Last Updated on 03:31 PM by Lilliana Tseka

An ad in the local ‘Express & Star’ for the drummer, another in Kerrang! in order to find a guitar player, countless auditions, uniforms reminding the Mad Max sci-fi movie, a worried manager and the singer of the sadly lost Tredegar that proves to be a hardcore Cloven Hoof fan. Lee Payne didn’t need more to create another extraordinary album. With Jon Brown standing out of 75 drummers, rather for his cooperative ethics than his technique, his dynamic playing and also his unprecedented team spirit, Payne finds a comrade for his vision. They chose the sci-fi image together and went to Heavy Metal Records owner to sign a new contract. Of course the band’s line up had not been completed yet, the guitar player and the singer were missing. Andy Wood who were selected for the guitar player position, even though he was the runner up and not the first choice (later on he was the singer of Gaskin for some time around 2005) informs the members that the singer of his old band –Tredegar, that is-, Russ North, is a huge fan and knows all the songs by heart! It should be noted that Tredegar included ex members of Budgie (they were actually created by Ray Phillips and Tony Bourge when they left Budgie), a band in which Robert Kendrick, the singer who had just left Cloven Hoof, had played, in the live-studio “Fighting Back” in 1986. Cloven Hoof found in Russ North the most appropriate person at the right time. Fans have connected his voice with the best period of the band, although this is questionable. Everybody has his own favourites and I personally find their studio albums at least until 2006 almost equally good. Their musical style went beyond the NWOBHM limits and flirted with American Power. The compositions were based on the primordial British Heavy Metal, but North’s voice and the looks to the other side of the Atlantic had refreshed and enriched the band’s sound. Don’t forget that this is 1988 and Iron Maiden are huge in both sides of the ocean and the scene had left the Island and has moved to the U.S.A. and Germany.There are melodic moments, the solos are everywhere and North sounds just splendid. Of course he was lucky to sing on some unique songs like the imposing ‘Nova Battlestar’, the absolute hymn ‘Reach For The Sky’, the multilevel title track with that distinct vibrato in the bridge, ‘Fugitive’ (Reminding Maiden’s ‘The Prisoner’ in the chorus) and ‘Road Of Eagles’ (originally written for the 1982 demo and with changed lyrics to fit the album’s concept, just for the record the initial lyrics had Medieval content). But of course through his performance these compositions shined. At the same time I have to say that I have heard many times people wondering how this album could have sounded with Bruce Dickinson singing on it. This does not undermine North’s value, rather it grows the status of the compositions themselves and mostly of their writer, Lee Payne. In “Dominator” we are listening to 4 hungry youngsters thirsty for success, excited about their new start and with a lot of trust in their material. The lyrical concept has to do with an incident that took place in 1988 that had scientists implanting a human ear on the back of a mice, something that inspired Payne to talk about the ethical issues that were clashing with science, through an allegorical story in the vein of Frankestein. They are telling the story of the Dominator, a laboratorial creation made by scientists. This genetically powerful being that eventually mutates to a bloodthirsty dictator. Dominator destroys its creators and carves an intergalactic empire with one goal: his absolute domination. The albums records the rise and fall of this being. In the cover one can observe behind the sci-fi aesthetics that the depicted figure is not of the Dominator, but of a woman. John Blance’s piece for the White Dwarf magazine resembles a lot the Heavy Metal magazine and the movie of 1980 with the same name. In the song ‘Warriors Of The Wasteland’ an ‘amazon’, who could kill the ruthless dictator and be the heroin of the story, seems to convincingly explain why her figure is taking Dominator’s place in the cover. I hope for those that haven’t already got it, to purchase it and put along the other diamonds of your collection. I would suggest the fresh rerelease of Brazilian Classic Metal Records with a 12-page booklet with lyrics and photographs, plus a live recorded medley with ‘Highlander’, ‘Road Of Eagles’, ‘Laying Down The Law’ from 2009’s Keep It True as a bonus.

Giorgos Tsekas
"Κάποτε Όταν Θα ‘χουμε Καιρό... Θα Σκεφτούμε Πάνω Στις Ιδέες Όλων Των Μεγάλων Στοχαστών, Θα Θαυμάσουμε Τους Πίνακες Όλων Των Μεγάλων Ζωγράφων, Θα Γελάσουμε Με Όλους Τους Χωρατατζήδες, Θα Φλερτάρουμε Όλες Τις Γυναίκες, Θα Διδάξουμε Όλους Τους Ανθρώπους" Μπ. Μπρεχτ
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