Instant Suppression - Domain.Nation
Self-released
Modern Progressive Melodeath
13 songs (55:54)
Release year: 2009
Instant Suppression
Reviewed by Goat
Surprise of the month

For all the supposedly global links that bind us all together, very few bands from outside our Euro-American comfort zone seem to get noticed by the Metal world. With the exception of bands who have been hyped by their labels, most languish in obscurity despite often doing interesting things, and in the interest of changing that it's worth taking the time to focus on a band from the city of Rostov-on-Don, in the Russian Federation. Instant Suppression were formed in 2005 and boast an impressive list of influences, the ones that stand out most being Scar Symmetry and Dream Theater, especially after you've given debut full-length Domain.Nation a listen. It's the kind of slick yet edgy debut that western Metal labels love - I can more than see Roadrunner or Nuclear Blast re-releasing this in a blaze of publicity, describing it as the best thing since Carcass and sure to shake the foundations of metal, etc.

Such hype is often as annoying as it is unjustifiable, but Instant Suppression deserve at least a bit of hyping here. For an unsigned band from Russia that I doubt ANY readers have heard of this is absolute gold, especially considering that the band are more or less giving their album away - go to their homepage (link above) and you can download it free of charge. Yep, free! You're really risking nothing by listening, and it soon becomes apparent the fivesome have created an album which offers a deeper and more complex listen than more than a few of their influences. It's unashamedly modern, although it avoids Metalcore in favour of Melodeath and has more than enough quality to appeal to those fed up with identikit bands. The one criticism of Instant Suppression I have is that they're yet to find a real sound of their own - it's all very well to create pumping life-filled Melodeath pounders that touch on everyone from Soilwork to Children Of Bodom, with hints of Meshuggah and Chimaira in there too, but when these guys manage to distil it all and make a truly original album they'll be truly world-beating.

There's much to like for the moment, however. As mentioned, the two bands which Instant Suppression most sound like are Dream Theater and above all else, Scar Symmetry - one listen to opener Shapeless Threat and fans of the Swedes will be instantly in love. Domain.Nation is definitely a more varied album than Dark Matter Dimensions, as the prog-minded steps into melody will prove, and the slick yet charmingly unprofessional production (muffled, but more than bearable) channels the band's punch well. The following Fake is wonderfully catchy, with backing and surprisingly well-crafted keyboards adding a great deal - best of all, there's the first of many enjoyable instrumental sections that proves the band have ambitions beyond a music video or two, especially as techno elements are introduced without being detrimental at all. You'll be hard-pressed to find a song on this album which isn't superbly written - fine, it may not be original, but even the grimmest and kvltest will have to admit that the likes of the title track are better than anything that a lot of better-known bands have produced recently. Touches of technicality in the guitar playing are superb, avoiding wankery but taking the music a step above the competition, and the variety in songwriting keeps you on your toes. Hardcore gang-shouts and tech-Death motifs are incorporated seamlessly into the title track, which outdoes Fear Factory in Industrialised Metal terms with barely a finger lifted, whilst the Tech-Thrash elements of Mechanical Universe go up against the clean-sung chorus and sound wonderfully natural.

Nothing's perfect, and Domain.Nation certainly isn't. It can sometimes feel a little too exuberant and overly-enthusiastic, never taking a moment to breath, ideas coming too thick and fast to process, but the balance is favourable as once you're used to being treated as a grown-up by the band it makes for an album with great replayability, each listen bringing out something different. Their Prog credentials are undeniable - this is a great deal better than most modern Melodeath for the band's willingness to experiment with their melodies on practically every track, often creating Dream Theateresque passages which transcend the occasional clunky moment when the 'modern' bits take the fore. Really, I'm being as tough on this as possible, and I'm still wonderfully impressed each time I put it on - the female vocals that pop up partway into the album are an excellent addition, just another element in the overwhelming tapestry. Intense, driven and packed with real skill and substance, Instant Suppression have more than proven their worthiness to stand with their European and American peers; let's hope a record label with a real eye for talent can give the band the time and respect to create something even better. For the moment, Domain.Nation is an album that will knock the socks off any Melodeath fan that lends it his ears - take the time to listen to more than a few seconds of the MySpace tracks, as they've lead with their most commercial-sounding, and much better awaits if you download the album from their homepage and give it your undivided attention.

MySpace
Killing Songs :
Fake, Mechanical Universe, Decompression, Regeneration Age, Frozen, Inner Entropy
Goat quoted 82 / 100
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