Fear Of Domination - Distorted Delusions - (7.5/10)
Published on February 19, 2014
“Deus Ex Machina”, the fifth track on Fear Of Domination’s third album Distorted Delusions, includes the repeated line, “expect the unexpected”. This is sound advice for anyone unfamiliar with the band, as what we have here is some very unusual and eclectic metal.
It’s a real cliché when bands asked to categorise their sound say things like, “you can’t really pigeonhole our music” or “we’re not constrained by genres”. However, when members of this band say that, they’re not far from the truth. They seem to be happy to be associated with industrial metal, but there’s so much more to this – for example, elements of death, black and modern metal are all present as well. I like to make comparisons with other bands, purely to give readers a reference point on bands they may not have heard before, but that proves rather difficult in this case. There are elements of many other bands here and there, but I’m not sure that there’s any value in highlighting them, as the sound changes so quickly and any likeness is often minimal.
I’ve made a case for a genre title of ‘kitchen sink metal’ before, as in “the band threw in everything but the kitchen sink”, and this is a perfect example of that. They throw pretty much everything into the mix, it’s amazing that the result is coherent at all. The vocals are one illustration of this – vocal styles include – death, black, (clean) male, (clean) female, spoken word (male and female) whispered, etc. Having so many elements and so much variety does mean there’s a risk of an album being hit and miss, and this is the case with Distorted Delusions.
There are some fantastic moments. The guitar solo on “Parasite”, the chorus on “Needle” and the harmony chorus in “The Great Dictator” are particulary memorable.
There is also plenty of weirdness, from the first dance music-like notes in “PaperDoll” that kick off the album and the child’s counting song, recalling ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’, in “Organ Grinder”. The latter runs the risk of being irritating, but it really works and this is one of the best songs. The keyboard on “Dead Space” could be from a trance anthem. The final track, a remix of “Legion”, is a full-on dance number and while I’m willing to embrace the diversity of Fear Of Domination, this is a step too far.
I don’t usually like dominant keyboards in metal, unless they are the dark/gloomy-sounding type à la Candlemass and some atmospheric black metal, but the keyboards here are loud, upbeat, in your face, and (usually) complement the music well.
There’s no question about whether this is metal or not though; it is often heavy and you can certainly head bang to tracks like “II” and the really fast “Legion”.
It’s not all successful; there are some weaker tracks. The “Legion” remix is easily the worst track, but “Wicked World” is average and “Parasite” is soft and pretty dull other than the brilliant guitar solo. However, even these weaker tracks usually have something interesting about them.
To save the best til last, another mention for “The Great Dictator”. Wow – what a song! The pre-chorus is heavy, yet full of melody, the chanted chorus is jaw-droppingly good and the keyboards accompanied by heavy guitars is great. Throw in some haunting spoken word samples and nice violin – if they’d somehow managed to weave in the fantastic guitar solo from on “Parasite” this would be one of my favourite songs EVER! I know the year has only just started, but even so, this is easily my Song of 2014 so far, and I’ll be surprised if it isn’t near the top of the list come December.
I get the impression that the band is quite well-known in Finland and it looks like they put on some amazing live shows – this excellent, diverse album might just see their fame spreading wider. I hope so.