Somewhere over the last four decades since its inception, heavy metal started to take itself too seriously. Bands and fans alike forgot about the key tenants of big riffs, played as fuck-off loud as possible, and perhaps best enjoyed under the influence. Amid the weft and weave of hour-long introspective doom tracks, hazed-out languid stoner clichés of ‘bong/goat/wizardry’ and constant genre-crossover, we lost sight of the simple truths at the heart of the matter – rage and riffs. Video Nasties know this truth, and Dominion is their gospel. Examined through the inextricable links of classic metal vibes and B-movie horror, it’s a caustic blend of celebration and spite.
Opener ‘Stay Gold’ (sadly not a metal cover of Run The Jewels) cuts in with white noise, the sound of a tube-TV being re-tuned and a classic B-movie sample that hints at the record to come; “the line between sanity and madness can be crossed in a single step”. Waspish riffs buzz in, building tension before exploding alongside venomously shrieked vocals. Drums tumble and pound, hefty toms forcing a breathless pace from the sludgy, bouncing riffs. Restless throughout, the guitars take on a pleasingly sleazy edge, dropping into a lower, slower snaking groove. ‘Hanging Tree’ swaggers with a straight, snarling riff peppered with a spidering overlay, relentless drumming hurtling through the track headlong. Next up ‘Helvetica’ smashes with brutal snare, swinging with a grinding groove, lurching between sections of savage, chugging tremolo and wailing guitars.
‘Transvoltum’ arrives with skipping drums and focused chugging, as throaty bellows do battle with needling guitars and stomping riffs. Elsewhere ‘Red Of Night’ kicks in hard with a big, ballsy bass drive and thumping drums, ‘Viva Death’ whooshes with waves of throbbing synth that would make Carpenter proud and ‘Drone Eagle’ sees riffing mirrored by canny cymbal work, big, rolling snares dissolving into grooving gallops and wrecking-ball chugs.
‘Stabbing Nightmare’ lives up to the title, the frantic opening riff standing hands down as the best one on ‘Dominion’. Plunging into snarling chaos, it strides with an infectious pace, barked vocals ushering in an airier guitar section that cuts through the rumbling murk. The title track is all buzzing, looping horror synths that whine, grind and rush, acting as an intro for the closing track, which, when it comes, is triumphant. ‘They Rise’ does just that, scalding screeches and Carcass-esque vocal patterns are spat out over climbing guitar harmonies and chants of “they rise, they rise” that spur them ever onwards.
So, if you took the sludgy, unironic hedonism of Raging Speedhorn and the metal ancestor worship and bombast of Ghost, stripped both of all their shit bits and peppered them with a nod to 80s horror you’d come pretty close to the argy-bargy party malarkey that Video Nasties gift us with on ‘Dominion’. Horns up, pints up, volume up, shut up.
Dominion is released 13th March via APF Records and can be purchased here.
Words: Jay Hampshire