For the most part, I gave up on the "hardcore" genre a long time ago, especially the whole pseudo-"skramz revival" scene. However, every once in a while, a contemporary band ascribed to that broad melange of music can still catch my attention. Imagine, for a second if you will, a record with the ambience and technicality of Life at These Speeds, the ferocity and passion of Orchid, and the post-punk riffs and hooks of Refused, all blended into 35 minutes, with a hint of Satan himself. Not to mention, drums of an absolute machine! Well, Dominic's Nord is about as close as you are going to get to all that.
Dominic hails from Norway, birthplace and epicenter of black metal, and frankly, anything cool dealing with people who wear face paint and aren't Juggalos. Drawing heavily from their geographic surroundings, Nord is the product of a band transmitting the snowy, dark Norwegian landscape into heavy, atmospheric music. Throughout the record, Dominic incessantly plays with guitar riffs that never stop moving and continue to cut in and out with alternating tempo changes. This dynamic, compounded with the melodic gravelly vocals and vigorous drumming makes for a catchy and cohesive sound all their own.
From the first track, "End of Man," to the last, "Ink for Bullets," Dominic is relentless in their approach to hardcore. "End of Man" instantly starts the record off with the tempo changes I mentioned earlier, and really sets the mood for the rest of the album. Transitioning to the second track, the haunting guitars ring out, and once again the drums kick right in with those tempo changes, and brings about one of the strongest tracks on the record: "Idiocrazy." The instrumental interlude in this song beautifully blends into the post-punk aspect of the band, and really catches them at some of their finest musicianship. About halfway through the CD comes "Get Rich and Die Trying," which encapsulates the band at their best. With an opening riff that sounds like a Shape of Punk to Come B-side, Dominic manages to show their true dexterity, which for me is what sets them so far apart from the rest of the bands still trying to make this style of music. Closing track, "Ink for Bullets" contains some of my favorite lyrics on the record: "All my life, I had no life, but when I need it to survive. As I grew older I realized, opened my eyes, equality and unity it all comes at a certain price. Medical and food supplies, only for chosen ones. There's no such thing as fair, a burden hard to bear." It follows much of the other desperate and nihilistic undertones of the rest of the record.
Dominic remains to be a band criminally under the radar, particularly in the United States. I find this to be an injustice to my fellow aggressive music lovers. So if you consider yourself to even be marginally within that category, you should really do yourself a favor and give this band a shot. Their ability to blend technical, aggressive music with just the right amount of melody and catchiness makes Dominic one of the best hardcore acts of today, and for me, Nord the best hardcore record of '09. Not to mention, the packaging and artwork on their 12" is some of the most well-crafted and beautiful records I've ever owned. This band is one that needs to be explored, and if you invest the time, I guarantee you will not be let down. Hail Satan!
"Railroad of Attraction"
"Get Rich and Die Trying"