|'Mystical Dominion' was the debut album of Visionaire the one-man project of James Allin (also known from Century Sleeper). The original was released in 1998 by the label Millennial Sun, but the disk I'm reviewing is the 2005 re-release by Cold Fusion Music. However, I wish to point out that sometime in between the 2000 release of the second effort ('Within the Arcanum Hall') and the year 2006, the project was renamed to Ikarian. The music in itself didn't change much, though.|
Visionaire/Ikarian isn't exactly a doom metal project but the influences are obvious throughout this hour-long disk. You will also find several beautiful doom/gothic tracks in the vein of The Gathering, How Like a Winter, and Draconian. In fact, what I find keeps the album from passing the "doom barrier" is the frequent use of new wave style percussion and a rhythm that often borders between pop and metal. Therefore I'd like to point out that there is a considerable chance that there are many others who would consider this to be a mild form of doom metal. Instead I would encourage the reader to visit the bands' MySpace page and decide for him-/herself.
The mood of the music is dark and mystical but much of the time avoids all forms of riffing, focusing instead on a cleaner, more balladlike approach. Acoustic guitars and a knack for very original use of keyboards characterise the music from beginning to end. And through it flows a quiet romance which feels as at home with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds as with Paradise Lost-style melodic doom/death. In fact, the music fits perfectly with the colors of the cover image: A slightly warming dark purple with specs of cooling yet pleasant mint green. Come to think of it, the music doesn't sound all that sad. It has this romantic mourning which is accompanied by a feeling of comfort.
What the mood completely fails to reveal to me is that several of the tracks are pro-Christian in sentiment. But, as you can probably guess from my lack of focus on this issue, this hardly dominates the music. Actually, I never would have guessed unless I hadn't read about it on the Internet. So the non-Christian listener need not fear, you won't notice the religious sentiment unless you choose to.
So, obviously this music addresses the fans of a gothic kind of music, though not solely. Especially the interesting choice of rhythm makes this an acquired taste which for some reason feels more mature than the youthfulness of most metal. I must admit that this combination leaves me at a lack of a conclusion. Some doomsters may enjoy this, but if you can't stand lighter music then this is not for you. Those who do not mind the lightness may want to visit the MySpace link above and make up their own minds.
2. Mystical Dominion
3. Open Voyage
6. Only A Tear
7. Winter's Eye
9. Lovers Serenade
10. The Burning Ground [bonus track]
11. Nethial Part 1 [bonus track 2]
Duration : Approx. 62 minutes.
Visit the Visionaire bandpage.