Review: Dome La Muerte E.X.P. ‘El Santo’

‘I was given the nickname Dome La Muerte (Dome The Death) by my friends when I was young, because I was so skinny that I looked like death’ – explains Domenico Petrosino, aka Dome La Muerte, during an interview – ‘and the opportunity to finally use it arose when I first joined Piacenza garage rock band Not Moving. That’s the story so far’.

Dome La Muerte E.X.P. 'El Santo' Artwork
Dome La Muerte E.X.P. ‘El Santo’ Artwork

To talk about the music of Dome La Muerte isn’t an easy task because the man has a big history behind him, not only as a musician but also as a DJ. To put it short, it’s like writing the history of the Italian underground rock music from 1978 up to now without leaving any stones unturned because the man is, and always will be, the cornerstone singer songwriter/guitarist of a well-defined Italian rock scene.

Once he had a guitar in his hands at the age of 17, for Dome, it’s been a never dull moment. He started putting bands together working on the music genre; rough and ready garage, punk rock, swamp blues, surf and psychedelia that he always followed and loved. From the furious years of dirty brutal punk rock reminiscent of early The Stooges with his first proper band, Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers aka CCM, and the less dirty rock’n’roll garage blues with Dome La Muerte And The Diggers, without leaving on the side his great ‘breakthrough’ work with Not Moving, reformed a few years back as Not Moving LTD, one of the wildest and most fascinating bands to ever have emerged from the Italian underground music scene.

His mind/body never had a moment of rest as he’s always fast thinking about the next move. His great music versatility got him to collaborate with various and important musicians/bands of the new growing underground alt rock music scene. Dome La Muerte‘s approach to composition knows no bounds, as he’s always been guided by a strong musical sensibility developed through a lifelong love affair with music. One of the sentimental impulses of his life is his love for instrumental surf guitar music translated into softer and blues compositions very close to the soundtracks of spaghetti western, which began in 2017 with the release of Lazy Sunny Day, the first album with his instrumental project Dome La Muerte E.X.P.

The album includes twelve songs of predominantly instrumentals. Musically focused on the surf rock sound with some raga and psycho blues reminiscent between a less fast Dick Dale, a romantic Link Wray and kinda Stray Cats rockabilly. Here he covers Charles Manson Sick City. The album also contains the original version of When The Night Is Over which we find on the new album El Santo as bonus track, this time beautifully sung by the husky bluesy voice of Australian singer/guitarist and former member of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Hugo Race.

It’s the perfect soundtrack for the imaginary spaghetti western film of your dreams…

As for El Santo, the second for Go Down Records, arrives six years later with a creative hiatus induced partly by the turbulent years of the Covid pandemic. During this break, Dome La Muerte honed his sound, infusing it with a more musical accent reminiscent of Ennio Morricone’s iconic spaghetti western soundtracks.

The sixteen tracks contained on El Santo (The Saint) take us back on a journey made of magnificent and memorable visions of a cowboy movie with its saloons, gunslingers and dusty roads. Images so dear to our past youth of spaghetti western movies created in the ‘60s by the Italian film director Sergio Leone. Each song on the album seems to be composed to fit into a kind of short scene, giving the right composition frame and visual imagery, like on Lee Van Cleef, he pays tribute to the legendary American actor in a very solemn way.

The album as a whole is cinematic and composed to give the listener that feeling of immense happy, but also sad, moments transmitted with intense spiritual wisdom from an artist who understands life’s complexity. For instance, the title track El Santo exudes a Tex-Mex aura, conjuring visions reminiscent of Jodorowsky’s El Topo, a mood echoed by the album’s cover art. While the galloping Riding Home has that warm touch of country and western tones.

When you listen to El Santo, prepare to be transported beneath a red sun, cigar in hand, pistol on your hip, and a pitcher of Old Fashioned nearby. It’s the perfect soundtrack for the imaginary spaghetti western film of your dreams – a modern classic in the world of surf guitar sound.

Label: Go Down Records
Band Links: Facebook | Spotify

Scribed by: Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Caccamo