Oh my Goth

Being a child of the eighties, it’s no easy task for any “goth” band to catch my attention. They forever suffer from a comparison to Siouxsie, or Bauhaus, or the Sisters of Mercy, but every now and then, one catches my ear.

Right out of the gate, Dommin opened their current cd, Love is Gone, with the anthemic “My Heart, Your Hands” and made me take notice. I must confess to being a bit surprised, as I’m particularly cynical about anything labeled goth in this age of emo lameness and idiotic teen vampire flicks, to the point where I’ve pretty much written off anything new in the genre altogether. But this band… this band bears some watching.

I don’t pretend they are blazing new ground here or setting the world on fire — just yet — but this is a solid debut on Roadrunner Records. What most impressed me was the variety of music on this album. At times, the songs are rather mellow, even a bit sparse during the verses. Then at other times, more pop and, well, dare-I-say-it, bordering on perky, on tracks like “Tonight.” Although the majority bear the typical sad edge common to the genre, it is not wallowing in its misery, but almost hopeful, even on songs of loss like “Closure.”

I’m walking away from the things that drained my soul
From the things that took control
From the love that left me cold

Now I don’t hold any hate
And I don’t regret my mistakes
I’m learning to grow from the things that hurt me so…

Sometimes it works, and in a few, not so much, but I always respect a band that is trying to stretch their boundaries and not just take the easy formulaic approach. I was not particularly moved by the second track, “New,” but keep going to check out the aforementioned “Tonight,” to the wonderful “Love is Gone,” which screamed “Twilight Soundtrack” to the point I actually checked to see if they were on it.

Clearly, “My Heart, Your Hands” and “Love is Gone” are Hits with a capital “H.” They could have churned out an album full of songs all like this — and probably had a huge commercial hit — but they chose a more rugged path.

There are more gems here. Or diamonds in the rough, at the very least. Slap some silly lyrics on it, and the wonderfully quirky “Dark Holiday” could be a Voltaire tune. There’s also the melancholy pop beat of “Honestly,” the rock out track “One Feeling” which borders on gothic, fist-pumping hair metal (and I mean that in a good way,) the grand anthem “I Still Lost,” and the hauntingly beautiful album closer, “Remember,” which showcases frontman Kristofer Dommin’s vocal range from soft to soaring.

This is not so much a cd for swirling around the dance floor of some industrial club, but more for sipping absinthe by candlelight. Rather than the bleak hopelessness of industrial goth, it’s a throwback to a more romantic, classic gothic sensibility.

They’re still in their infancy, but Dommin shows promise — they’re a refreshing bit of Bram Stoker in a Stephanie Meyer world.

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