Despite the science fiction style cover artwork, Ancient Dome take listeners to the ancient world of thrash metal. That said, it is clear that these four Italians totally worship and try to recreate the atmosphere of the yore. In which they do indeed succeed, but they have to pay for it with the lack of originality. However, the band were able to preserve their individuality, which helps a lot.
In their biography the band write that they "try to recreate the atmospheres of bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Heathen, Testament, Coroner, Forbidden, Slayer, Exodus, Overkill and so on, mixing the thrash sound with a little bit of melody." There is no way denying that description. Bay Area thrash collides with Teutonic stylistics, assimilating into a biting attack, and the melodiousness adds catchiness without propelling the whole into weak and soft zone, or into Gothenburg regions. The songs vary from straighter assaults such as 'Ancient Dome', 'State of Regression' and 'Total Command' (which still offer quite a lot to consume in the form of riffage and soloing etc., believe me), to more branching compositions like the five-part 'The Human Key Saga'. The majority of the songs are well-built, but the instrumental 'IV. Aeons' is totally expendable. The music and the lyrics are all penned by the vocalist/guitarist Paolo "Paul" Porro, who is reasonably adequate shouter in vein of Destruction's Schmier, but without similar shrieking. A surprisingly good semi-ballad (any band can always miss so badly with one) 'Cold September' features a guest vocalist Cesare Zanotti, who sounds like a mixture of Edguy's Tobias Sammet and Icelander Eirikur Hauksson (aka Eric Hawk).
The playing is good, except from the drummer who handles 99.9% of the faster parts without any kind of hardship, but when the tempo drops to lower speeds, the drumming gets tacky and the misses are heaping up fast. Weird. This brings us to the production job, which is careless. First, this made me think if the drums were recorded on one take, because I can't understand why so careless drumming? Well, no Pro-Tools used, hehe! The stringed instruments sound tasty, because of the nuances (you can hear the bass strings clapping for example), as well as the vocals. The mix lacks of the bass, and the whole sounds powerless and non-uniform, albeit discernible. The lyrics deal with thrashing, future technologies, societies and beliefs. The cover with a green logo and white borders should lift up from the pile of metal albums... Good, if still a bit amateurish, work.
Although 'Human Key' has its defects, the band show a lot of potential. They clearly have enthusiasm and even though it is unoriginal as fuck, they are sincere in a true way. If you like melodic thrash metal, you just can spin 'Human Key' on and on...
Rating: 7 (out of 10) ratings explained
Reviewed by Lane