Belial (Ivan Manzano) is a Spanish musician who, under the moniker Dom, already has two full lengths under his belt of fairly recent accomplishment. Instead, this new release of his takes place in the format of an ep, which is nevertheless of considerable length since its duration is close to half an hour. Dom, not only because of the assonance, is considered a funeral doom project, although such a label may appear partially misleading: Belial’s compositions, entirely instrumental, are essentially based on the notes of the piano, which, thanks to a certain melodicism, guides the music mostly on ambient shores, and of the guitar, which often lets itself go in progressions that are not entirely obvious. Nothing to do, then, with either the more claustrophobic or the more enveloping and melancholy version of the genre; Dom Vampyr, while retaining the somber connotations of funeral, possesses neither its bradycardic rhythmicity nor its dramatic drive. That said, the three tracks prove to be quite good and in some ways different from each other: the long opener A Modern Prometheus shows the more experimental side of Belial which, starting from almost jazzy moods launches into a rather lively middle phase to finally arrive at a closing under the banner of asphyxiating rhythms. Les Avaleuses comes to life with a strong Skepticism imprint, due to a similar timbre of the keyboards, and then gives way to the usual piano content resting on compositional cues comparable to Ea. The undoubtedly best and most characterizing episode, however, is The Tomb Of Ethelind Fionguala, a track that, paradoxically, among all is precisely the one that has the least to do with funeral: a beautiful piano turn is repeated for the entire song first alone, then with the entry of the keyboards until, around the middle of the song, the lead guitar takes the proscenium releasing itself in a splendid classical-style solo. Dom Vampyr delivers a scant half-hour of thoroughly enjoyable music, as long as one does not make the mistake of expecting anything resembling the genre as true fans understand it; clearing the field of this misconception, Belial’s work proves, indeed, to be entirely appreciable.

2014 – Independent