U.D.O.
"Dominator"

(AFM)

01. The Bogeyman
02. Dominator
03. Black And White
04. Infected
05. Heavy Metal Heaven
06. Doom Ride
07. Stillness Of Time
08. Devil's Rendezvous
09. Speed Demon
10. Whispers In The Dark

RATING: 7/10

Is Udo Dirkschneider the Lemmy Kilmister of German heavy metal? Not quite, as that title would probably go to SODOM's Tom Angelripper. In any event, the diminutive front man and vocalist is a German metal icon and worldwide legend that has proved his worth as a mainstay of the trad-metal scene and gone further and lasted longer than many fans would have expected since his departure from ACCEPT all those years ago. "Dominator", the follow up to the well received "Mastercutor" and the act's 12th release, is another fun and catchy demonstration of U.D.O.'s firm command of the classic heavy metal style, albeit one that offers the occasional wrinkle.

Riff-driven with an in-the-pocket rhythm section, on tracks like "The Bogeyman", "Black and White" (a bonus video clip for this one is also included), "Infected", "Doom Ride", the rip roaring PRIEST-style burner "Speed Demon" and the ACCEPT-like title track seek to induce fist-pumps and head-bangs, while making the choruses basic enough to rope in even the most stoic fan. Of that particular bunch, the title track and "Speed Demon" stand out, regardless of the spotlight being focused on "Black and White" by, presumably, the label folks. As cheesy as "Heavy Metal Heaven" may come off to some, it is an accepted and beloved brand of cheese, its giant chorus one best suited to a drunken festival crowd at that point in the show when Udo utters the "Sing it!" command. While not destined for inclusion in the big book of great heavy metal songs, all of these cuts are satisfying at the very least. A couple of robust, keyboard-laced power ballads in "Stillness of Time" and "Whispers in the Dark" — the latter more of a straight ballad, the former boasting more muscle — are done in tried and true Euro-metal form and fit well within the overall scheme. "Devil's Rendezvous" is the proverbial monkey wrench for its toe-tapping and finger-snapping swing (literally); it may very well be the album's most memorable track.

It is heartening to see Dirkschneider continuing to fight the good fight and doing so with no end in sight. If you are a fan of the purer end of heavy metal (the end that is all about the riff and the song), then you'll no doubt enjoy "Dominator". As for U.D.O. fans, this one is a no-brainer.

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