Album Review: Dommin – Love Is Gone

Last October, Viola and I had the pleasure of meeting Kris Dommin (singer/guitarist/lyricist of Dommin) and attending the concert thanks to Roadrunner Records.  Feel free to read our  interview with Kris as well as our  concert review of the show.

Although, we were presented the opportunity to listen to the album well in advance, we opted to hold off publishing our thoughts about it since the release date was some time away.  Now, the time is right…  Love Is Gone is scheduled to be released on February 2nd.

In our modern musical world, many artists often imitate others. Dommin has done just the opposite.  In Love Is Gone, the band has blended a variety of music styles and created a unique sound.  The album elicits the dark side of love with a mixture of metal, alternative (ala Nine Inch Nails), new wave, and 80’s classic rock.  Kris’ vocals sound like a mixture of Jim Morrison (The Doors) and Glenn Danzig (Danzig). In addition to great vocals, Kris is a master lyricist and storyteller.  The songs are tightly written and amplify the mood of the lyrics.  And even though the music is about heartbreak, it leaves the listener with a sense of empowerment rather than despair.

The opening track, “My Heart, Your Hands,” the band’s first single released about a year ago near the original release date, is about the uncertainty of trust in love.  The opening line sets the tone for the album, “I can feel your knife carving your love in my heart. You promised you wouldn’t harm a hair from this fragile body.”  Kris pours his heart out, grabbing the listener with clean, lyrical melodies.

The slow dramatic pulse of the title track, “Love is Gone,” has a Black Sabbath heaviness which matches the emotional intensity of the music.  The song is about the emotional numbness a person feels from trying to move on after a lost love.  Kris’ singing conveys inner anger at self-pity for lost love.

There are several other tracks that I really enjoy from the album, such “Closure” and “Remember.” However, I asked Viola provide her thoughts about the album and she also discusses these tracks.  Here is what she had to say:

After meeting the band, I was impressed by their quality of musicianship and passion to produce and perform good music.  My favorite aspect of their music is Kris Dommin’s voice which adeptly expresses tenderness, rage, anguish, and heartbreak.

“Dark Holiday” is the most unique song on the album. I first heard it when I was driving home from work, and I almost had to pull over to the side of the road in order to fully grasp it. The song is derived from a keyboard riff on which Konstantine (the keyboardist) used to improvise during rehearsal.  The song combines rockabilly, The Doors, and headbanging metal. This song demonstrates the band’s sense of levity, drama, and timing.

“Without End” is a seductive, 80s flavored song with some of my favorite lyrics from this album.  The song starts with, “I am the stranger staring at you and what you’re wearing. May I undress you with my eyes. Peel off your insecurities, shell away your impurities, expose yourself for what you are.”

Later in the song, we get, “My thoughts are unrelenting, so while we’re both consenting, tell me the things that you desire. And as my first confession you are my last obsession…”

About two minutes into the song, Dommin sings in his lowest range, accompanied by a really cool drum groove that transitions into an instrumental track, “Within Reach”.

“Closure” is, to me, the masterpiece of the entire album. It alternates between a clean, rhythmic groove and a harmonically rich chorus. Dommin shows his full vocal skills ranging from a whisper, to a mellow voice, to howling anguish.

In contrast to some of the album’s angst-ridden songs, the final three tracks bring the album to a mellow finish. “One Eye Open” gets off to a mysterious start, with the vocals echoing in the distance. The short track comes to an abrupt halt. Next comes “Honestly”, an emotionally subtle song which begins with Billy James’s pulsing bass line and a whispered vocal melody. The chorus, although simple, has beautiful harmonies. The end of the track returns to the mysterious mood of “One Eye Open”, with an enigmatic guitar line and some vocal improv.

“Remember” is a glorious showcase of Dommin’s vocal talents and the most emotionally touching song of the album. It starts with a simple keyboard piano sound and open chords. The guitar joins in, along with Dommin’s mellow voice.  After the first chorus, a string section joins, adding counterpoint to the lyrical melody. The second chorus adds richness to the harmonies.  Next, a synthesized bell and a clarinet join in. The final chorus finds Dommin singing at his emotional fullest, punctuated by bell sounds.  The closing words of the song are “I remember what it feels like to fall in love since I saw you, since I saw you. Fall in love…”  It seems like the purpose of these final words is to remind the listener that no matter how badly you feel, you can still fall in love.

During our interview, Kris Dommin told us that he has another 70 to 80 songs waiting to be put on an album. This means that Love Is Gone is merely a sampling of what is to come. If this album is any indication as to the quality of the rest of their music, I can’t wait to hear the band’s next release.”

Track listing is as follows:

  1. My Heart, Your Hands
  2. New
  3. Evenfall Hollow
  4. Tonight
  5. Love Is Gone
  6. Dark Holiday
  7. Without End
  8. Within Reach
  9. Closure
  10. Making the Most
  11. One Feeling
  12. I Still Lost
  13. One Eye Open
  14. Honestly
  15. Remember
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