Gotthard - Domino Effect
Gotthard have been around for a small portion of forever...well atleast as long as the early 90s. Finally they have managed to secure a US release with "Domino Effect" and lucky for them, the dominoes seem to have fallen in all the right places. This is a monster of a hard rock album, that is honed to a definite melodic edge. Gotthard has been known for their Whitesnake-like bluesy rockers and thumping anthems and "Domino" takes a methodical blend of their past and whips it up into the sound of their future. The choruses soar, the hooks are insanity inducing infectious and the guitars are blasting thick riffage over the assortment of fourteen tracks. That may seem like overkill to some, but most of these songs deserve their time in the sun. One or two could have been shaved down for a cleaner, leaner running order, but still the disc clocks in at just under an hour as it is.

Getting the party started are twin crankers "Master of Illusion" which experiments on a heavier slab of riffage and "Gone Too Far" that rocks out with style and finesse. You get the instantly fantastic "The Oscar Goes To..." that is excitably danceable, finding infectious hooks for the bridge and then winging smoothly through a vibrant and poisonous chorus. It's whipcrack excellence, relishing in the pop side and rolling in the glory of violin that hits in precision aimed waves. The stringy, hyperactive guitar is the perfect finishing addition that lets the song just "pop". For the moody and atmospheric, comes "Falling" where the search for the ultimate love is futile...because its been found, thrown in the face and then lost forever. A brooding song that lets us see every single inch of its cracked, broken and bruised soul. The ones who have tasted heaven and had it denied, are the ones that are forever searching for that special miracle that can never be obtained again. That's why a soulmate is referred to as a "once in a lifetime" connection, and polished yet aching gems like this are born from those hope deprived ashes. "The Call" is a true ballad tearjerker and the first single. What a tug at the heart strings, lonesome guitar leaving drops of gently laid solos and harmonies in its wake. The darker guitar tones make the title track a thriller of a piece that leaves you empty, wasted of all emotion.

Gathering thoughts back together to kick the disc back into gear comes another uptempo piece that is maddeningly addictive. Crack has nothing on this track. Crazy synth and wicked hard guitars dominate the deliciously dark hard rocker "The Cruisier (Judgement Day)". The thick atmosphere is perfect for the clean slicing riffs and warped pounding synth twisting serpentine in the backdrop. "Heal Me" is another upbeat rocker, this one bouncing riffs off of each other for some nice reverb and an aggressive in-your-face bass line that rumbles through the song like a constant wave of thunder. The midsection lets it just ride smoothly keeping a steady level of intensity before the hunger craves it even higher. "Letter to a Friend" is an open plea to a friend who is wasting their life by flushing it straight down the proverbial toliet. It's a plea for considered redemption, to turn the tide, before its too late. You can hear the concern and honesty in the lyrics and feel it reverberating in the music. Some Whitesnake-like touches can be glimpsed here, especially a very Sykes-like guitar delivery and the big theatrics of Whitesnake's late 80s material, the dramatic violin flourishes such as in WS's "Judgment Day".

Wild daring electric guitars clash with the acoustic noodling that mixes the moods up here for "Tomorrow's Just Begun", and bounces it higher for the chorus. The acoustic is very reminiscent of Bon Jovi's 80s stripped down stuff like "Wanted Dead or Alive". For some reason, despite the reflective intelligent lyrical material, the song itself comes off a little flat. In great contrast to "Tomorrow" is the pulse throbbing "Come Alive" that gallops out of the gate with its pummeling bass walloping a steady thumping rhythm through your head and the sexually sizzling chorus that rises like steam off of too-hot flesh and mixes grooves lasciviously with the strangely blood coaxing effects that keep the heart thumping rapidly against your ribs.

Wah pedal action is extensively used for "Bad to the Bone", think Motley Crue's "Kickstart My Heart" kind of sound. This warbles and squeals alongside a driving percussion that devours the spirit of the song and spits it back out in sassy attitude. Typical rocker in 80s fashion but despite being a bit too familiar, it still rocks out. "Now" continues the album's decline as it slides into a decent finish. An uptempo pounder, it feels like Gotthard of old, sassy and swaggering, roaring with attitude. These twin back-to-back rockers fade from memory fast and leave few lasting effects on the listener, very unlike the opening of the disc, where it seemed no song could do any wrong and each could get stuck in your head for days. These two just don't possess that kind of lasting power. For the final closure is a big ballad, lush and lovely, brimming in a sea of sentimentality and wrestling with that age-old disaster of a romance long gone. "Where Is Love When Its Gone" asks its probing question with aplomb and fades out in a shower of crystal sounds, spraying across the weathered, lonely atmosphere like stardust sprinkled over the galaxy's deep blue.

"Domino Effect" is a great collection of tunes and some of the best that Gotthard have gathered together in years. As good as "Lipservice" and "Human Zoo" were, neither could hold a candle to this latest offering. "Lipservice" was more commercial, but the variety on "Domino" gives it a bit of an edge over the past few Gotthard efforts. Bouncy rock pop tunes, moody rockers, big ballads, heavy tough metallic tracks - nothing has been left out. Add in a fantastic vocal performance from Steve Lee and a darker twist to the guitar work and you have one helluvah of an album that is guaranteed to please old fans and find new ones alike. There's a reason Gotthard is absolutely huge in Switzerland and hopefully now with a US release to back up such a powerhouse album, they will find an even wider audience and the universal critical claim they so deserve. After nine studio discs, these guys certainly have earned it.

Written by Alanna
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
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RevelationZ Comments

Comment by VonSeux (Anonymous) - Sunday, August 12, 2007
The Oscar Goes To You is one of the best songs of the year. =D

Comment by tarja lover (Anonymous) - Sunday, September 16, 2007
great cd, great band ,cant wait to see them live in November

Review by Alanna

Released by
Nuclear Blast - 2007

1. Master Of Illusion
2. Gone Too Far
3. Domino Effect
4. Falling
5. The Call
6. The Oscar Goes To You
7. The Cruiser
8. Heal Me
9. Letter To A Friend
10. Tomorrow's Just Begun
11. Come Alive
12. Bad To The Bone
13. Now
14. Where's Love When It's Gone

Supplied by VME

Hard Rock

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Gotthard - Official Website

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