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Domino Effect

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Album Review

Like a specter of '80s rock & roll coming back to haunt you, Swiss veterans Gotthard keep teasing their hair, waxing their leather chaps, and pumping out glossy, commercial heavy rock as though the '90s and grunge never even happened. To each his own, though, and 2007's refreshingly unapologetic Domino Effect (the group's ninth studio platter) taps into the familiar qualities of the Euro-metal circa 1988 (not quite as fluffy as the American glam set, nor as high energy or hysterical as fast-rising power metal), when dinosaurs like the Scorpions, Sinner, and Krokus (whose bassist actually produced Gotthard's early efforts) roamed the landscape unchallenged. On Domino Effect, Gotthard sounds perfectly at ease whether they are uncorking darker, heavier offerings like "Gone Too Far" and "The Cruiser" (which recall glory period Savatage); finely crafted power ballads like "Falling," "The Call," "Tomorrow's Just Begun," and "Letter to a Friend" (which they have no qualms about sequencing back to back!); or more rhythmic, arena-suited anthems like the title track, "Heal Me," and "Come Alive," which remind us of Bon Jovi in their prime. In retrospect, Gotthard's forceful delivery amid abundant melodicism feels like the natural progression of AOR, with guitars and keyboards sharing almost equal space behind the raspy vocals of frontman Steve Lee on most of the above, plus standouts like "Master of Illusion," "Now," and the clever "The Oscar Goes To..." Closing number "Where Is Love When It's Gone" finally pushes the pop envelope a tad too far, but with a generous 14 cuts to choose from, Gotthard will surely get plenty of understanding from all fans of accessible (if dated) heavy rock. [U.S. versions of Domino Effect packed an additional five bonus cuts, including two sung in Spanish.]


Formed: 1992 in Lugano, Switzerland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Gotthard, a Swiss hard rock band that sings in English, are one of the most successful musical acts ever to arise from Switzerland. Gotthard sold over two million albums worldwide, one million of them sold in Switzerland alone (a country of less than eight million inhabitants, keep in mind), as practically all of the band's albums were Swiss chart-toppers. Gotthard were also popular in Germany, where the band's albums regularly charted. Formed in Lugano, a town in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino...
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Domino Effect, Gotthard
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