German DOMAIN have gone through quite some changes since their great debut “Our Kingdom“ back in 1988. Then they played very keyboard-y Melodic Metal and in 2005 they have reached pretty symphonic Power Metal, which still sounds like DOMAIN, even though there is only one original member left in guitarist Axel Ritt. The big cut took place in 2001, when they re-united under the banner DOMAIN after a ten-year break and step by step got heavier. The previous “The Sixth Dimension” unfortunately did not stop by, so it is some sort of missing link, but what the guys fire off on “Last Days Of Utopia“ is more then just remarkable!
After the Intro “Harbor Of Hope“ “A New Beginning“ thunders off in best epic Power Metal manner, before the nine-minute “On Stormy Seas“ is a greatly arranged song, fully working out the album’s concept. Concept? Yes, indeed, even though Axel Ritt did not want to do a concept, the story by singer Carsten Schulz was persuasive enough to realise it and it deals with a man, who’s shipwrecked and is swept on the shores of the fantasy kingdom of Utopia, bringing quite some chaos into the quiet scene. Musically it has something of more Power Metallic SAVATAGE, with progressive elements as well as some neoclassical influences and a very intense atmosphere, but always staying very catchy and multilayered, which is borne by Axel Ritt’s strong guitar work and Carsten Schulz’ very well fitting voice.
On “Ocean Paradise“ we even get the easy-going, keyboard borne melodies that had been so dominant on the early works of the Germans, while “The Beauty Of Love“ resurrects the great ballads of the Eighties, just to fully step on the gas pedal again on “The Great Rebellion“. All of this shows that the band is pretty variable and realises the different parts of the story very well, making “Last Days Of Utopia“ an absolutely convincing disc.
For many “symphonic Power Metal“ might sound horribly clichéd and all, but thankfully DOMAIN do not sound like the mainstream and keep the tension up over the whole playing time, genre fans have to listen to this! (Online December 16, 2005)