W.A.S.P. - _Dominator_
(Demolition Records, 2007)
by: Kostas Sarampalis (
What a surprise it was to hear Lawless and Co. having fun again -- because _Dominator_ might be stripped down, back to basics without any surprises, but hell is it fun! In 2007, Blackie has been around with his band for over twenty three years, and however bumpy his ride has been, he has lost none of his charm.Not having liked his last few albums very much, this one is full of melody and great songs. Kicking off with a straightforward rocker in "Mercy", the album keeps gaining momentum song after song. "Long, Long Way to Go" starts with a simple riff that holds Blackie's tremendously melodic vocal refrains throughout its course, enhanced with a great solo half way through. "Take Me Up" builds slowly into a brooding melody, and "The Burning Man" takes the listener back quite a few years.Yet it is the centrepiece of the album that offers the biggest surprise. "Heaven's Hung in Black" is probably the best ballad that this band has ever written, and one of the best rock ballads you probably have ever heard. However exaggerated this sounds, it's true. The song deals with the thoughts of an injured and dying soldier, and it is emotionally, lyrically and musically very powerful. It is also structured in such a way that keeps the audience fully immersed, something that is not easy for a seven minute long ballad. This is due in no small part to Doug Blair's amazing riffing, which continually changes in the course of the song and offers plenty to keep you coming back again and again.The rest of the album is not quite as interesting as the first half, but it can still stand proudly. The quality of the first half is so high that from a point on it really doesn't matter what the last few songs sound like. There is a rather unnecessary reprise of "Heaven's Hung in Black" towards the end, and finally the album closes with the same rocking attitude it started with on "Deal With the Devil".All in all, _Dominator_ is an album any artist would be proud of, let alone one that has nothing else to prove. It is supremely melodic, well executed and concise, has one of the best ballads ever written, and it also has something most other bands don't: a fucking awesome vocalist!
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