Veni Domine - Fall Babylon Fall
Many years ago, fall 1991 to be more precise, a friend of mine noticed a CD with a cover made by none other than the master Rodney Mathews in the local cd-store. The band was called Veni Domine and the album was their debut Fall Babylon Fall. Being a huge fan of Magnum in those days and also at present time (yeah, you heard me *S*) a cover by Mathews was something I immediately had to investigate, and in doing so I stumbled on one of the best albums from the whole 1990's.
Veni Domine is a very unique band and finding similar artists is a task I must admit I've failed to accomplish. Mostly the band is being categorised as doom metal based on the heavy and sometimes drawling guitar sound. But on this debut the pace is much faster than on their other two later releases and I would rather call it power/heavy metal with undertones of progressive doom, which is much closer to the truth but also perhaps a bit confusing?
Anyway, that's how it is and the best way I can try to explain the basics of their music regarding the instrument department. But besides this there are three other major aspects that makes up the whole Veni Domine deal and let's start with the vocals. Fredrik Ohlsson is in my book a great singer and provides a voice that's very unique and although he usually remains in the high tone area of the scale I can't think of many to compare him with. Perhaps a touch of Geoff Tate (Queensryche) at times but overall he's a very special sounding vocalist that also must be considered the major band trademark.
Veni Domine is also a band that uses a very high proportion of Christian influences but there's absolutely no preaching going on and the lyrics aren't in a judging or proclamational way at all. Veni Domine doesn't by any means try to shove some religious massage down our throats but simply use lyrics and stories taken from the Bible. Opinions vary whether this is acceptable or not but I think it only enhances the emotion of the music and they've also managed to incorporate this with the overall sound in a very digestible way.
And then the final factor which is the long epic and complex songs with many different changes in tempo. The album contains only seven tracks but still ranges over 67 minutes. For instant, the final epic closer The Chronicle of the Seven Seals clocks to about 21 minutes and besides that also concludes the album in the best possible way. The other ones range between 6 to closer to 9 minutes in length but you never get the impression that they are too long or too complicated. Everything is kept at perfect balance, all of these other mentioned factors interact perfectly with one another and makes Fall Babylon Fall one helluva metal treasure hidden deep down in the vaults. Just listen to tracks like Face of the Prosecutor, King of the Jews, In the Day of the Sentinel, O Great City- ah, never mind- the entire release is one sovereign gathering of awesome killers!
Unfortunately I have no idea how deep hidden and how accessible this album is nowadays but all I can do is to highly recommend you all to try and get it. And then finally, another sad issue and also the saddest part of it all- the band split up many years ago and is no more. They released a total of 3 full length albums and at least this one and it's sequel Material Sanctuary are records that almost any band would wish they had in their back-catalogue. Taken together, Veni Domine's contribution to the world of metal is absolutely worth saluting and should be represented in as many CD-collections as possible.