REVIEW: Fear of Domination – Metanoia


“Metanoia”, the 5th album of industrial/shock metal act Fear of Domination, emphasizes on the transformation the band has gone through, with their new lineup, also with their sound. The album will be released by Ranka Kustannus on 4 May 2018. Now, how transformative was the experience really while listening to the album?
Okay, let’s start first with admitting something. Before listening to the album, I didn’t quite check out the tracklist. Somehow my iTunes (thanks Apple!) messed up and scrambled up the tracks. Since I listened to the album during work, I didn’t notice and therefore, listened to the album in the wrong order. Sometimes it was very questionable and I was wondering why they put the songs in that exact order, often it didn’t make sense, but while adding the tracklist to the review I realized that wasn’t quite the order it was meant to be played in. What a relief. Unfortunately that means for me I have to rewrite the review. The reason why I am referring to this, is to show you the importance of a track list. Bands think about order, because really, why wouldn’t you? No one would put the great songs only in the end and have two slower songs right after one another. I liked the album with the scrambled up order, but I loved the album with the right one.  For your information, I will however provide you with how I spent the day listening to the songs.
The opening track of the album “Dance With The Devil” kicks in with a guitar intro, smoothly shifting in some melodic parts, including a catchy tune on keys. The intro suddenly, quite unexpectedly shifts into clean vocals. Something that takes you off guard and you perhaps wouldn’t expect it here, but the transition that vocalist Sara Strömmer does from clean to a scream is very smooth. The song then shifts into a strong opener, perhaps not the strongest song on the album, but I understand why they used it as a song to kick off the album. The song is catchy, attracts a broader audience and taken the lyrics into account, it is the right fit.
Up next is “Obsession”. “Obsession” is a great mix of both instruments and vocals and both vocalists match up really well in the combination of their vocals. Both clean parts and guttural vocals are very compelling. The solos in this song also bring the song to another level. For me “Obsession” is definitely a first highlight of the album.
“Face of Pain”, follows up “Obsession”. While finally listening to the right order of the track list, I totally understand why this song is placed after “Obsession”. It’s so high on energy. It lifts up the song. We highlighted this single some weeks ago as our featured single. The song is quite edgy, more aggressive and brutal than the other two singles that so far have been released for upcoming album “Metanoia”“Face of Pain” starts off with a piercing intro, a melody that often recurs in different forms throughout the whole song. This is basically what makes the song not only very layered and detailed, but also what ensures that it will also get stuck in your head for a while. “Face of Pain” offers both chunky grooves and riffs and prevalent electronic elements, manifested through beats and liberal use of synths and keyboards, but sometimes through vocals. All of this is blended into a coherent whole that will make you crave for more.
Now this is where my fake track list, kind of screwed up things. While “Sick and Beautiful” actually follows “Face of Pain”, in my version “Sick and Beautiful” was the second to last song. “Sick and Beautiful” is one of the highlights of the album. So yes, it totally should get a spot in the middle. “Sick and Beautiful”, is a song you will definitely dance on when you hear it live. It feels like a party song. The song is really catchy and has the perfect amount of industrial sounds, that perhaps should have been integrated more in the other songs. Out of the uptempo songs, this one also definitely stands out. I already can’t wait to hear this song live.
Now, from all that partying you need kind of a break once in a while. “Shame” offers that to you. The song is really melancholic and slow. And offers a really great contrast in putting these tracks next to each other. This is the first time in the album we see a different side of Fear of Domination. The song gets followed by “Lie”. “Lie” is a pretty standard Fear of Domination song, it doesn’t really stand out from the crowd, but you can enjoy listening to it. It has some good aspects to it as well. But feels a bit more like a filler song.
I originally thought the album was ending with “We Dominate”. I was a bit frustrated it did. It didn’t leave me hanging for more, a feeling that I often want after the last song. The last song should be the song that convinces you that you need to listen more again and again. And “We Dominate” didn’t do the trick for me. It’s not that “We Dominate” is not a good song, on the contrary. It has a great amount of energy, but it just doesn’t leave that sort of craving. It is the song that will make the crowd go crazy however, during a live show. The lyrics sound quite motivational and inspirational though, so if you need a soundtrack to inspire you and motivate you through a difficult challenge, “We Dominate” is the perfect soundtrack for that!
“The Last Call” reminds me a bit of an epic power metal song that I can’t put my finger on. I’m sure it’s the epic melody in the beginning that has something to do with that. In this song Sara Strömmer shines as a vocalist and shows her potential as a new member of the band.
“Mindshifter” has a great chorus and great keyboard parts to it. The melodic parts swift in smoothly with the heaviness of the song, creating moody riffs. What I really like about “Mindshifter” is the ending. It ends in such an expected way, that for me it evoked the reaction of pressing repeat.
And then the magic happens. We arrived at the last track. Originally in my track list this song was scrambled up somewhere in the midst of it all. No, no. This song is so eerie, different and unique that it SHOULD be the last one. And thank God, when I read the actual order, I was relieved. This song deserves to be the last track played. I’m talking about “Ruin”. For me “Ruin” is ultimate highlight of this album. It’s something you perhaps wouldn’t exactly expect out of Fear of Domination, but it opens up so many doors. It’s experimental, progressive and really compelling to listen to. When the song starts off, I feel as my playlist has suddenly changed to a doom metal act instead. The song feels like a slow burn. Anger and aggression are bottling up and then it explodes, with a decent amount of force – nothing too extreme though, but all the way it’s meant to be. The song interestingly reminds me of many things, some musicians that come to my mind are Nick Cave and Apocalyptica, in terms of atmosphere. Of course, it’s not like the song is a copy or even an inspiration for the band. It’s still Fear of Domination. But definitely in terms of atmosphere, the song is more artistic than the others. When it comes to vocals we hear just how beautifully deep Saku Solin‘s clean vocals really are and the combination with a more jazzy side of Sara Strömmer is really where the magic happens. So yes. This song takes the band to a whole new level, it’s almost a side we don’t recognize, but it’s so familiar. It stands out and it’s the perfect ending to “Metanoia”.
So, here we are. The conclusion. First of all, a note to myself. Check out the real order before you dive into an album. Other than that, “Metanoia” really is a transformation for Fear of Domination. All-in-all I’m sure a fan of Fear of Domination, will love this album. There is a couple of tracks that really are outstanding and different, such as “Ruin”, there is some typical energetic Fear of Domination tracks such as “Obsession” and “Sick and Beautiful”. In general there is something in there for everyone. The great thing is that Fear of Domination has been experimenting with both vocals and different atmospheres, which opens up the possibility for other people to enjoy the album as well. So if you are not familiar yet with Fear of Domination, give the album a go, it’s worth the listen. You’ll get moments that you are swiped of your feet, that you will feel touched and moments that you can’t resist to move around and dance, in return.
iTunes screwed up tracklist
1. Dance With The Devil
2. Face of Pain
3. The Last Call
4. Lie
5. Mindshifter
6. Obsession
7. Ruin
8. Shame
9. Sick And Beautiful
10. We Dominate
The real tracklist
1. Dance With The Devil
2. Obsession
3. Face of Pain
4. Sick And Beautiful
5. Shame
6. Lie
7. We Dominate
8. The Last Call
9. Mindshifter
10. Ruin
Saku Solin – Vocals
Lauri Ojanen – Bass
Jan-Erik Kari – Guitars
Johannes Niemi – Lead guitars
Vesa Ahlroth – Drums
Lasse Raelahti – Keyboards
Sara Strömmer – Vocals
Miikki Kunttu – Percussions, stage monkey