- Dark Domination
Dark Domination performing live in December 2009
Left to right: Dethecrator, Lord Messir, Midgard, Halpas
Background information Origin Riga, Latvia Genres Black metal
Years active 1996 – present Labels Witchcraft Productions, Illegal Angel, I.N.R.I. Productions, Beverīna, Ketzer Records, Sabbathid Records, Evil Distribution Associated acts Nycticorax, Urskumug, Nightwing, Agares, Mutilate Myself, Kriegsturm, Uruk-Hai Website www.darkdomination.com 
Members Lord Messir
Past members Lodbrok
Dark Domination is a black metal band of Latvian origin, active since 1996. To the date, Dark Domination have released three full-length albums, one extended play, one compilation of demo tapes and one full-length show on video, and have toured Northern and Eastern Europe. Dark Domination also have experimented with drone doom genre and ambient sounds on various albums.
The band was created by Lord Messir (vocals, guitar, occasional keyboards) in 1996 under name Domination and initially emerged as one-man death metal project. On the next year Lord Messir switched to black metal, renaming his project to Dark Domination and asking different session musicians to join the project, although full line-up was assembled only after year 2000. After recordings of various demos, debut album Blasphemy was released in 2001 on Latvian underground label Beverīna in collaboration with German label Ketzer Records (later the debut album was re-released by Portuguese Hallucination 'Zine as a limited edition tape in 1000 copies with new artwork). The band also began to play shows in different countries.
2004 saw the release of demo tape … Of Hate & Blood — compilation of various demos from previous years that had not appeared on Blasphemy album. The compilation was released by Illegal Angel Productions (Greece).
In 2005, the CD Let Satan Speak Through Our Lips was released by I.N.R.I. Records (France) along with live show God's Tormentors: Live in Czech Republic (filmed during 2005 Apocalypse Festival in Czech Republic). The video was released on VHS and is not available anymore; the album Let Satan Speak Through Our Lips was later re-released with altered artwork by Russian label Witchcraft Productions in 2007 and is still available. Also, available is the next LP Rebellion 666 that was released in 2006 via Evil Distribution. The latest release is an EP Reign of the Fallen One (2008) on Japanese label Sabbathid Records.
Initially, Lord Messir had difficulties to find serious bandmates to play extreme black metal, as Latvian underground metal scene in early and mid-1990s consisted mostly of death, thrash and pagan metal bands (Skyforger is known today best of them outside Latvia). First line-up capable of playing live shows consisted of Lord Messir, Lodbrok (guitars, backing vocals), Eligor (bass) and Frostmourn (drums). After the death of Frostmourn (06/08/2004; he was found hanged in the forest) the drumming duties were taken over by Midgard (drums, occasional clean vocals). This line-up recorded Let Satan Speak Through Our Lips, God's Tormentors and Rebellion 666, however, Lodbrok quit and was replaced by lead guitarist Halpas. They wrote the latest EP Reign of the Fallen One with guest appearances of Uruk-Hai (released by Japanese label Sabbathid Records). The last line-up change was Dethecrator stepping in for bass and backing vocals.
Although Lord Messir remains the creative engine for the band, he does not bear sole responsibility for Dark Domination's music anymore. All members are contributing to songwriting and recording.
Currently (as of September 2009) Dark Domination are headlining Black Magic Tour in Estonia (together with Estonian openers Viirastus and fellow Latvian band Ocularis Infernum). The band is also finishing the songwriting for their new album Chariots of the Gods (TBA 2010).
The band's sound is characterized by complex, elaborate song structures with fast, dissonant chord sequences on irritating scales, extreme blast beat drumming and shrieked/growled vocals. Most of the songs involves unpredictable changes of tempo and rhythm. Lyrical content includes anti-religious, agnostic, misanthropic, nihilistic, heretic and Satanist topics that are typical for the Second Wave black metal.
Dark Domination uses B.C. Rich and Jackson guitars along with Washburn six-string bass. All their songs are in standard guitar tuning (e'bgdAE) and are played with heavy distortion, although the bass is tuned down to CGDAEA. The only effects in use are distortion pedals for guitars and hall effect for lead vocal on live shows. Acoustic guitars, organ and clean backing vocals are used occasionally on the recordings (on live shows all the backing vocals are growled, with an only exception for the chorus line of the track "Servants of the Black Art").
Their music is notable for total lack of guitar solos, despite most tracks being 5 to 8 minutes long. In their live shows, Dark Domination uses a vast variety of pre-recorded intros and fillers between the songs.
