Italian band Ancient Dome's foundation lies in thrash metal of the yore. However, with their second full length album 'Perception of This World', they have decided to take their other influences further than they did with their 2009 debut album 'Human Key'.
The first thing that stroke me about 'Perception of This World' was its forceless and stuffy production, even though it's somewhat better than the debut's. You know when you have flu, your hearing feels like it's somewhat clogged? This is how this album sounds like, as if some pitches were missing. The second thing that stroke me was the awful artwork, with stupid (the Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty next to each other in a sea of lava and in the middle of ice) and pretty ugly cover artwork and 2-page comic inside the booklet. The whole looks very inconsistent. Only after these two elements I really began to concentrate on the music, of course having quite two-parted thoughts about this album...
...But I was happy to hear, that Ancient Dome don't really fail this time either. At first, the album is about speedy and simple thrash metal songs (plus the closer 'DevastHate'). They sound a lot like Bay Area thrashings. From these faster songs, 'When the Day Dies' is my favourite, as it feels the most coloured one. 'Predominance' is the most boring, bluntest of these, because a good chorus alone can't rescue this disjointed song. The album's lame production is most evident on faster, simpler songs, because these songs really crave for a heavier sound.
The title track takes turn into more adventurous song structures. At last some variety! More interesting musicwise, the thoughts start to diminish about the lacking production soon. The band start to sound more individual, too. 'Confused Certainty' includes some later Death style technical / progressive guitar work. The "obligatory ballad" (power ballad, mind you) of the album, 'Dream again', is totally ruined by awful and limp vocals by a guesting "talent". Annoyingly croaked verses are hell to listen to, and suddenly this guy begins to sing on bridge and chorus parts. Why didn't he sing the whole song, then, if he could have done it? 'Gordian Knot' hasn't been ruined by any kinds of vocals, but is an interesting prog metal song. The second short instrumental song, 'Intro(mission)' being the first, 'Collision' feels pointless too. As a whole, the album is holey and feels it was blindly put together, throwing different songs and short songs in a row.
This time around the performances from the musicians are better. It's great to hear, that the drums are now competent and devoid of clumsiness. The vocals feel a tad too one-sided (not counting those gross guesting ones), but again, better production could help and give them more power too. It's shouty vocals all the way through, sometimes reminding me of Schmier of Destruction and Death Angel's Mark Osegueda.
To me, 'Human Key' is still a better album from these guys. Surely, this is promising, but next time around I suggest that they should think real hard about getting an outside producer and hitting a better studio to get some punch on the sound department. The band's biggest advantage is their style to give all those familiar influences their own stamp and turn it to sound like Ancient Dome.
Rating: 6½ (out of 10) ratings explained
Reviewed by Lane