Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Best Band You've Never Heard

by Anthony Servante

On January 21, 2012, I saw Nightwish in concert at the Gibson Amphitheater. Opening the show was a band called Dommin. It was love at first hear. The group had a sound that echoed the Rock and Roll purity of the 50s mixed with the Progressive Rock drive of the 70s. The fact that this was a Millennial band blew my mind. The songs soared. The melodies were edgy and catchy, a pleasant contradiction. The vocals chewed on the tough lyrics and spat them out with the swagger of a broken-hearted hit man. The guitar work thundered and lightninged. There was unity in the music. The band played as one. The music and the musicians were inseparable. I was on my feet for every song. I knew this band was on the cusp of leading Rock and Roll into a new century. 

Dommin at the Gibson Amphitheater 2012

Dommin at the Viper Room in Los Angeles

At home, I purchased "Love is Gone", Dommin's first LP. The songs were perfect renditions of the live music (or vice versa, if you like). The selection played out like an extended piece of songwriting. Like classic LPs Supertramp's "Crime of the Century" or King Crimson's "In the Court of the Crimson King", "Love is Gone" could be listened to from beginning to end as if it were one song with classical transitions. It's hard to imagine this LP without any one song omitted. It is whole as is.

"My Heart, Your Hands" (The band's recommendation).

"New" (My personal favorite).

Needless to say, I couldn't wait for their second LP. Man, it was a long wait. Three years later, Dommin released "Rise". The 50s innocence of the band's sound evolved into a more driving beat with a stronger sense of urgency. Whereas the first LP brought love's cruelty and kindness to the surface, the second LP strove for redemption at the cost of love. These songs do not present a unified whole; each song presents its own message as a standalone anthem. Listeners may be tempted to rearrange the order of the songs to greater effect, but I strongly suggest you listen to the LP as is a few times. There is a subtle momentum not found in the first LP, but it's there and the crescendo builds from each of these songs to maximum effect. Although the urgency may seem overblown, the totality of the experience attained from the group of songs as a whole still packs power that seems more explosive with each listening. 

"The Girls" (The band's recommendation).

"Rise" (My personal favorite).

By Dommin's third LP, "Beautiful Crutch", the band seems to have found their voice. Bringing together the best of both the first and second LPs, the timeless Rock and Roll beat and the relentless drive of immediacy, Dommin has nailed the direction of their sound's evolution. They owned it on the first LP and searched for it in the second LP; now they have found the right combination that keeps the Rock and Roll sharp, whether it's in the 50's or the new Millennium. It's both a return to the greatness of simplicity while amplifying the beat that maintained a subtle momentum that roared louder with each listening. In "Beautiful Crutch", does not come full circle. Forget that. It incorporates the first two great LPs into a new and evolving sound. Each song stands alone in its own rich music, while the total group of songs create a complex unit that, once again, sounds like one long song with a thematic unification that grows richer with each listening. 

"Desire" (The band's recommendation).

"Madly" (My personal favorite).

Note: With the passing of Lemmy, Motorhead's manager continues to represent the interests of the two remaining members of Motorhead in addition to one other band. The manager and I talked about his seeking new talent since he knew I was always writing and following new bands on the Rock scene. Needless to say, I have forwarded Dommin's contact information to him and expect some news any day now. I will keep my readers up to date on any developments. I believe that Dommin's desire to tour their new LP and my manager friend's desire to feel the void left by the great Lemmy might lead to some great Rock and Roll shows in the near future. 

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