Interview with vocalist and bassist David "Aggressor"
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: March 8, 2014
Spanish Death Metal trio Domains released their debut album, Sinister Ceremonies, on the small independent Finnish label The Sinister Flame at the beginning of January 2014. Sinister Ceremonies showcases some of Death Metal's most important elements; crushing and corpse-heavy riffs, morbid and grandiose melodies, haunting and deeply touching atmospheres. All of this is accomplished without losing focus on anything which means Domains are ready to take the Death Metal world by storm.
Domains vocalist and bassist, David "Aggressor", wanted to share some of his thoughts about the band's debut album and also gives us some inside information on this new Death Metal sensation. Read on...
Luxi: How's it rotting, David?
David: Everything is fine here; Blessed Are the Sick was just on and filled the atmosphere with vehemence and grandiosity.
Luxi: When Domains was formed, back in 2005, you said you were inspired by such acts as Morbid Angel, Slayer, old Metallica, Destruction, and Mayhem, among others. When did Domains start taking a more sinister, dark and gloomy musical turn, setting the tone for the kind of Death Metal you play these days?
David: The inspiration we drew from the aforementioned bands goes beyond the musical plane. But, to answer your question and to be totally honest, I will say that the pronounced twist towards darker and more sinister paths on our later songs has occurred gradually through the years. The very first glimpses of what would become our present "style" appeared very early in the life of the band and can be heard on some of our very first songs. It was during the development of these primordial tracks when unequivocal traces of an irrational and powerful expression started to appear, forces that attracted us and still attracts us today; a true inspiration to go further in our compositions.
Luxi: What were your goals and what were hoping to achieve when your music started taking shape?
David: Our first and foremost aim was, and still is, the concept of Domains as something indisputably dark and solemn with a focus on the freshness and expressiveness of our compositions. No compromise. I will add that we never bothered to predict the exact style of Metal we would play; we simply let it arise naturally according to our goals and principles. And that is what we'll do going forward.
Luxi: There's actually quite a lot of very dark, evil and morbid flavor to Domains' sound. Would you say this is something that has come naturally or do you believe you have reached this point only after hours and hours of intense work?
David: While the hard work has helped us in reaching our aim of sounding dark, in a severe and compelling way, there is something in achieving this goal which is really hard to explain. Power and force, with such dark and sinister nuances as the ones contained in this music, is not easily found. This "magic" may appear or it may not; it doesn't depend solely on the amount of work and hours that you spend on it. You have to feel the inspiration and have enough personality to make the right decisions at the right times.
Of course, confidence in ourselves, and that what we are doing is the right thing, has been essential from the beginning.
Luxi: What was the experience of recording your first 9-track demo, Towards Pleroma, like? Did you feel, at that time, that this demo would put Domains on the Death Metal map and were you happy with the way it turned out?
David: Recording Towards Pleroma was a step in the right direction. Our opinion about it remains the same. It was an important point of reference that guided us in creating our first full-length. In its weaknesses and errors, we found the necessary blood-thirst to make our first opus. We believed in its potential and spread it accordingly; otherwise we would never have made it public.
Luxi: Domains has some satanic themes interwoven into the band's image. Is all this Satanism and occultism just part of the band's image or does Satanism, and all things related to it, have a more personal meaning?
David: Given the nature of the question, I can only answer as far as I'm concerned.
The concept of Domains, both the lyrics and the image, is a result of my thoughts and personal experiences from practical and theoretical study of occultism and other matters of religious nature. I see Domains, with its music, as the appropriate channel to express these thoughts.
Luxi: How fascinated are you by this dark side? Are you the kind of curious person that wants to explore things of a dark nature because there's some truly unexplained magnetism there?
David: More than sufficient to spend the most intimate moments of my life besides offering real priority to it. The level of implication in these matters is something that each one who is involved on this must choose. Curiosity is never enough.
Luxi: Let's talk about your debut album, Sinister Ceremonies, shall we? What can you tell us about the recording process? Was it easy to get the album recorded and did it turn out the way you originally hoped? Did you face any major setbacks?
