dead), telling the stories of zombies and survival using a dramatic, horror movie atmosphere on their debut album Hey Living People. Recording the album with Jacob Hansen (who also mixed/mastered the record), much of this material straddles a modern mix of focused material chock full of catchy, larger than life choruses, a splash of keyboard orchestration, as well as the crunchy, down-tuned guitars beyond heavy, moving rhythm section work that keeps listeners bouncing, appeased from first note to last.

The combination of knowledge / execution behind the basic songwriting ethics put into play ensures numerous highlight moments – much like you’d expect taking in the discography of Powerwolf, Sabaton, or Battle Beast. Most will find it hard to resist the steady mid-tempo power groove or choir-like chorus on hand for “Patient Zero”, which then shifts into more of a cinematic, drama-filled playfulness in a semi-ballad format during the follow-up “We All Taste the Same”, the lyrical content tongue in cheek as humans are ‘caught in the food chain’. The triumphant strains plus push/pull accents between the bass, guitars and vocals carry “Danger Danger” to that ideal Dominum anthem status – the harmony-fueled melodies, ‘woah—oooh’ big background vocal spotlights beyond keyboard sprinkled accents sure to go down a storm when the band takes these songs to the stage. Revitalizing the 80’s pop/alternative craze, you’ll also get a metalized reinterpretation of Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record)”, the twists in modern groove tempo, chugging guitars, and Teutonic-styled vocals (in multiple variations) allowing the group to make this all their own.

Most melodic, modern power metal these days considers the virtually expansive sound banks on hand to encompass a sound/style that has multiple levels for the listener to appreciate, properly thinking about retention beyond initial exposure as the infectious nature of the hooks hit you every time. Dominum achieves that easily through Hey Living People, which liberally borrows from established veterans yet keeps the hordes chanting, screaming, jumping for more.

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