Swedish progressive heavy metal!
Veni Domine - Fall Babylon Fall (Massacre) 1992
the Prosecutor" (8:14)
I bought this disc as a new release when R.E.X. released it. It was re-released a couple years later in Germany with a bonus track ("Visions") and a revised booklet, so I had to get that one instead. Fall Babylon Fall is a fantastic epic, progressive metal album. When I think of progressive metal, bands like Fates Warning and Dream Theater come to mind, but Veni Domine are much heavier and darker sounding than either of those two bands. The music is almost symphonic with Frederick's unique vocals wailing over top. Every song is an epic masterpiece, especially the 21+ minute "Chronicles of the Seven Seals." "Fall Babylon Fall" is one of my all time favorite progressive metal discs. The cover was painted by Rodney Matthews, who has also painted covers for Asia, Seventh Angel, Detritus, among others.
Veni Domine - Material Sanctuary (Massacre) 1995
1. "The Meeting"
WOW! Wasn't sure Veni Domine could improve upon "Fall Babylon Fall," but they succeeded. This album is phenomenal! A progressive metal masterpiece! The title cut has one of those choruses that echoes through my mind long after I have listened to it. The whole album is excellent. Wonder why great bands like this can't seem to get a label in America. Germans have all the good metal.
Veni Domine - Spiritual Wasteland (Massacre) 1998
of Time" (5:29)
Wow, bought this concept album around the same time as I was reading the "Left Behind" series of books, which is a fictional account of survivors of the "last days" as predicted by the Book of Revelation in the Bible. I don't know for sure, but it sure seems like this disc was inspired by those popular books. Paid a whopping $18.99 for this German import. Long live prog-metal.
Album number four for Veni Domine is finally released some six years after their last album. Apparently this album really was an "Album of Labor" to get out. Either way, disc number four from these Swedish metal masters is very good. Once again, I would describe the music here as progressive metal with a very dark, almost doomy feel. Imagine the epic traditional doom fellow countrymates Candlemass, but mixed with early Queensryche or Fates Warning. Unlike the band's first two albums, the "sing-along" quality to the songs isn't immediately apparent. It took me quite a few listens to really start enjoying this disc, however, after a few spins I began discovering a wealth of infectious melodies and harmonies. "Inner Circle" is a prefect example of this. Now I can't even think of the song title without the melody of the chorus streaming through my brain. Fredrik Ohlsson sounds as good as he ever has with his excellent Geoff Tate-ish vocals. Even though I don't think Frederik is a clone by any stretch of the imagination, Tate is the closest comparison I could think of. One thing about Veni Domine that I always liked is that despite their technical tendencies, they know how to write good songs. Their songs aren't filled with over technical wankery, but rather when they find a good groove, they know how to use it and aren't afraid to return to it more than once in a song. They also aren't afraid to step outside of the boundries of what has become know as progressive metal. In "Deep Down Under" for example, the band fuses in some blues licks that add to the melancholy nature of the otherwise doomy song.
Veni Domine - 23:59 (MCM) 200
1. "Like I'm Crucified"
Album number five from the masters of progressive, Swedish doom. This time around it seems that the band is adding in a bit more gothic influences. I swear I hear a heavy Saviour Machine influence in some of the tracks, especially opener "Like I'm Crucified". Overall, however, the band blends together influences both from the goth genre as well as doom and progressive metal. The songs overall are slow and majestic. The charismatic vocals of Fredrik Sjöström seem a bit more subdued than before. He seems to be going for that deep, menacing voice this time around. However, he does break into some of those higher, Geoff Tate-inspired vocals here and there. "Shine" could easily have been written for the "Fall Babylon Fall" album and features some of these high vocals in the chorus. As usual the axe-master Torbjörn Weinesjö just tears it up. Take a listen to the guitar solo in "Valley of the Visions" and see if it doesn't leave your jaw on the floor. His unique style, alng with Sjöström's vocals really define this band. One thing that really stands out on this album in contrast to the band's past albums is the use of effect loops and keyboard effects. This sort of helps to create a slightly more ethereal, ambient atmosphere, even if it does take away from the overall heaviness of the disc. As would be expected from any Veni Domine album each and every song is chock full of dynamics. "Patience, Recieve", for instance, has a beautiful acoustic breakdown in the middle of the song that builds up with the guitar solo laid on top. One weird thing is how abruptly this song ends. While I know this was done intentionally it almost sounds like a mistake. I've heard some complaints about the overall production of "23:59". While this may not be the brightest recording in the band's arsenal, it's far from bad. Rather, it has a forboding, dark feel to it that works well for the band. Overall, I'd say this was another solid release from Veni Domine, even if it is in a slightly less metallic direction.
Veni Domine are one of those bands that seem to dominate my CD player with each new release. "Tongues" was no different. This new CD is a natural follow-up to "23:59", yet is a bit heavier overall than that release. Torbjörn's guitar work is out front like it was during the band's early years, yet "Tongues" doesn't sound exactly like those albums either. There is something atmospheric and experimental about this album, whereas "Fall Babylon Fall" and "Material Sanctuary" were more straight forward heavy metal. The band does continue to mix in progressive metal, brooding doom metal and some goth influences as well. However, I just can't seem to put into words the vibe this album gives off. It's dark, but not overly so. It's heavy, but not thrashy. It's progressive, yet still catchy. It's moody but not at the expense of song writing. As usual for this band, the album offers a lot of dynamics, from light, airy, acoustic interludes to hard 'n heavy moments. "Two Times" is a good example of this as the song switches back and forth from the lighter moments of the verses, to the heavy riffs of the chorus. The closing track in an epic length song and is pure doom, complete with monk chants, female vocals and slow, plodding riffs. As with "23:59" Fredrik Sjöström's vocals are more subdued than those early Veni Domine albums. For the most part he steers clear of the high pitched screams and sticks with the more mid to low range vocals. All in all, "Tongues" is yet another outstanding effort from Veni Domine. Traditional metal fans may be put off a bit by the band's experimentation. However, those familiar with the bands last few CDs should find something more to enjoy here.