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5 stars When I´ve first heard that Charlie Dominici will release his new album in Feb I was really restless. My feelings get stronger after testing an Mp3 sample on the official Dominici site. DOMINICI on their new album "03 A Trilogy Part 2" perform exactly the music that I like mostly. Hypermelodic, very technical, high skilled progressive metal with many great chatchy parts. Whole album is full of prog metal energy, full of rythm changes and keeps me from the beginnning in very interesting listening. Charlie D. proves that he still belongs to the singers elite in hard music. Finally I can say that " 03 A Trilogy Part 2" is for me another special progressive metal album and belongs to the few just few high quality prog metal albums these times.
Report this review (#113542)
Posted Monday, February 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Concept is just awesome !!

The Voice is just Magnificent : a lot of influences incorporated in his way of singing Dominic has gathered 4 members formers of another prog metal band named "Solid Vision" They are excellent in everything, each member is perfect on his instrument what can i say more : it's a pure progressive metal album with original style from the band and i think Dominici has established their own trade mark via this wonderful Album : Catchy choruses, Epic duels between the guitar player and keys player, efficient rhytmic section with groovy parts all along the disc And to my oipinion this new effort of Charlie Dominici is just a REAL answer to those fans who under-estimated the abilities of Charlie and especially that he acknowledged in some interviews that he singed all the tracks without caring of any other influence na dthe result is quite satisfying Judge by yourself, buy it and you'll notice what the new comer he's able of because personally i put this disc in my prog metal legends roof

A Masterpiece !! 5 stars without any doubt

Report this review (#115226)
Posted Thursday, March 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars All expectations exceeded...

I was somewhat surprised when I realised that Charlie Dominici decided to make music again and hearing/seeing his improvement singing with her former band in WDADRU in comparision with his performance in DT's debut album raised my expectations a little bit more. After all those years of inactivity I was hoping to hear something "interesting" if not necessarily remarkable. Well, without making much noise, like out of nowhere comes one of the best prog-metal albums of the last years, and...... well, one of the best prog-metal works of all time imo.

03 A Trilogy Part 2 is a concept album and it shows, not only lyrically but musically speaking. I won't tell about the concept itself wich is well constructed and interesting enough, the important thing is that the album as a whole is very coherent and consistent, with well integrated reprises of several themes along the songs, good flowing beetween tracks (often with a little story-telling) and an overall feeling of unity while having enough diversity to keep things interesting.

Heavy riffs, catchy melodies, rhytm changes, great musicianship and well written songs plus a heavily upgraded version of Dream Theater's former vocalist. The result is a prog-metal masterpiece that only gets better with each listen.

Strongly recommended for prog-metal, heavy metal and hard rock fans, but really for every prog-rock lover who enjoys some heavyness from time to time...... and obviously, DT fans.

Report this review (#121751)
Posted Friday, May 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is the second part of a trilogy and I haven't heard the first part. From what I can understand, it is about a terrorist sleeper cell, and the story is told from the perspective of the detective or officer trying to uncover it. It is an interesting concept. The music on this one is very reminiscent of Dream Theater, but it has much more inspiration than the last few DT albums. The music on this one seems to serve one purpose - to add to the MUSIC. That is where DT have failed in the last few years I believe. If you want something along the same vein, this is definitely it. The Monster (introduction) is as close to a perfect instrumental as you can get, with keyboards and metal riffs galore. From here on, there really isn't a bad track on this cd musically. The only turnoff to this album for me is Charlie's voice. I know some people on here really love his voice, and it isn't that it's bad. It is just way too dramatic at times. I think that he was trying to play along with the story and portray the emotions through the voice, but it doesn't come across as well as it sounds. In songs like Captured, I love his voice and it really adds to the music. However, in songs like School of Pain, it is just way too much for me. It sounds overly dramatic, and that just makes it cheesy. There are some real beauties on this one though, like The Real Life, with its haunting piano line and rain effects. I think that for the next one, if he can hold back the cheese factor a bit on songs, we will have perfection on our hands. This cd is a great part of any collection just for the music itself.
Report this review (#124290)
Posted Friday, June 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a beautiful album, full of depth, melodies, highs and lows.... lots of emotion.

