Domain - Last Days Of UtopiaIn the eighties, Domain knew their most succesful years under the name of 'Kingdom'. In 2001, their major comeback album, 'One Million Lightyears From Home', was released to form an unseamed link to their succesful years at the end of the eighties.
'Artefact', released in 2002, was followed by a big tour including rock legends Glenn Hughes and Joe Lynn Turner (HughesTurnerProject). All this resulted in a reputation as one of the most talented melodic metal bands in Germany.
2005. Domain have now completed the work on one of their most challenging tasks in the band's history. A concept album was written, based on a story by vocalist Carsten Schulz. The album, 'Last Days Of Utopia', was the first album to be produced in collaboration with Limp Music Products and certainly will not be the last.
The story of 'Last Days Of Utopia' lets us meet a nameless main character, who, in 'A New Beginning', goes on a journey 'On Stormy Seas' to discover a new existence, during which he is stranded on 'The Shores Of Utopia'. In this 'Ocean Paradise', he at last discovers 'The Beauty Of Love', causes 'The Great Rebellion' through his thoughts, before the gods destroy the paradise with 'Endless Rain'. As the only survivor, the hero finds himself 'Underneath The Blue', floating on the sea, 'Left Alone'.
Now how's that for your songtitle explanations, huh?
Now, what would a great story be without a little prologue? On 'Last Days Of Utopia', this comes in form of 'Harbour Of Hope', an intro which builds itself slowly into a full-fledged epic chorus.
'A New Beginning' is continuing the line where 'Harbour Of Hope' let go and some heavy, speedy, guitarpicks and double bass (by ex-Symphorce drummer Stefan Köllner!) are used as means of introducing this epic first chapter (on the bonus disc that comes with the limited edition, non-epic versions of 'A New Beginning', 'Endless Rain' and 'Left Alone' are included). Carsten's vocals are very powerful and have a more than impressive reach without going into an annoying 'baby yell' like some singers tend towards doing such.
'The Beauty Of Love' is a ballad which isn't very extraordinary, but of course a story like 'Last Days Of Utopia' needs one. To me, it was a bit of a disappointment because I just got into the rythm of the album and then suddenly 'wham!' I was torn out of that.
Not really a problem to worry about, really. Because a minor point of criticism like that is easily forgotten as soon as 'The Great Rebellion' and titlesong 'Last Days Of Utopia' present themselves. The action of the rebellion gets a good reflection on the respective song, where the pace has been brought up a little more and a Dimmu Borgir - esque intro ('Progenies Of the Great Apocalypse') has been used!
Real guitar violence starts on 'Last Days Of Utopia', however. Axel "Ironfinger" Ritt did an incredible job here by starting out with a threatening guitarlead that explicitly builds the tension before the hero's thoughts are voiced.
The impressive guitarwork shows itself in solos at first, but later on, hardrock edged melodic passages are used more and more, which is a little pointer to the history of Domain / Kingdom. Song structures overall are very good and the production (by guitarist Axel Ritt) is great.
At the end, voicing my own thoughts about 'Last Days Of Utopia' isn't hard at all. Although the one ballad on the album could have had a bit more 'spice' in it and the epic choirs could have been left out (because Carsten's voice is being overshadowed on these moments, which is a pity!) - although in 'Left Alone' it infuses the eighties hardrock / metal sound in a modern jacket into the song, which sounds fantastic - 'Last Days Of Utopia' is a marvellous album that every fan of melodic, symphonic metal should own!
Carsten 'Lizard' Schulz - vocals
Axel 'Ironfinger' Ritt - guitar
Erdmann Lange - keyboards
Jochen Mayer - bass
Stefan Köllner - drums
1. Harbour Of Hope
2. A New Beginning
3. On Stormy Seas
4. The Shores Of Utopia (instrumental)
5. Ocean Paradise
6. The Beaty Of Love
7. The Great Rebellion
8. Endless Rain
9. Last Days Of Utopia
10. Underneath The Blue (instrumental)
11. Left Alone