A "moral panic-inducing heaviness" is how Liverpool's Video Nasties describe their debut album Dominion, and that's exactly how it begins. With a spoken introduction straight out of HG Wells' "War of the Worlds" or "Evil Dead" that launches into a satisfyingly heavy composition paired with a darkly melodic ambience, the Merseyside quintet seem to hold little back on an introduction that it's already possible to envisage dominating the festival circuit this summer.
The spoken word introductions continue ominously throughout the album, as the musicians themselves confidently display their musicianship and put the music through its paces. It's reminiscent of some early black metal bands how Video Nasties manage to make their sound uniquely atmospheric and ambient, whilst retaining a headbang-worthy heaviness that listeners cannot help but admire. Unlike those records, the production quality does not impede on the overall sound here, however.
It is good that the album slays though, because there is much about the band that is slightly cliché. From their own 'horror metal' description, in itself an exaggeration of Alice Cooper's 'shock rock'; to releasing their debut on Friday the 13th and signing to APF Records on Halloween, it does seem a bit trying to be predictably "evil" sounding, but all of that has been done before. However, given that the music is actually pretty solid, the background is mostly forgivable. Video Nasties are by no means the first, or the last, band to indulge in the predatory counterculture that once caused hysteria for conservative types decades ago. Yet, they successfully interweave such carnal horrors into their work without ever becoming too outrageous or over zealous.
Some elements of the songs do get slightly repetitive as the album progresses, but given that the band has already nailed a pretty unique sound, it's questionable whether that is a bad thing or not for now. However, it will be interesting to see where this sound goes in future releases, as well as seeing how they perform it live on tour.
In all, Dominion perfectly embodies all the gore, viscera and crimson unpleasantness associated with the group's graphic namesake. A ominously realistic slasher film in musical form, Dominion is abound to see Video Nasties stab their moniker into the pulsing brain of the national death metal scene.
Dominion is released March 13th via APF Records. You can pre-order the album here.