I hadn't heard much of Charlie Dominici before, with the exception of the very average 1st Dream Theater album, and I didn't have very high expectations. As stated before, 03 A Trilogy Part 2 is a high concept album and is meant to be taken as a whole. I would not recommend putting this one on shuffle and putting it in the background. Like most good prog, the song order is critical to maintaining a sense of story.

The musicians step up to the task and deliver an amazing album. One of the best of the year.

Report this review (#131747)
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars OW! That's a extremelly sad album, or funny, you decide...

Using few words you can describe this album as "a copy of the 'new Dream Theater era'". Let me explain: IMHO Dream Theater stopped developing inovative and interesting ideas since 6DOIT; they've been just repeating theirselfs, repeating a lot of arrangements, ideas, use of scales, and so on, this I call "new Dream Theater era", because that's almost nothing of the old DT there (I'll ask you to name more than 3 songs or parts of songs from KM's DT era that sounds alike, I'm sure you'll fail, but, if you ask me the same, but on JR's era, I'll find more than 10). You can think I'm wrong, that's just my opinion. But hey, anyone can "see" that they're repeating theirselfs, building their songs with a lot of "uhm, this sounds like their other song x" (from the albums with JR). They're not that inovative anymore, each song being THAT song, each arrangement being THAT arrangement and etc.. This is a Dominici album, why am I talking about DT so much? This album is just it, copying this Dream Theater era. That's a lame copy (well, they copy it very well, but since I don't even like the original, this will be no different). The guitar sound is the same, the keyboards sounds are the same (yeah, that bad tasted cheesy sounds from JR, even that arrangements that even JR repeats over and over), the arrangements are the same (that is: a repeatition of a lot of repetitions), well, that's a "well done", shameless copy. It adds nothing, the same harmonic minor scales up and downs guitar/keys "duels". Uninteresting melodies. The same riffs DT have been repeating since their 3 lastest albums. You'll hear this and think "they borrowed this from DT's songs X, Y, Z..." (yeah, X, Y, Z and more, since even DT borrow their own riffs and arrangements nowadays). I really can't understand how can a musician copy another without a shame, and worst, how can a band copy another like this. It's not a matter of style, it's a shameless copy. The tone of the instruments, the playin' style, that's a COPY! Listen to "The Calling" (well, if you listen to 20 seconds of any song here, you'll recognize the DT wanna be) and you'll understand what I'm saying. What is that? There's no feeling, that's copy!

That's sad. But if you like the new DT albums, if you like to hear the same unoriginal things over and over again, you'll probably love this album. For me this is not music, it's not sincere.

If you think this review is tedious, it reflects the album I'm reviewing ;)

But remember, that's my opinion, it doesn't necessary reflects what you'll probably think.

Report this review (#143366)
Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars He's baaaaaccckkkk!!!

Charlie Dominici has struck back with a vengeance in 2007 with the release of O3 A Trilogy - Part 2, his first contribution to a progressive metal album since singing on Dream Theater's debut way back in 1989, (Part 1 of O3 A Trilogy was all acoustic.) And this time, he has is own band. Essentially, the band is 4/5 of the Italian prog metal band Solid Vision, minus the lead singer. The music on Part 2 is what some people say it is: what Dream Theater would sound like if Sir Charles hadn't been voted off the island. Basically, the musicianship is a more refined version of DT's Train of Thought era, with more reliance on atmospheric keyboard passages, and you can actually hear the bass! And of course, the guitar and drums are über-heavy, with the former having more melody while maintaining a heavy crunch, and the latter always showing variety in patterns and rhythms. Plus, this album continues the concept explored in the previous entry of the series: Biological terrorism. But, this time, with an added character.

Now to the songs themselves!

1. The Monster - For a dramatic effect, the opening track is instrumental, beginning with an ambient keyboard section laced with what appears to sound like a lion or tiger (or a liger lol) roaring, before descending into pure prog metal bliss. The musicians have been playing together for a while, you can tell by how cohesively they play together, especially in The Monster. The song ends with a thematic skit which takes place in a crowded police station. IMO, it's kinda humorous with the overpracticed Brooklyn accent.

2. Nowhere to Hide - We are instantly met with crushing guitars and thundering rhythm from the drums and bass. Charlie shows how good of he singer he actually is, and how he was hiding his talent on When Dream and Day Unite when he was trying to sing out of his range. The lower register is his true area, but when he hits higher notes, it sounds surprisingly good.

