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And Hell Followed With - "Domain" (CD)

And Hell Followed With - "Domain" CD cover image

"Domain" track listing:

1. The End Of Prosperity (:49)
2. A Throne Enshrouded (3:49)
3. Serpents Beneath Their Hoods (4:19)
4. Give Breath To Her Memory (2:49)
5. An Infestation (5:07)
6. The Pious, Corrupt Now (2:23)
7. A Whisper From Sorrow (3:46)
8. Legendary (6:15)
9. Consumed By Silence (2:20)
10. Ancestral Deceit (2:28)

Reviewed by on September 10, 2009

"Most bands use the debut album to find their footing, but And Hell Followed With consistently finds a way to slip face-first into the mud."

Deathcore has always been a misunderstood genre, subjected to harsh criticisms from “tr00” metal heads over the reliance on one-note breakdowns and lack of creativity. The thing about deathcore that most people tend to ignore is that the music is tailor-made for live shows, where the songs have a new-found energy generated from energetic crowds.

If every band in the genre did nothing but play gigs and skip the whole album format completely, the true potential of deathcore could be realized. While there are some solid albums out there that give the genre a good name to fall back on, the majority of them are bland and lifeless, consisting of one plodding song after another, until the listener gives up in total frustration.

And Hell Followed With’s debut album “Domain” falls squarely into the second category. The energy of a sea of frantic, young metal heads is hard to replicate in the studio and it’s obvious that the band struggles to do just that. The production sterilizes any power that the instruments could have and the breakdowns are repetitive and drawn-out, with limp guitar wankery underneath it to mask the fact that each one sounds almost identical. “Domain” is only about 34 minutes long, but somehow drags near the end, no thanks in part to the epic “Legendary,” which holds the prize for most ironic title of the year.

There should be an written rule that no deathcore band should have a song over five-minutes long unless there is something worth trudging through, like a melodic passage or wild lead break. With “Legendary,” And Hell Followed With has the gonads to take a three-minute song and double the length by repeating the same lyrics over again, with no clear difference between the first and second half of the song. None of the other tracks reach this level of torture, but at times get awfully close.

It’s a shame that And Hell Followed With sticks to simple breakdowns and stale songwriting, because there are slight glimmers of hope spread throughout “Domain.” The one-two punch of “An Infestation” and “The Pious, Corrupt Now” is nestled dead center in the track listing, but represents the high point of the album. The former adds much-welcomed variety, with a decent guitar lead and an understated soft keyboard outro. The latter track, an instrumental with a melodic side, is quick and compact, a far cry compared to the rest of the album.

Most bands use the debut album to find their footing, but And Hell Followed With consistently finds a way to slip face-first into the mud. The musical elements are terrible and the lyrics aren’t much better; just a mish-mash of unintelligible metaphors and random uses of Shakespeare-esque dialogue that sounds forced.

“Domain” has a few high points, but this is the type of record that will only appeal to those who must have everything deathcore-related. With the band recently signing with Earache Records, it is clear that they aren’t going away anytime soon. Hopefully, their sophomore album will be a step forward, but considering how poorly “Domain” turned out, the band can only head in a positive direction at this point in their career.

Highs: Moments of creativity in "An Infestation" and "The Pious, Corrupt Now"

Lows: Repetitive breakdowns, dull songwriting, mediocre instrumental work, just a boring album in general.

Bottom line: If you thought deathcore couldn't get any worse, along comes And Hell Followed With's debut album "Domain."

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)