Review: “Wretched” by Dominion Of Ashes

Hailing from the Steel City of Sheffield, Death Metal quartet Dominion Of Ashes formed in the summer of ’69 (aka 2018), taking inspiration from a mutual love of bands like The Black Dahlia Murder, Suffocation and Revocation as they began to forge their sound. Those four years have been blighted by plague and pestilence but the four horsemen of the apocalypse have continued to ride, sharing stages with everyone from Monument Of Misanthrope to Blasphemer while quietly squirrelling away on their debut EP in the background. Released in June and finally available in physical edition in October after being mixed and mastered by Aiden Roker at Electric Bear Studios, vocalist Lee Dunger, guitarist Tom Proctor, drummer Liam Crawshaw and bassist Ben Kirkham have finally delivered what we’ve all been waiting for. The only question is, has it been worth the wait?

As the Blackened Death Metal onslaught of fire reigns down in the opening strains of “Pheonix“, the answer to that is a resounding yes. Blast beats from Crawshaw and Old School riffs from Proctor (who also created the cover artwork) have a classic nostalgic feel aided and abetted by a modern production edge as they commit their crimes against humanity in a fashion that pays homage to the genre as a whole. Dunger’s vocals are as your expect, throat shredding and dry but cleverly are clean enough that you can understand the lyrics word for word without the need for a lyric sheet and Monacle. “The Night Mirror” finds him joined by bassist Kirkham who offers a shriller tone for an extended passage cloaked in swirling churning riffs with Dunger hitting punching with the backing vocal in lethal fashion. The pair then intertwine on “End Of Life” as the band rise like a swamp beast from the black depths to destroy all in their path with a rhythmic pummelling that has shades of early Fear Factory minus the electronic bothering. The bombastic riffs of the finale along with its Downtempo shift are sheer class and demand extending in the live arena to incite mosh pit violence. Having over a minute of atmosphere building at the beginning “This Wretched Human” feels like it could have opened the EP before the band charge headlong through rampant riffage and nonsensical rantings in the opening verse, Dunger sounding like a man possessed. He sounds like Macbeth wondering the Moors after an encounter with the three witches, lost and deranged for all humanity to witness and the riffs swirl around him building the mountain once again. As it plays out it’s clear why this wasn’t the opening cut as it’s more Black Metal leaning than the earlier offerings but it bodes well for the future. All in all as solid a debut as they come from a band whose plane tickets to Obscene Extreme Metal Festival in the Czech Republic must be booked [7/10]

Track Listing

  1. Phoenix
  2. The Night Mirror
  3. End of Life
  4. This Wretched Human

Wretched” by Dominion Of Ashes is out now and available over at bandcamp.

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