For a purist, such as the author, first impressions of the present album will inevitably revolve around the explicit borrowings from older projects that can be heard here. Furthermore, and more importantly, it may be stated that each form of expression has to arise in symbiosis with a context that gives it its significance. If moved into a different domain, this significance changes, although the inherent meaning in its structures and series of tones remains the same. Having gone through the first realization that Domains was primarily using the style Trey Azagthoth grew into between the second and third phases of Morbid Angel, a just criticism was made that the transposition of this original expression to its new application in Sinister Ceremonies rendered it weakened and disconnected from the roots that afforded it with its original power.
Now, given more time and the chance to express whatever it wants to, letting the seed grow in the listener, the present albums may yet show some significant worth. Domains may have not crafted a new classic in Sinister Ceremonies, but it is an original take on the particular intersection of the musical languages of later Morbid Angel, and black metal palette of the kind used by Watain. That is to say, the technique itself follows Trey Azagthoth, but the sensibility with which songs are advanced reminds one more of the pop-based serious black metal, without them becoming a set of theatrical juxtapositions as is the case with the whole of Watain’s discography and to different degrees in that of Abigor.
Attentive listening and relaxation into what Domains is doing here also shows a hint of something else that is not readily apparent: the influence of Swedish death metal rhythms and mannerisms in the drums. The interesting thing is that most of the Morbid Angel here is filtered through that influence. Historically, this makes complete sense, since the development of the Swedish death metal sound was highly influenced by the earliest Morbid Angel tapes that were circulating the closed groups of the twin towers of Sweden. In Sinister Ceremonies, this original influence is pulled through the developments it was made to go through in northern Europe so that we can see its head sticking out, but it would grave mistake to define it by it.
To properly appreciate the music that Domains has made, we must look at it under the correct light and bring to the foreground of our mind the abstract concepts it makes allusion to lyrically and visually so that the whole of the music attains a clearer context for us. This action involves perceiving the spirit of Sinister Ceremonies somewhere between European death metal and the harsher black metal strands that veer towards Satanism and all that this implies musically as a result of their attempt to channel a particular aura through music. The picture will then be completed by making a study or attaining some glimpse of the dark Gnosticism to which it makes allusion to. By doing so, the listener will be able to appreciate the correct value that can be found in this humble but very sober work.