2 Feb 2023

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Domes started as an adventure—a big, bold idea to galvanise musicians Brendon Kahi and Mathew Bosher in a creative sprint. The goal: to start from scratch and record on the other side of the world in one year.

Distilling their accumulated experience across several bands, album releases and international tours, the project was designed to celebrate the art while avoiding the mundanity and mistakes of operating a band in the usual way. The result was a unique experience in every sense: from an experimental songwriting approach to recording on an 80-year-old heritage vessel some 18,000 kilometres away (Bosher resides in New Zealand, Kahi in Australia).

This is metal with elements of space rock and post-hardcore. “We’re writing songs that we want to hear. We’re going after heavy music that’s forward-looking,” says Bosher. Not overstating the musicality nor telling the story plainly, the songs are conceptually deep and artistically broad. “We were looking for meaningful moments: richness of tone, nuanced performance, curious lyrics,” Kahi reflects. Indeed the laconic run-times are no less elaborate in traversing post-metal tropes and thematic landscapes.

This, however, required a level of comfort with the unknown outcomes of a radically different endeavour in a foreign place. To guide that vulnerability, the musicians continued their long-term production partnership with David Holmes (Jakob, Saint Agnes, Maisha). A fellow kiwi abroad, Holmes co-owns and operates London’s Soup Studio onboard a 1939 lightship moored on the River Thames.

Stocked with rare and iconic equipment, the space is more familiar with the emerging jazz artists; few heavy acts have boarded the 550-tonne vessel. The live area is situated in the original machine room, isolated from the quarter-inch-thick steel hull by rubber mounts—a room within a room. An audiophile delight, the tiled echo chamber was constructed under the staircase to the control room which was once occupied by the massive diesel engine. Here, the nascent band designed a sonic identity by pushing vintage recording equipment to hard rock and metal boundaries for a week during a remarkable London summer. Fittingly, the tracks were mastered at the legendary Abbey Road Studios--a sort of coda and acknowledgement of the special influence the city had on the band.

Malady opens the canopy as the band charts a course across juxtaposed styles, meticulous tonal detail and broad strokes of kinetic energy. The chorus refrain, "Try not to imagine a great big emptiness looming there between us," speaks to the compelling if disturbing qualities of upcoming releases. The Futurist intensifies things with seismic shifts between thrash riffs and pop-like harmonic sensibilities. Time and Relative Dimension in Space accelerates Domes’ space rock exploration of the metal universe, navigating dense meteor fields of drum patterns and expansive nebula of melody. Whovian allusions create an abstract narrative of a search for meaning and place. Bonfire of the Vanities consolidates the band’s repertoire into a molten core of churning guitars and axial-shifting percussion. Ma’adim VallisR mixes space race, cold war, nuclear infrastructure and retro-sci-fi imagery. Revisionist history suggests unsettling forbearance.

For the band, the project has been about music as altered experience through the aspiration, affirmation and adventure of all it. With melodies that writhe, arrangements that fold in on themselves and riffs that mine the senses, these songs tell the story of a transformational journey that leaves an indelible impression.


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  • Auckland

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