DOMINE is one of the most successful bands of the Italian HEAVY METAL scene and one of the longest running. It was formed in 1983 and started to release demo tapes in 1986. The EPIC POWER METAL band from Florence got some attention with their first cd “Champion Eternal”, an album released in 1997 that got great feedback by all the metal maniacs around the world, becoming a cult-release. Domine went on releasing 4 more albums, touring Europe and playing in a lot of festivals. They have been linked to Heroic Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery writers like Micheal Moorcock and R.E.Howard for their lyrics related to the Elric of Melnibonè and Conan The Barbarian books.
DEMO TAPES and “CHAMPION ETERNAL” (1997)
“Champion Eternal” was the starting point a new life for the band, after many years in the underground scene. The band was not a new name when the debut album was released, by Italian label Dragonheart, having previously recorded four demo tapes (from 1986 to 1994) getting reviews and interviews in a lot of fanzines and magazines around the world. However, the line-up of the band drastically changed just before the cd and this recording was really a new start. The new line-up of the group was Enrico Paoli on guitars, Riccardo Paoli on bass (the only ones left of the original line-up), Mimmo Palmiotta on drums (previously with Masterstroke and Death SS) and Morby on vocals (ex-Sabotage, one of the very first metal band in Italy). The band has been compared by magazines and fanzines to Manowar, Queensryche, Warlord, Omen, Helstar, Candlemass, Iron Maiden. The band established its personal style with Epic Metal songs like “Stormbringer (The Black Sword)”, “Army of The Dead” and Power Metal assaults like “The Mass Of Chaos” and “The Midnight Meat Train”. Some of the songs have a progressive structures like the epic title track, “The Eternal Champion”, a 12 minutes long suite divided in seven parts.
The band was voted among the best Italian bands and best new comers in all the Italian magazines and got the third place as new band on the Greek Metal Hammer readers poll (just after Hammerfall and Rhapsody).
After the release of the album, Domine played some gigs, the best being the one at the “Italian Gods Of Metal Festival” in Milan and the one as support for Rage and Grave Digger during their Italian tour.
In 1998, keyboards player Riccardo Iacono enters the band and singer Morby sings in Labyrinth during their European tour with HammerFall.
“Dragonlord (Tales Of The Noble Steel)” is the band second album and the most successful in term of sales.
All the songs of the album were written from July to December ’98, except for three tracks written during the demo tapes and included in the new album to give them the new line-up treatment by demand of the fans of the demo tapes.
The album has been recorded at New Sin Audio Design studio (same studio used by Eldritch, Labyrinth, White Skull). The studio has become a leading light for Italian heavy metal bands, thanks to the work of sound engineer Luigi Stefanini. The sound of the group is now a powerful mix of Epic and Power Heavy Metal, played with grandeur feeling and dramatic solemnity, a metal storm of duelling guitars, thundering tempo changes, soulful guitar solos and soaring vocals.
A few songs on “Champion Eternal” had some keyboards parts but with the joining of the fifth member, keyboards are used more and more to add majestic and epic atmospheres to the songs. The band spent the beginning of 1999 to pre-produce the songs and entered the studio in May.
Domine came out of the studio with 10 metal hymns of the purest dynasty. Songs like “Dragonlord (The Grand Master Of The Mightiest Beasts)”, “Last Of The Dragonlord (Lord Elric’s Imperial March)” and the 13 minutes long “The Battle For The Great Silver Sword” (A Suite in VII Parts) are the most epic tracks ever recorded by the band so far. Fans of more aggressive and faster songs are rewarded by the double bass drums assault of “Thunderstorm” and “Defenders”, two songs which are still live gigs favourite. Morby showcases his vocal range, from wicked Metal scorching vocal to opera tenor to amazing hyper-high screams ad can be heard at the end of the song “Defenders”, where he hits some very high notes.
The band records a cover of Queensryche’s classic “Queen Of The Reich”, a track that appears exclusively on the Japanese edition.
The album enters the Italian chart at number 98 as the only metal album along with Metallica and Dream Theater for the week.
Domine signs a deal with Metal Blade for the release of “Dragonlord” in USA.
“Dragonlord” is released in Brazil by Rock Brigade, leading label/distributor/magazine of the Brazilian scene and takes the right to re-release “Champion Eternal”. “Dragonlord” is also released in Japan by Soundholic.
“Dragonlord” gets enthusiastic reviews in all the most important magazines, it’s top metal album on most of the Italian magazines, gets the front cover of Power Zone, Metal Invader and Flash mags, and it’s in the top 10 of Rock Hard Germany, Heavy Oder Was and Mindview soundchecks and other magazines.