3. Captured - This song is a bit weaker than the others on this album. It's a slower and softer number, and drags at times.

4. Greed, The Evil Seed - This is one of the best songs on the album. Nice and heavy and twists an turns for 7 minutes. Charlie sounds kinda like a better version of his old self on this song, as he sings kinda higher than on the other songs.

5. School of Pain - This track kinda plays out like an Iron Maiden song, it starts of soft, then staircases up into a realm of heaviness. Everyone is in top form here.

6. The Calling - This song, to be very honest sounds like Dream Theater, I say that's kind of a good thing because Dominici takes those DT ideas and expands upon them more. Every member shines once again here.

7. The Real Life - This song is very quiet and relaxing with just piano and Charlie's vocals. It's also the shortest song on the album.

8. The Cop - After listening to The Real Life and lossening up after the heaviness of the album thus far, BOOM! The Cop kicks you right in the ass with a punishing guitar riff. This is without a doubt the heaviest song on the album.

9. A New Hope - The closing track to O3 A Trilogy - Part 2 is my favorite of the 9 songs found here. It is what the quintessential closing track should sound like: epic, and lingering on your thoughts well after you have listened to it. This song ends with a nice progressive metal coda followed by a very deceptive seeming soundclip.

This album is only 1/3 of a masterpiece, but it's one hell of a third, just let me say! Also, it's one hell of a return to form for Charlie Dominici.

Report this review (#175012)
Posted Monday, June 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars 18 after When Dream and Day Unite, Charlie Dominici is back to the prog metal world

Charlie Dominici, the second Dream theater vocalist, is still best known around the world for being the Dream theater vocalist at the album When Dream and Day unite, but this album proves this may not be true for much longer. After completely disappearing from the prog metal scene after the 1989 album, he comes back to prog metal with a killer second album that differs very much from his album with the new yorker band.

Clearly more influenced by power metal than his ex-comrades, the album has, throughout its length, an upbeat mood that contrasts greatly with the sad concept of the trilogy, that is about the life a terrorist. In this album, the part 2 of the concept, the terrorist that is trying to destroy the word is arrested and, having second thoughts about his actions, eventually sides with the own police officer that arrested him.

Though the album is very good as a whole, after the first three songs its quality drops a bit. In fact, if the album had the same quality as the opening song it would probably a masterpiece, but since it is not what happens, it is just a very good album. The highlights go to the first three songs plus one: The Monster, Nowhere to Hide, Captured and The Calling. One funny thing about the name of the songs is that four out of nine of them stars with the.

The instrumental work is very elaborate, much like the prog metal genre. The guitar and the keyboard do a great job leading the band, together with the vocals. The drums also do a terrific job. The vocals are also nice, but i know for a fact that Charlie cannot sing this well live, so although the vocals are nice they have been retouched in the mixing or mastering or whatever.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Dominici's rebirth in the prog metal scene is a truly solid release and with very good songs and instrumental work, as well as a very good concept also, that will completely unfolds itself in the next album. Such a good album deserves a good grade, and so it will be. 4 stars, that's it.

Report this review (#185777)
Posted Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars The second part of his ambitious concept and the first one with a proper band proved to be quite a beast. Dominici came back to music business with a silent whisper with his self-produced acoustic solo debut. And then two years later in 2007 he continued with a roar.

Backed by the Italian band Solid Vision (minus their singer of course), the second part of the trilogy is a feast for prog metalheads. The sound is very reminiscinent of Dream Theater during SFAM era, but that's only the surface. Delving deeper, I cannot help but think that the album sounds very European (which is quite logical considering that most of the band are from Italy). This must be prog metal at its very best without trying to be artistic. They even have the obligatory power ballads (Captured and The Real Life) which have great melodies and work very well without being clichéd. They also bring the much needed space to breath between the heavy and complex songs.

Dominici is in great shape here and sounds better than ever. He can really belt it out. His lyrics are good and the concept is brilliant in its bizarre overblown madness. In print, it really sounds cheesy, but somehow it works very well with the music. One really big plus point comes from the clarity of the lyrics, you can really follow the story even without having the lyric sheets in front of you.

Solid work from all of the band and truly an excellent addition to any music collection. 4 stars.

