“Holding The Flag Of War”, the debut album from Brazilian Power Metallers DOMINUS PRAELII, has had the good fortune to be released three times in five years. It originally came out in 2002 on Megahard Records, and just a year later was rereleased on Dark Sun with a bonus demo, “The First Battle”. 2006 finally saw a new DP album (teehee) in “Bastards And Killers”, but in 2007, the band returned to tradition, and Metalfighters released the third (and hopefully final) version of “Holding The Flag Of War”.
Whew. That’s quite the history for an album that really isn’t all that impressive. While the song titles, album title, and band name all indicate overblown Power Metal, the band’s true sound is actually more thrashy in nature. Rougher, more aggressive Power Metal names come to mind, such as RUNNING WILD and GRAVE DIGGER. You won’t find any soaring choruses or Gregorian chants on “Holding The Flag Of War”. So why doesn’t it work?
Upon hearing the opening lines of “Hard Deadly Wheels”, I was hit by an incredible sense of déjà vu. Ever play the console/computer smash hit The Sims? Well, DOMINUS PRAELII sound exactly like the laughably generic joke-Thrash band found on the game’s radio. The vocals, the speed—the two “bands” are almost identical. Upon coming to this realization, I laughed a pitiful laugh. This was not a good sign.
The rest of the album just seems so homogenous; all the songs blend together. There’s no real hook or defining characteristic from one song to the next. The only remarkably decent thing about the album is the production—but then again, it’s only good for the most part. Whoever recorded the buried vocals couldn’t decide whether they were recording a Power Metal album or a Thrash album.
I really can’t recommend this album, but I imagine these guys have a strong enough following in their native South America, so I’ll mention something for those people. Like the 2003 reissue, this version of “Holding The Flag Of War” also contains select tracks from the band’s first demo: “Intro”, “Waves Of War”, and “Khan’s Warriors”. However, it does not include the live version of “Mighty Odin”, as found on the 2003 version, so take that into consideration if you’re dead-set on purchasing this puppy. However, with so many versions of this album floating around, how could you have not picked it up already?
(Online February 25, 2008)