Soon after the recording of the album, drummer Mimmo decides to quit musical activities to dedicate his time to his family. New drummer is Stefano Bonini, previously with extreme act Necromass, with whom he recorded 2 albums and toured Europe with Dark Funeral.
After the release of the album, the band begins live activity, playing a sold out gig in Athens, Greece. Then they undertake a European tour opening for American bands Riot, Anvil and Agent Steel. The tour is called “Metallic Movement 2000” and travelled across Holland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, France and Spain.
The band is then part of the bill of the Gods Of Metal Festival 2000, in Monza, the metal event of year 2000 in Italy. The bill of the day is Iron Maiden, Demons and Wizards, Dark Tranquillity, Sentenced, Edguy, Domine, Dirty Deeds, Khali and Theater Of Vampires. The band plays in front of 23.000 people. The gig is broadcasted on tv by Video Music channel.
Domine plays at the Powermad 2000 Festival with Running Wild, Grave Digger and Moon Of Steel; The festival is held inside an ancient castle in Vigevano and in other festivals like Agglutination in Chiaromonte with Vision Divine and Metal Gladiators 2000 Festival in Bologna with Gamma Ray, Freedom Call and Labyrinth.
STORMBRINGER RULER (2001)
New album “Stormbringer Ruler – The Legend of the Power Supreme”, as “Dragonlord”, has been recorded during April 2001 at the New Sin Audio Design in Loria (TV), as its predecessor.
"Stormbringer Ruler" contains the speed metal assault of "The Hurricane Master", which showcases one of the most difficult high notes run by singer Morby, and "True Leader Of Men", a song based on the science-fiction novel “Dune” with thundering bass drums; the symphonic arrangements of "The Ride Of The Valkyries"; the celtic harmonies of "The Bearer Of The Black Sword" and "Dawn Of A New Day - A Celtic Requiem"; the slow and emotional "For Evermore" and the Epic Metal rides of "Horn Of Fate" and "The Fall Of The Spiral Tower".
“Horn of Fate”, “The Bearer Of The Black Sword”, “For Evermore” and “Dawn of A New Day” are parts of a mini-concept entitled “The Chronicles of the Black Sword – The End on an Era”. This mini concept is inspired by the final part of the saga of Elric of Melnibonè, and tells the story of the final destiny of Michael Moorcock’s Elric Of Melnibonè, Dragonlord and Ruler of the Black Sword Stormbringer. Elric is one of the many incarnations of the Eternal Chanpion, an immortal being doomed to reincarnate in many heroes and to fight forever. The destiny of the incarnation called Elric is to be the herald of the final battle between Chaos and Law for the Earth.
“The Ride of the Valkyries” is a tribute to Richard Wagner and to his operas inspired by northern mythology. The song is a true Epic Metal ride that features the theme of the opera “Die Walküre” from the “Der Ring des Nibelungen”.
The band has also recorded a cover version of the classic “Stargazer” by Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (Ronnie James Dio and Cozy Powell era), one of the very first Epic Metal songs ever. The cover is included as bonus track in a special edition for Japan only on Soundholic Records.
The new album gets a lot of enthusiastic reviews. It’s Album of the Month on Metal Hammer, Flash, Metal Heart (GE) and it gets great reviews on international press like Rock Hard (n.11 in the soundcheck), Heavy Oder Was (n.9 in the soundcheck) and Burrn. The cd is licensed and released in Japan, Taiwan, USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Russia.
After the release of the album the band gets on prestigious stages like the ones of the Gods Of Metal Festival 2002 (with Manowar and Blind Guardian) and Wacken Open Air 2002 (on the True Metal stage). Domine plays in many national festivals like Italian Attack, a mini tour of 3 gigs with Italian bands like Labyrinth and White Skull, and Summer Metal Festival with Vision Divine, Mesmerize, Drakkar and Beholder.
EMPEROR OF THE BLACK RUNES (2004)
Domine enters the New Sin Audio Design studio for the fourth album “Emperor Of The Black Runes” in May 2003, after some months of writing and pre-production.