Report this review (#231360)
Posted Thursday, August 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's long time since Charlie Dominici was behind the microphone in famous Dream Theater on When dream and day unite. After the departure from DT , he stood many years in shadow, 'till early this decade when decided to form a progressive metal band under Dominici name. He gathered around him a bunch of great musicians from italian progressive metal band Solid Vision (all musicians are in Dominici minus of course the voice). He release the first part of the trilogy in 2005 , but was almost unnoticed in prog circles, so he wanted more and puted on the market the second part of the trlogy in 2007. Much better then the first , a truly progressive metal album with great musicianship and great ideas. The pieces are elaborated, technical with some most amazing prog metal pieces in last years. With this album shows that Dominici know bussines in prog metal field and is on a good path without being influenced by DT this album show a mature work, with great vocals from himself - Dominici. From the first pieces, the opening The monster - an instrumental journey through this powerfull release, entire band shows their musical talent, great track that i maybe the best from here ore among the best. From this pieces 'till the last the band shines on every piece, from vocal department who is very good and strong 'till the last track A new hop this second part of the trilogy mean bussines. Even in parts the DT influences are minore, Dominici knew how to make this album strong and not to fall in another DT clone, specially when he was a member of this band 20 years earlier. Well done album who desearves 4 star from me, the best album from all 3 parts and a perfect example of how must sound a progressive metal album these days.
Report this review (#257700)
Posted Friday, December 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
Retired Admin
4 stars Eclectic prog metal for the win!

It's not a surprise that the former singer of Dream Theater's music will sound something like Dream Theater. For this reason, I will not rip on Charlie Dominici for his DT-esque riffs and soloing. However, within this powerful gem, one can find many modern prog metal references. Obviously Dream Theater is foremost, but Symphony X, Kamelot, Vanden Plas, and other popular symphonic prog metal band's styles can be found compiled into one fantastic piece of music. The O3 trilogy comes back in this second installment, now actually rocking and progging along, unlike part 1. This part details the main character's experience after his parole and release after his hearing and the gut-wrenching decisions he must make. The music is powerful the whole way through, only slowing down to take a breathe when absolutely necessary. Although some of the songs sound uncannily like the singer's former band, but the music is still creative and powerful.

The Monster is a crushingly powerful instrumental track. Dominici is apparently one of the few solo singers who is willing to put an instrumental track on his album-- to great results! Although the soloing is extremely Petrucci-esque, the whole performance is very impressive. A lot of Vanden Plas sounding keyboard work is going on, adding to the whole traditional prog metal feel. You can see that Dominici has done a lot of listening over the near 20 year gap between this release and his last prog metal gap. At the end of the track, you can hear a sound bit that opens up the story for the next few tracks about the detective who arrested the main character.

Nowhere to Hide is the first track where we can finally hear Dominici's voice in its crushing power. In this track, the concept breaks away from the main character (see my review for Part 1) and tells the story of a troubled detective who has been chasing the terrorist. The song tells how the detective captured the terrorist, but he lost his temper and basically tortured him. Because of this, the court hearing let the terrorist walk because of tampered evidence. The detective muses about how he'll get back at the terrorist and convict justly. Musically, the song still has that amazing power, with a little more creativity behind the riffing. It shows Dominici has not only prog metal, but also a lot of traditional heavy metal influence behind his music.

Captured opens with a radio bit, saying that the government is becoming more aware of terrorist activity. The detective tells his griefs about the justice system and it's flaws. He thinks about how all the criminals who know the ins and outs of the justice system can avoid any contact with the feds and cops. Musically, the tracks slows down with the emotions of the detective, which shows the great attention to character development and conceptual basis. As the detective's anger grows, the song picks up and gets more aggressive, following the compassionate vocals. This track shows the more dynamic side of Dominci's music.

Greed, the Evil Seed starts again the crushing power of symphonic prog metal. We are now hearing from the main character, the terrorist, who thinks about the injustice of the system and the power of greed in our society. He thinks about how humanity tried to get along, but the greedy ones ruined it all (greed=evil). Musically, this starts again the Dream Theater influence, with some fantastic synchronization and great Petrucci-esque soloing again. Instrumental sections abound in this song, powerful, melodic, and fun.

School of Pain tells the main character's time in prison after he was captured and wrongly convicted. He talks about how screwed up the "school of pain" is and how he really learned nothing. Musically, the song is a slow bloomer, starting out slow and gaining momentum throughout the song. Once it picks up, however, it doesn't slow down, constantly ripping up the pavement with it's impressive power and musical might.

