Released: 2008, Inside Out Music
Charlie Dominici, the former Dream Theater vocalist on WHEN DAY AND DREAM UNITE, and his band have completed their O3 Trilogy opus with this new album. Dominici is a progressive metal band from Long Island, New York, that began this trilogy in 2005, with each album being released on different labels. I have not heard the previous two parts in the series, but the first was apparently an acoustic album and the second part a full band effort. The story involves a religious group that wants to exterminate all human beings because the group believes that people are hopeless. They kidnap and train a young man to help bring about the end of the world, and standing in the way is a cop that has been chasing him and is possibly the only one who can thwart the group’s plans.
Totaling 8 tracks, O3 A TRILOGY – PART3 opens with “King of Terror”, and a radio broadcast announcing a nuclear attack has taken place in the Middle East. Soft keyboards pave the way for a quiet acoustic guitar and vocal opening, reminiscent of countless other progressive metal openings. But then something unexpected happens. The band kicks in with a heavy, complex, and driving riff full of purpose, and suddenly I think this might be different than most needless wankings so pervasive in progressive metal. The next song, “March Into Hell” also opens with a heavy, slower riff before speeding up and ultimately slowing near the end into a melodic and tasteful close. “So Help Me God” is a progressive metal ballad, and a nice change after the pummeling riffs of the first two tracks. Charlie showcases his impressive vocal skills in this song while the band reigns in the multiple time changes and expertly paces Charlie’s vocal lines. The rest of the album is similarly constructed, the band able to restrain themselves often enough to let the melodies carry sections of the songs, but not afraid to break into note-dense and complicated sections with multiple tempo changes. Even during these instrumental passages, the importance of song craft has taken precedence over instrumental indulgence and note-dense shred fests. That’s not to say that the progressive junkies will be disappointed, as there are two tracks over ten minutes long, and the closer, “Genesis”, is as complicated and meticulous as any progressive metal fan could ask for.
Charlei Dominici’s vocals shine on this record and Brian Maillard’s guitar work matches Charlie’s efforts. The rest of the band is no slouches, but the guitar and vocals are the heart of this album. The overall mood of O3 A TRILOGY – PART 3 is a bit dark, but there are some brighter moments as well. The production is perfectly balanced, the musicianship is outstanding, and the songs are memorable. So how does this album compare to Dream Theater? Favorably I would say. The two styles are different, but Dominici have managed to remember the importance of memorable songs and passion, while Dream Theater have leaned more towards musicianship at the expense of song craft in recent years. The real shame is that Charlie has not put out more material through the course of his career, but with this effort that might change quickly.
Choice Tracks: Revelation, Hell On Earth.