David: Without going into the technical details (they are really boring to explain), I will say that it has been a long process and we had to overcome several obstacles that delayed the release many times. The common vision between us and our label, TSF, that this creation wasn't just another "music record" has been essential. It could only see the light of the day when we were fully satisfied with the outcome, which was the main rule and helped us to overcome all the problems that we encountered. All the sweat and blood that has been spilled for Sinister Ceremonies were worth it.
Luxi: Was it only these 10 songs that you that you had ready or were more songs that you intended to record but, for some reason or the other, had to leave them off Sinister Ceremonies?
David: Before starting the recording process, we conceived this opus as complete with only these ten songs, without exception. That was the only possible way for this-full length to see the light of day.
Luxi: To me, your debut album sounds absolutely fantastic; utterly dark, sinister, and wickedly eerie as Death Metal should sound. My ears hear bits from such dark sounding Metal troops as Sadistic Intent, Demigod, Immolation, Asphyx and Incantation. I would guess those are bands that you respect in your own unholy books but feel free to correct me if I am totally wrong about this?
David: As said before, our influences are many, but it's true that among them there are recordings by some of the bands you mentioned. I have nothing but respect for these unholy releases.
Luxi: One of the great things about this album is its versatile sound. There are many breaks for calmer seas, and then the full-on, raging Death Metal storm gets unleashed again. Was this what you wanted Sinister Ceremonies to be like?
David: Versatility is a Luciferian quality in my eyes and, considering that our creations are directly influenced by our vision of the occult, it's natural for Sinister Ceremonies to possess such an attribute. It's something that manifested naturally and was not done with intention.
Luxi: How important are keyboards to Domains' sound? Are they essential to get more depth and dark atmospheres?
David: The keyboard-synth parts that can be heard on Sinister Ceremonies are far from being simple ornamentations. This time they played a more decisive role and that gave us the ability to create a deeper and more abysmal sound, apart from being an excellent reference in composition, and they fit perfectly with the multiple basses and guitars. They will continue to play an important role on future studio releases.
Luxi: What can you tell us about the album's cover? To me, it looks morbid and sinister indeed, in its own psychedelic way...
David: It is a splendid work done by Ignacio Bernácer. Its more obvious meaning, among many things, I see a dying "mercy" gasping for air as part of a sacrifice that will be repeated forever, all under a glorious sulfur sky. But everyone must let it "speak" to them and have their own valid interpretation...
Luxi: Looking back, is there anything on this opus that you wish had turned out better, now that you have some distance from the album's creation?
David: The search for constant improvement always brings the desire to change something for the better. This case is no different but, although there are small details that we would change, these are trifles that do not affect the vision, as represented by this creation, and we are fully satisfied.
Luxi: How much are you into touring and playing gigs? Do you see gigging as a vital part of the promotion of Domains? How easy it is for you to get gigs booked for Domains in your area around Valencia? Are there some cool places to do shows?
David: We are open to the idea of doing live appearances, but they must be seriously organized events instead of parties for geeks and drunks. We don't see concerts as just another way of promotion; they are definitely something that goes beyond. I see them as an invocation to a particular sinister force on a concrete space, a perfect opportunity to perform a magic ritual.
There are many venues to play in Valencia, but most of them are pretty miserable and are run by very stupid people.
Luxi: Have you ever considered adding a second guitarist for Domains' live line-up, just to thicken the band's sound and make it more powerful or are you happy to go on stage as trio?
David: Right now we are rehearsing as a four-piece band with the addition of a second guitarist. This will be for live purposes only. We are also prepared to perform our sinister rituals as a trio, if necessary.
Luxi: If you got the chance to tour with one band, which one would you consider the ideal touring partner and why?
David: It would be an immense honor to tour and share the stage with bands that are really devoted and serious about the concept they represent. Tt doesn't matter if we don't share the same exact vision of the Left Hand Path. Having said that, I would cite Necros Christos, Dead Congregation, Altar of Perversion or Angelcorpse as perfect examples.