Experiments and collaborations
On their album Let Satan Speak Through Our Lips the band have experimented with drone doom sound to create droning instrumental soundscape Beyond the Gates of Hell that lasts approximately half an hour. The composition was split in 8 parts and appears in the album as intro and fillers between songs. Similar approach have been used on album Rebellion 666, however, the droning composition bears no name.
On album Let Satan Speak Through Our Lips, the closing track "Isanda Teenistuses" is written and recorded in collaboration with Estonian folk/black metaller Ahto-Lembit "Lembetu" Lehtmets of Loits. Additionally, Lembetu has provided guest vocals on Rebellion 666 bonus track "Edasi, Saatana Lapsed" (the song actually is the same as title track of the album, only the lyrics are translated and sung in Estonian).
On the latest EP, Reign of the Fallen One, there are a symphonic intro "Venus Rising" and outro "Angel Enthroned". Both are written and recorded by Hugin of Austrian black ambient project Uruk-Hai.
Artwork, corpsepaint and stage names
The artwork is created and directed by French painter Antonin Delas, who is a long-term collaborator of Dark Domination. Delas' paintings for all the album covers are monochrome — every album in different basic colour (Let Satan Speak Through Our Lips is dark red, Reign of the Fallen One — green, Rebellion 666 — orange; black and white covers of debut album Blasphemy and early demo tapes are not created by Delas). Let Satan Speak Through Our Lips album was exposed at Delas' personal exhibitions in Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom as one of his conceptual works in visual art.
As typical for their genre, Dark Domination uses corpsepaint while performing live. The members of the band are known only by their stage names, and their true identities are known only by close friends. This is not just due to almost 30-year tradition of the black metal genre: all the members of Dark Domination are working-class people and they are keeping the distance between their day jobs and underground scene of counter culture to avoid any possible disturbing interferences to the music. (Destructive Christian sectarians recently have burned and destroyed Latvian national folklore books just for the cause of «being non-Christian» and also have threatened press before. If the sectarians found out existence of Satanist black metal in Latvia there would be actual risk of erupting a bloody riot.)
Members of Dark Domination are maintaining straight anti-drug attitude and are consuming no alcoholic beverages over rehearsals, recordings and even before the shows or on stage because of wanting, according to Dethecrator, "… to give out the energy by 666 per cent!" With tongue-in-cheek, this approach has been mentioned by other bands as «kosher attitude».
Dark Domination is one of the oldest Latvian bands that have recorded and performed continuously over years with no hiatus. Despite this fact, in the recent years the band has performed in their homeland just twice. This have earned wrong reputation for Dark Domination among some of their fellow Latvian metalheads that the band considers themselves 'too good for playing in their own country'. As explained by Lord Messir, "we are ready to play a show whenever and wherever we are asked for, and we highly appreciate all the metal fans in our country. The problem is that Latvian circuit of metal music is very small, knowing that overall population of Latvia is just 2 millions, and the grassroots market of live metal shows is virtually controlled by one company. If you have no good relationship to them, they simply don't ask you to join in for their shows. We can, of course, try to start alternate show circuit in Latvian alternative underground culture but it would generate only financial loss and — unfortunately — we're not rich enough and we cannot afford it."
References in popular culture
- Blasphemy (LP, 2001; re-issued 2003)
- … Of Hate & Blood (compilation of demo tapes, 2004)
- Let Satan Speak Through Our Lips (LP, 2005; re-issued 2007)
- God's Tormentors: Live in Czech Republic (live show on video, 2005)
- Rebellion 666 (LP, 2006)
- Reign of the Fallen One (EP, 2008)
- Chariots of the Gods (TBA)
- Вовчик – vocals, guitar, keyboards, sampling (1996 – present)
- Halpas – lead guitar (since 2007)
- Dethecrator – bass, brutal and clean backing vocals (live) (since 2009)
- Midgard - drums, clean vocals (on recordings) (since 2003)
- Lodbrok – guitars, backing vocals (1999–2006)
- Frostmourn — drums (2004)
- Eligor — bass (2003 — 2009)
- G. — drums (1997 — 1998)
- ^ http://www.ferrum.lt/english/inter.php?id=3
- ^ http://witchcraft666.com/releases.html
- ^ http://www.antonindelas.com/english/index.htm
- ^ http://witchcraft666.com/bands.html
- ^ http://www.diena.lv/lat/politics/hot/ledjajevs-gramatu-dedzinataji-balstijas-uz-svetajiem-rakstiem
- ^ http://www.zdnetasia.com/downloads/pc/swinfo/0,39043052,50002580r-39177231s,00.htm%7Cdate=09.12.2009
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