"Northlanders", the new video from DRAGONLORD, the California-based black metal band led by TESTAMENT guitarist Eric Peterson, can be seen below. The song is taken from DRAGONLORD's third album, "Dominion", which will be released on September 21 via Spinefarm Records. The disc features eight tracks of devastatingly unrelenting black and death metal assault. The album artwork was painted by artist Eliran Kantor (TESTAMENT, ICED EARTH, SODOM).
The "Northlanders" video was edited by Jan Yrlund and features hand-drawn art depicting the lyrical content of the track by Christian Sloan Hall.
Peterson says about "Northlanders", "This is one of the first songs I wrote for the 'Dominion' album, way back when the History Channel first put out 'Vikings', which it's clearly inspired by. While I wish I had a 'Vikings'-level budget for this music video, I actually love how this video came out because it encompasses what black metal is all about — grit and straightforward rawness!"
He adds: "It's worth noting that this song also spawned the character dubbed 'The Burner' from my comic that I first put out at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, which will soon be available through a bundle pack and the web store at www.enterthedragonlord.com!"
"Dominion" features Eric Peterson on vocals, guitar and bass, Lyle Livingston (PSYPHERIA) on orchestrated keys and pianos, Alex Bent (TRIVIUM) on drums, and notable fantasy metal singer Leah — who has performed/recorded with members of BLIND GUARDIAN, NIGHTWISH, DELAIN and others — on female vocals and choirs.
Peterson says: "Right around 2010, Lyle [Livingston, keyboards] and I were talking about maybe doing another DRAGONLORD record... I contacted [our producer] Juan... he's like dude I have the perfect drummer for you too... his name is Alex Bent. He ended up coming over, we jammed on some older DRAGONLORD songs... he had this really cool groove and right there and then I knew. This is probably the best sounding drum record that we've put out."
"Leah and I go way back," adds Peterson. "She had invited me to do some vocals on one of her records and we talked about maybe doing more stuff together. We ended up doing a Christmas song together called 'Winter Sun'. We got a lot of responses from it and people wanted us to do a whole record that sounded like that. So, after hearing the [DRAGONLORD] record... we thought it would be really awesome to have a real voice interpret what Lyle had done on the choirs. Right then I was like, Leah's got to come here and do that. She really nailed it. I'm super happy with the way it came out."
As aural the gates to "Dominion" creak open on the first track, "Entrance", you descend into the dark world of DRAGONLORD and there's no turning back. "Dominion" explores themes of darkness owning and influencing these times we now live in, and things that have come to pass. It also delves into other eras, real and imagined. The pummeling begins with the title track, "Dominion", welcoming all who dare enter into an eternity of misfortune. Then it's into "Ominous Premonition", which Peterson likens to "the soundtrack to the gates of hell". The track "The Northlanders" is about brutal 11th century Northmen, while "The Discord Of Melkor" will thrill "Lord Of The Rings" fans with an untold tale — "my take on Tolkien's "Silmarillion", the first age of the "Lord Of The Rings" saga genesis, says Peterson. Then there's the surprise of the slower, BLACK SABBATH-influenced duet with "my amazing Celtic vocalist friend and collaborator Leah," Peterson explains about "Love Of The Damned", an abstract piece that still explores a love story — with the devil, of course. "Almost like a switch-up story of if Beatrice from 'Dante's Inferno' did fall for the Prince of Darkness!"
"Dominion" track listing:
03. Ominous Premonition
05. Love Of The Damned
07. The Discord Of Melkor
08. Serpents Of Fire
Recorded at Trident Studios near Peterson's Northern California home, "Dominion" took about four years to complete, between TESTAMENT tours and albums. Peterson produced the album with an assist from engineer/mixer Juan Urteaga (TESTAMENT, MACHINE HEAD, M.O.D.), and mastering by famed producer/engineer Jens Bogren of Fascination Street Studios in Sweden.
If the road to "Dominion" was long, it's only because Peterson strives for perfection. He says: "The biggest obstacle was getting the vocal patterns and lyrics right; telling the story of the music. Maybe I was a little too picky, but at the end of the day I'm glad we didn't settle for things that I wasn't feeling right about."
Eric Peterson is tuned to E Flat on "Dominion", and used his two favorite Les Pauls for rhythm and some solos; his Ritchie Blackmore Fender Strat for other solos, as well as his signature Dean Old Skull Flying V. "I used a lot of different guitars to get various sounds. I didn't want my tone to be too close to TESTAMENT, but wanted to still maintain my signature sound. I really felt I needed to lay down the kind of stuff I do on my own — but not necessarily on records," he explains. "I'm pretty stoked of the outcome on the soloing end."
Peterson formed DRAGONLORD in 2000 as its singer and guitarist (with keyboardist Lyle Livingston and now-ex-members Steve DiGiorgio of TESTAMENT and Jon Allen of SADUS), and notes that the growth from DRAGONLORD's first two records to the cinematic triumph and brutal blast-beats of "Dominion" has been immense. "Dominion"'s stellar, complex, brutally symphonic metal is triumphant in its execution, bringing together layers of meaning and musicality into an unholy whole.
Photo credit: Richard Haick