The Calling tells how the terrorist now understands that he has to do what he was originally told to do (essentially destroy humanity). He calls humanity the greatest virus and his chemical the solution. Musically the song starts off rather boring, but the verses are so incredible I really can't dis the straightforwardness of it. The choruses get a little more boring again, but that verse riff is incredible.

The Real Life is a melancholy and beautiful track consisting of piano and vocals. In this song, the main character has reached a breaking point. He muses on how he will be a martyr when he releases his chemical and how the afterlife is the "real life." Musically, it is melancholy and beautiful, with fantastic melodies and fantastic piano work.

The Cop tells of the deal the detective makes with the main character; the main character tells his entire story to the detective so he might be able to escape prison. Musically, the song rocks again. It has fantastic prog metal-heavy metal crossovers, with some great instrumental sections again.

A New Hope tells of the main character's journey to releasing his chemical. It displays his rise to some kind of a prophet or something along those lines, for you can hear crowds of people chanting after he speaks about humanity ending being a new hope. At the end of the song, a massive explosion is heard, showing obviously that he has succeeded in releasing his chemical. Musically, the song has some obvious influences more than ever to Dream Theater, at some points their modern work, at some points their classic work, but everywhere Dream Theater. As I said before, this is acceptable, seeing as the singer is a former member of that very band. If it were another band, I would give a much lower rating. The soloing is fantastic, showing all the members' musical capacity to really rip on their instruments. This track really leads nicely into the next and final installation.

ALBUM OVERALL: A really great symphonic progressive metal album. Dominici and his backing band have really hit it big here. However, musically, the album lacks in originality harshly. Now, influence is good, but when it seems like your listening to that particular band when you listen to the music, for example the extreme Vanden Plas and Dream Theater influence, the music sounds cheesier and cheesier. The concept, just like the last album, is fantastic, as are the vocals, but the one thing holding this album back is the unoriginality of the music. The players are technically over the top, but the music they wrote is disappointing. 4+ stars.

Report this review (#365487)
Posted Monday, December 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
1 stars Holy crap, I didn't realize Dream Theater released a new album!

Wait, this isn't DT? Then why the hell does it sound exactly like them?

Guess someone still has some pent-up angst for getting dumped almost 15 years ago.

Obviously pissed off that he got trashed in the can from a band that now is living in in the proverbial "hall of fame" of prog bands, Charlie Dominici obviously wanted to get in on the action. His first album was acoustic, so this is technically his first album. From an aesthestics standpoint, I'm drawn in to the fancy album cover and the first track intrigues me. Yet, once you dig in deeper, you realize one true fact. Dominici obviously had NO intention on being innovative for this album.

The concept is there, and I'll give him two stars for the concept alone. A story about a life- changed suicide bomber in America spanning 3 albums is very ambitious to say the least and is definitely one worth applauding. But, unfortunately, those are really the only positives I can take from this disc. Dream Theater fans have scalded me for not liking this album simply because I am a diehard DT fan and that I just can't really get into this album.

Right from the start "The Monster", the riffs and chords are recognizable, and since this trck is instrumental, I'm all for it. Yes, I'm a little upset that Dominici doesn't have the slightest bit of ingenuity in his head to make an album that differs at least a little bit from Dream Theater, but as for as aesthetics are concerned, he hits it right on the head. If I didn't know and memorize ever single Dream Theater song and listened to "The Monster", I could easily mistake it as a DT song. From the riffs, to the acoustic interlude to the all out blitzkrieg solos at the very out, the whole song just screams Dream Theater. The conversation at the end of the track could have been staged better but in all senses concerned, my attention has now been gained, and further exploration inside this album must commence, and it's a promising beginning.

And then Dominici starts singing. And I immediately start looking for the nearest power drill so I can shove it in my ear.

This is a clone unlike any other. The chorus' are DT esque as usual, but during the verses where it's just Dominici and no overlap, it's a sound that reminds me of Godsmack covering "Good Times Bad Times". They both sound like crap. Litteraly. This is Dominici pretending to be who he isn't. There is a reason why Dream Theater gave him "das boot", because he can't sing like James LaBrie, therefore, he shouldn't sing for Dream Theater. Did that deter him for releasing an album that sounds exactly like Dream Theater's "Train Of Thought"?


