Dominator rocks like a beast... and a message!
Dominator is Blackie's latest offering, number eighteen to bear the W.A.S.P. name (live stuff/best of's included) and comes hot on the heels of their recent The Crimson Idol tour. Covering a fair bit of ground, with nods to past efforts which is welcome for an 'old stuff' fan, some claim it sounds like The Neon God Pt 1 (and I'll take their word for it) but I hear classic W.A.S.P. here and it warms this blackened heart.
Opener Mercy is somewhat restrained, Blackie's voice maintaining a lower register than in the past, though as with most W.A.S.P. tracks, it's memorable and serves well to kick things off. Long, Long Way To Go has a great Motorhead feel that opens up in the chorus in true W.A.S.P. form. Next up is Take Me Up, a track that was introduced to the fans on the recent tour and kind of went over my head at the time (I wanted to hear more older material), but the moment the chorus drops here I remembered it as if it were a classic.
The Burning Man rocks hard like tunes of old, a sweet pre-chorus of “Run, Run ... Daddy's got a Shotgun” is one highlight in an already great track. Heaven's Hung In Black (partnered by the brief Heaven's Hung In Black [Reprise] three tracks later) to me signals a purposeful nod to The Crimson Idol days. Recurring melodies and vocal lines in both tracks, in essence, hark back to what is arguably Blackie's finest and most engaging recording. I even mused to a mate that this track would have made a great Johnny Cash track, not unlike Hurt.
Heaven's Blessed starts out light and then opens up into a riff that summons images of riding a Harley through the U.S.A. badlands, vultures flying overhead of course. Teacher follows and again harks back to the classic sound. Seeing the album out is Deal With The Devil, a 12 bar bluesy jam that rocks like a modern day Blind In Texas and ends with a G'n'R Paradise City-like rock out to finish off.
Blackie states the lyrics may read like a man talking to a woman, but in actuality were written as a powerful nation talking down to a weaker one. This all derives from his six year turn around from a strong sense of U.S.A. pride post Sept. 11th to one of disgust and shame at how his Government treats others and their own. The bungled War, the distasteful aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the shameful way G.W. Bush has yeehawed his way through his time as President were all fuel for the fire (or ire). Without doubt this anger fueled the writing of Dominator and the result is an album that absolutely stacks up against the W.A.S.P. classics.
(Demolition Records/Riot! Entertainment)