Luxi: Spain has always had a pretty cool scene for Death Metal with Avulsed, from Madrid, as perhaps the most internationally known name over the years. Do you view Spain's Death Metal scene as strong and growing or do you feel it lacks of something these days?
David: If we talk about bands, is true that some really good examples of their respective "genres" of extreme Metal have emerged from Spain recently, something that was unthinkable some years ago. But we don't care for what most bands and people here represent, as we are following a different path with different goals.
Luxi: What are your feelings about these modern Death Metal or Metalcore bands that mix Death grunts with clean vocals, plus have an emo/hipster look? Do you consider it as 'the future of Metal'?
David: Their existence is one of the finest examples of irrelevance; we don't have any relationship with those kinds of bands. Considerations regarding them are also non-existent.
Luxi: How do you view the state of Death Metal these days? Do you think it's stronger than in many years, with many once disbanded Death Metal acts making comebacks (Gorguts, Asphyx, Possessed, Autopsy, Broken Hope, Pestilence, Atheist, etc.) and paving the way for younger Death Metal acts to get noticed?
David: To my eyes, both the Black and Death Metal genres have some good momentum, but take a look at the scene and analyze the bands that are active and transcend the ocean of soulless and meaningless stuff. The ratio of bands that possess quality and class to all the stupid acts we can think about is absolutely irrelevant. "Mediocrity can't deny through immensity".
I am not aware of the acceptance that classic bands, like the examples you mentioned, still have today, but I am absolutely convinced that current bands that hold a position of respect in their own genres achieved such status by their own merits.
Luxi: Would you describe, in your own words, what the following Death Metal albums mean to you personally? The first Is Immolation's Dawn of Possession.
David: The perfect pillage of "Christian" paradise, showcasing fury and class in equal parts. Severity transformed into music; a relentless milestone and a true classic.
Luxi: Pestilence's Consuming Impulse,
David: Although it has never been a favorite of mine, it is graced with some brilliant moments.
Luxi: And finally, Demigod's Slumber of Sullen Eyes.
David: Somber and haunting, mystical yet aggressive as very few records can be. Embrace the Darkness.
Luxi: Obviously, Domains have been working hard on new stuff even though your debut album was released not that long ago (January 2014). Is there anything you can reveal about new stuff in the works? Undoubtedly there won't be any radical changes from the songs on Sinister Ceremonies, right?
David: In this case I have to say that we haven't been working on composing new material after recording our first opus, so I can't give you any relevant details. While it's true that some fleeting ideas have already begun to assault our minds, it is too early to say anything.
It won't be too long before we'll start working on new material, something that, to be honest, I find very exciting and I am really looking forward to. As for what can be expected from us, the only thing I will say is that we will work to satisfy ourselves primarily, with our unwavering standard of "every new release better than the last". We aren't limited by anything or anyone.
Luxi: What are you hoping to achieve within the next few years with Domains? More gigs, a follow-up album, lots of positive press/feedback and such, I guess?
David: The future is uncertain, but we will honor Sinister Ceremonies, and all that it represents, onstage, we will present our art with our heads held high throughout the known world and we will start working on material for a new opus when the time comes. All of that is definitely on our agenda.
Luxi: Is there anything that you would like to add to this interview that people should know about Domains?
David: "Flame burns strongly beyond our flesh, sinister be it then... this eternal denial, Gates of Enoch... open for us, Oaths in solemn darkness... Baphomet."
Luxi: That is all I have at this time so I want to thank you for taking time to get this interview done for The Metal Crypt and, in the very same breath, I wish you all the best with the future comings and goings with the band. The last words are yours, David.
David: Luxi, I want to thank you for all the support and interest. I encourage readers of The Metal Crypt to obtain Sinister Ceremonies through TSF or at their local distributor (more about this on www.thesinisterflame.com). People can contact us for whatever reason at firstname.lastname@example.org, all correspondence will be answered.
Mastery and Scorn.
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