Learning Alas, Tyranny are a homegrown US band would surprise anyone who digs this Domination Liberation Purification debut without the benefit of checking their myspace. Basking in equal amounts of death metal nihilism and baroque symphonic bombast, Alas, Tyranny are an odd fivesome whose destined audience are those wishing reprieve from the staid genre bound offerings out in the market today. Their eclectic first album launches with a pure death metal track Talent of Deception that's wrapped in gritty production and all the usual evilness. The variety arrives early with the keyboard-laden Holy Words and by song number four—The Awakening—Alas, Tyranny are swimming in the waters of gothic grandeur and its attendant 'emotions.' (Usually glum and melancholic.)
As the album unravels, we're further treated to female vocals of the Tarja Turonen variety from the band's she-crooner Katie plus more clean [male] singing wrapped around complex arrangements. The Heart's Betrayal, Born of An Insidious Nature, and album closer The Memory Still Lingers come blessed by intelligent lyrics plus instrumental flourishes that sweeten this ever impressive aural dish. By weaving together elements of different genres, Alas, Tyranny manage to avoid the herd and market themselves as a unique group in the modern heavy metal wasteland. The band also succeeds at motivating the listener to root for their success. They're doing it right and you want to hear more. Rest assured, judging by songs like The Chains of Remembrance, Alas, Tyranny sound destined to pull off one grandiose album after another in the ensuing years.
However, positive as this writer's reception is, it doesn't mean the mouthful that's Domination Liberation Purification isn't free of blemishes. First, the mixing here is rather shoddy. Sometimes you wish for a better guitar tone; other times a harmonious blend of the orchestral bits with the band's forays into extreme metal; and the contrasting male-female vocals aren't giving off the same sparkle you've heard on, say, Avantasia. Second, Alas, Tyranny's songwriting isn't up to scratch either. Sure, they have intelligent lyrics in abundance and enough original ideas, but they can't seem to gel both into memorable songs. Entire chunks of this album are plain tedious. Yet the band still deserves some credit for getting most of it right—not too right—on their first outing. If they persist at creating musical hybrids, Alas, Tyranny could leave us awestruck someday.
Basking in equal amounts of death metal nihilism and baroque symphonic bombast, Alas, Tyranny are an odd fivesome whose destined audience are those wishing reprieve from the staid genre bound offerings out in the market today.