On their debut full-length release, Minneapolis, MN's Boson show off much potential for becoming a potent contender in the doom/sludge metal arena. Unfortunately, they've yet to achieve those grander heights; they never quite hit them on Domain of Ember.
From album opener "Shadowlands," the band exhibit their ability to fuse emotion into their guitar strings, laying down riffs both heavy and emotive. It's a good start, it's quickly weighed down by the vocals. The dramatic strings and sluggish pace are accompanied by shrieking yells more typical to a hardcore sound. To their credit, vocalists Dan Jensen and Jim Adolphson attempt variety into their singing, adding some tasteful harmonizing alongside the rough-edged screams, but as the album progresses, it's not enough to avoid a feeling of tedium.
From that strong start, Domain of Ember never seems to change all that much in regards to its pacing, sound or structure, either. Tracks go by, seeming more like parts of one long track that's overstaying its welcome than individual works.
That's not to say that there's no merit to the album. The final track, "Prayer of Ash," is definitely a standout giving Domain of Ember a strong beginning and end. From the start, the song hints at a variation from the theme that has pervaded most of the other songs, and stands undoubtedly as one of the more dynamic compositions.
Though not an incredible doom release, Domain hints at greater heights that Boson might hopefully achieve with future albums. (Anxious & Angry)