“Emperor Of The Black Runes” is another step forward for Domine, once again pushing the limits of the band’s style with a good balance of fast, classic heavy metal songs and long epic tracks. As a respected name in the underground classic Heavy Metal scene, Domine started working on its fourth cd writing songs in the style they love, putting a better effort in production and arrangements, making the new songs traditional and exciting at the same time. The new cd shows Domine playing songs in their usual Epic Power Metal style but with a few injections of Prog Rock, Celtic and acoustic music. The powerful speed metal assaults of opener “Battle Gods (Of The Universe)” and “True Believer” are the most “live” sounding songs with a crushing and aggressive sound, while songs like “Arioch, The Chaos Star” and “The Song Of The Swords” bring back memories of the classic 80’s metal of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. “The Aquilonia Suite” is an 11 minutes titanic “tour de force” based on the “Conan The Barbarian” books by R.E. Howard and on the movie soundtrack by Basil Poledouris. More Celtic harmonies come back in the ultra Epic “The Sun Of The New Season” and in the all-acoustic track “The Forest Of Light”, a track which shows Domine’s appreciation of Jethro Tull, Genesis, Loreena McKennitt and Irish folk music. Both songs see singer Leanan Sidhe lending her charming voice, virtually becoming Domine’s sixth member. A fair amount of melody shows up in “Prince In The Scarlet Robe” (based on the Corum books by Michael Moorcock) and “Icarus Ascending” with some hints of Hard Rock (Kansas, Queen).
Japanese fans are again exclusively graced with a cover of the classic “Altar Of The Kings” by Riot, one of the heroes of American metal, in the edition released by Avalon/Marquee.
After 2 weeks from the end of the production sessions, Domine opens the third day of the huge Heineken Jammin’ Festival, with Iron Maiden as headliners. The festival is held inside the big formula 1 circuit in Imola with 100.000 people in 3 days. Domine performs in front of 40.000 enthusiastic fans and receives great reviews in all the Italian metal magazines, which praise the band as one of the best Italian Metal bands.
Domine plays at Gods Of Metal festival 2004 in Bologna, as part of a bill headlined by the reformed Judas Priest.
The band goes on tour with Vision Divine, then plays as support for Judas Priest in Milan during their “Angel Of Retribution” tour and for Dream Theater in Rome.
Domine plays at Gods Of Metal festival 2006, during the day of Italian metal bands only.
ANCIENT SPIRIT RISING (2007)
“Ancient Spirit Rising” is Domine’s fifth release and, as the title itself suggests, it’s a musical and spiritual come-back.
By the time, the band started to write and rehearse the songs for their fifth album, they decide to record the album they would like to buy and listen to, with no limit and no genre barriers.
Of course, “Ancient Spirit Rising” is an HEAVY METAL album, no doubt, no shame and no regrets about it, but the band filled it with many other things they love and they wanted to explore. They wanted the album to be METAL, with hints of HARD ROCK, PROGRESSIVE ROCK, CELTIC and ACOUSTIC MUSIC, CLASSIC MUSIC, a general 70’s feel and even some adult ROCK. They never forget about their fans and their HEAVY METAL roots but they search for the feeling of excitement they get when they listen to their favorite albums by Queen, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Kansas, Thin Lizzy, Maiden, Sabbath, Boston, Priest, Heep and Rainbow, just to name a few untouchable names.
The 3 long suites “The Lady Of Shalott”, “Ancient Spirit Rising”, “How The Mighty Have Fallen”, and the progressive “Another Time, Another Place, Another Space” have some kind of 70’s “spirit”.
For the fans of straight ahead METAL, there are the super fast and soon to be live faves “Tempest Calling”, “I Stand Alone (After The Fall) and “Sky Rider”, while the EPIC METAL mongers will be rewarded by the powerful opener “The Messenger” and “On The Wings Of The Firebird” (with excerpts from Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite”).
A cover of Uriah Heep’s “Too Scared To Run” (from 1981’s “Abominog” album) is recorded for the Japanese edition on Avalon/Marquee. The album is also licensed in other Far East territories and Russia.
The themes of the lyrics of “Ancient Spirit Rising” move away from the Sword’n’Sorcery books references you find in Domine’s previous albums or the usual clichés of most Power Metal bands. “Ancient Spirit Rising” lyrics deal with universal themes, life, death, joy and sorrow, freedom and misery, all of which are expressed in a poetic, romantic and epic style. “The Lady Of Shalott” is inspired by the evocative painting by W. Waterhouse and by the Alfred Tennyson poem by the same name.
The album got the cover of Metal Hammer and Metal Maniac magazines and entered the Italian chart at nr. 73, the highest chart position for the band.
The band start the live activity again, with an Italian tour and playing in many festival, playing for the second time at the Heineken Jammin’ festival 2007, with Iron Maiden as headliner.
In March 2008, keyboards player Riccardo Iacono leaves the band for personal reasons. The new member is Gabriele Caselli, who debuts with Domine at the Agglutination Festival 2008.
The band is actually writing its new album and playing some selected gigs in Italy.
Morby : Vocals
Enrico Paoli : Guitar
Riccardo Paoli : Bass
Riccardo Iacono : Keyboards
Stefano Bonini : Drums