Before I start pissing people off, Pt. 3 is the better of Dominici's trilogy, simply because it's a more refined Dream Theater clone and Dominici realizes that he can't hit the high notes that LaBrie (used to) hit (even though he can still hit pretty high in the register). But this particular disc can almost be mistaken for a demo of all things! "Captured" is just another example. Dominici is just s***s the bed everywhere all over this song. Not only does he sound terrible, his songwriting is terrible as well! The instrumentaion is all fine and dandy, it's just Dominici himself can't sing DT's style of prog metal!

And when you sound terrible on the record that bears your own name........

Song after song is like grain of rice after grain of rice. You may get a brown grain of rice or an abnormal grain of rice, but it's all still rice. Yes, I just did it. I compared this album to grains of rice (now I know I'm an asshole). "School Of Pain" is approached differently compared to "Greed The Evil Seed", but it all just seems to end the seed. This entire disc sounds like a broken record, and I'm getting rehashed versions of Dream Theater. If I'm wrong, then so help me, do me a favor.

Listen to "The Calling" of this disc. Then, search for Dream Theater's "Train of Thought" and listen to "Honor Thy Father". If you can't realize the riffs are exactly the same, you need your freakin' head checked. Then Dominici starts singing and kills the song again. This is where I just stopped and ran outside my house and started covering my face in my hands. Then I went back inside and made myself a sandwich listening to The Rolling Stone's "Wild Horses" on the radio.

All in all, if you love Charlie and his voice, get this album. If you think he's a chump, avoid this disc like the plague. I wish I could give this an extra star, but it's just not worth it. It's like trying to sell a lump of dog crap for 5 cents simply because it's the nicest pile of s*** you've seen.

I love the guy, but his music? Ehhhh.... that's a whole different story. 1 star for the concept, but nothing more, I'm afraid.

Report this review (#510121)
Posted Friday, August 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars (7/10)

If there was an award for greatest difference between two consecutive albums by a band, Dominici would definitely be strong contenders. Certainly I can't think of any trilogy with such a sudden jump in style. Whereas "O3 A Trilogy Part 1" was nothing more than an admittedly pleasant acoustic album, "O3 A Trilogy Part 2" brings the Prog-Metal. This is probably what people were wanting (and expecting) when they heard that legendary ex-Dream Theater vocalist Charlie Dominici had decided to return to the musical world.

By far the most dominating influence is (suprise, suprise) Dream Theater. Instrumentally speaking, Charlie Dominici has gathered around him most of the band Solid Vision, so this should come as no suprise to anyone who has heard their work, or the work of any of the Maillard brothers. Brian Maillard in particular impressed me with his skill on guitar, though everyone involved brings a high level of musicianship.

The music is a bit different though. For one, Dominici's voice is nothing like how James Labrie sings in DT, how Dominici sung on "When Dream And Day Unite", and indeed nothing like his singing on the first album of the trilogy (for the most part). The compositions also eschew some of the more wildly proggy moments of Dream Theater in favour of a heavier more metallic assault. Essentially though, this is a pretty classic style melodic progressive metal record.

The story aspect is continued on brilliantly. I wont say much about what happens, but following on from the last album the policeman trying to capture the terrorist is explored in several songs, and the terrorist himself reflects on his own morality, and the state of the world. There are a lot of voices and sound samples to help bring the story to life that work well. The greater sonic diversity, and especially the different voices that Charlie Dominici use also give this album a lot more depth than its predecessor. Americo Rigoldi also uses his keyboard intelligently to guide the various moods of the album, whether subtle or dramatic, as well as to do musical battle with the guitar solos of Brian Maillard.

The songs are generally of a good standard, nothing that will redefine progressive metal to be sure, but the band sounds energetic and enthusiastic, and it's difficult not to find this an appealing quality. If I had to pick out some highlights I would say that "The Monster" and "A New Hope" are the obvious candidates, though there are good moments in every song. "The Monster" opens the album as a powerful metal instrumental moving through a good variety of sounds, letting us know straight away how much of a band effort this album is going to be. It's good to see that despite the name of the band being "Dominici", Charlie is not afraid to let his talented band flex their instrumental muscles whilst he takes a back seat. The final track "A New Hope" is a real powerhouse of a song. It builds really well in intensity, to a grand finale that reprises a theme set out in the first song "The Monster". Brian Maillard's guitar really soars over the dramatic sounds of the rest of the band in the finale, before a quieter version of the theme plays us out, leaving us on a musical as well as a lyrical cliffhanger, ready for the final part of the trilogy.

