There are some bands and artists in the world of Metal that seem to manage to shrug off the pressures of trends or new musical movements. Since his departure(s) from Accept, Udo Dirkschneider has singularly refused to deviate from his own unapologetically straight ahead "Metal" path. While his ex band mates were trying to hang onto the coat tails of the likes of Whitesnake and hoping to appeal to the U.S market, the diminutive German stuck to his principles and released album after album of music that was not only reminiscent of his former band, but actually started to better their output.
Now some 22 years down the line from Udo's first solo outing Animal House, it would be fair to suggest that some things never change. Dominator continues the anthemic, riff laden journey that Udo has always believed in and once more he and his band prove that there are few out there playing music like this and to this standard. Rather than sounding, as many veteran musicians can, tired and uninspired, somehow Udo once more breathe new life into a blue print that he has faithfully followed for decades.
Tracks like "The Bogeyman", "Speed Demon", and "Dominator" don't pretend to be anything other than razor sharp guitar work outs with pummelling beats and pounding bass, however it's impossible not to get caught up in the sheer metallic frenzy. So much of what has become Power Metal was born from music like this and it's to the band's credit that they still sound urgent and committed in their delivery of these fine songs.
The main man himself is still in astounding form. Nobody else has ever created such a ragged and torn, yet powerful and concise scream as Udo and on this evidence his voice is as charismatic and dominant as ever.
As with most of U.D.O.'s recent albums there is a little more variety added in between the bludgeoning attack, with "Stillness of Time" almost coming over like an Accept style power ballad with big keyboard chords that compliment the soaring guitar and however he does it Udo coaxes a soulful if battered delivery from himself that works beautifully. "Whispers In the Dark" contains a beautiful piano refrain in the intro and Udo delivers the plaintive vocal in a manner that is reminiscent of that big Scotsman Fish, it's an interesting departure and one that is carried off with aplomb. The other slightly quirky track is "Devil's Rendezvous" which has a bouncy almost E.L.O. like quality and while it won't go down in history as Udo's finest moment does offer a welcome and clever change of pace.
Once more U.D.O. have delivered a fine Euro Metal record chock full of memorable hook laden tracks that quickly become familiar without going stale. There's fantastic musicianship throughout every song and as ever it's a pleasure to hear Udo's wail.
There is nothing new or shocking here, so if Udo hasn't appealed to you before then I would be most surprised if Dominator changed your mind, however for those of us already convinced by his talents this is a must buy.
1. The Bogeyman
3. Black And White
5. Heavy Metal Heaven
6. Doom Ride
7. Stillness Of Time
8. Devil's Rendezvous
9. Speed Demon
10. Whispers In The Dark