It is the effort that has been put into the lyrics and vocal performance that really helps tie this album together. It feels like the people making this album actually cared about making something cool. For all the fun in the musical side (and that is done well), I think this is one of the things that best sets apart Dominici's trilogy from the hundreds of other modern progressive metal bands out there today.

Report this review (#876726)
Posted Monday, December 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars When hearing the name "Dominici," most metalheads or progressive rock fans will think of "that guy who got replaced by James LaBrie in Dream Theater." It's a sad truth to accept, seeing as Charlie Dominici's solo work has been quite solid, including his epic O3 Trilogy. As the name suggests, these are indeed concept albums, deftly combining pounding aggression (at least Parts 2 and 3) and narrative into a very complete package. Part 2 of this trilogy just happens to be a very underrated gem that fans of Dream Theater or Queensryche should seriously own.

Opening with a daunting 8.5 minutes of instrumental work to kick things off, it's clear that these guys are setting the bar high from the start. What's refreshing is the lack of wankery and useless mechanical shredding that's become so common in progressive records these days. As soon as the song wraps up, a narrative section segues into the next track, "Nowhere to Hide." These segments are what move the plot forward as the album goes, and this seems to be the story in a nutshell: A sleeper cell preaches against societal evils while in America and gets wrongly convicted by the law. Dominici does a commendable job keeping the character convincing throughout the album with the conviction in his vocal performance.

One thing that's extremely pleasing about all this is how tight the band sounds; nothing ever sounds out of place, and the songs rarely sound aimless. For instance, look at highlight "Greed, the Evil Seed"; the initial riff sounds a tad generic, but the way the synthesizers layer over the heavy guitar work and the drum work stays varied throughout makes it so the listener doesn't get bored until Dominici's vocals spice things up.

If there was an album peak or centerpiece, it'd have to be "School of Pain." I could go on for HOURS about how good this song is... between the way the guitar sends the listener into an Agalloch-style pit of depression, how immensely effective Dominici's vocals are in sounding like he was really thrown into the hell his character was sent into, and how smoothly the transitions in dynamics are in the song. Everything feels like it was put here for a reason, and the atmosphere is exceptionally powerful.

If there was any flaw, I'd say it's the fact that occasionally the band fall into that Dream Theater-style trap of repeating riffs or motifs; this doesn't happen often, but sometimes over the course of the album you'll find two songs sounding really similar when put side to side. It's a minor gripe, though, a small blemish on an otherwise excellent record.

Many bands and artists try the whole concept-album route these days, but Dominici and co. are able to pull it off WELL, and have damn good progressive metal to boot. Highly recommended.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

Report this review (#1521322)
Posted Thursday, January 28, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars After performing live with Dream Theater in 2004 on the 15th anniversary of 'When Dream and Day Unite' (the album in which he provided vocals), Charlie Dominici, the bands original vocalist, felt inspired enough to make a return to music. Sadly for fans, his initial rebirth didn't have anything to do with the genre which he helped pioneer in the late 80's, with 'O3: A Trilogy Part 1' favoring the acoustic guitar-laden singer-songwriter style over progressive metal.

Barely anyone paid any attention to it. But that's okay, because the second part of the trilogy is here to rectify that.

'O3: A Trilogy Part 2' is all-out balls-to-the-wall progressive metal, and takes the singer right back to the genre with which he is most well known. Full of some absolutely bone-crushing riffs, intricate song structures and the over-the- top musical passages associated with this style of music, Dominici's return/debut (as in, the man himself and the band respectively), successfully manages to make up for the shaky start this trilogy got off on.

With songs like 'Greed, the Evil Seed', 'Nowhere to Hide', 'The Calling' and 'The Cop', Dominici is a band who sound like, and will appeal to fans of... you guessed it... Dream Theater! Amazing vocals and top musicianship make this an album every progressive metal fan should look out for.

Report this review (#1732354)
Posted Monday, June 12, 2017 | Review Permalink

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