Domain - 1989 Before The Storm

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ARTIST: Domain
ALBUM: Before The Storm
LABEL: Frontrow
SERIAL: 246290-2
YEAR: 1989

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Bernd Kolbe - vocals, bass * Axel 'Ironfinger' Ritt, Cliff Jackson - guitars, backing vocals * Volker Sassenberg - keyboards, backing vocals * Thorsten Preker - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Caught In The Flame * 02 Beg Steal Or Borrow * 03 I Don't Wanna Die * 04 Edge Of The Knife * 05 Keep Running * 06 Hideaway * 07 All For One * 08 Lost Without Trace * 09 Harden My Heart * 10 I Can See The Light * 11 Hearts Of Stone

WEBLINKS: Site Link

Background

The next 'D' band on my review agenda are German melodic rockers Domain. I still have yet to complete my traverse through the Demon discography yet, so you may see a mixture of both bands coming through the system in the coming days and weeks.

Domain have been around for many years, and have had numerous line-ups since their 1988 formation, or re-formation as it were. The band started off as Kingdom back in 1985, releasing one album under that monicker: 1987's 'Lost In The City'.

The membership of Kingdom came from 70's hard rockers Epitaph, where guys like Cliff Jackson and Bernd Kolbe were the forebears.

They changed names to Domain in 1988 for their debut 'Our Kingdom', which was really just a repeat of 'Lost In The City'.

Things got interesting for 1989's 'Before The Storm', a year in which a glut of German acts jumped on the melodic rock band-wagon, including these guys.

There's a heap of pompous keyboards on 'Before The Storm', and they compare favourably with the likes of Czakan, Rescue and Craaft.

The Songs

'Caught In The Flame' is as good a place to start, the keyboard introduction giving this a Syndia and/or Rescue feel, and that for me, is a compelling entrance in itself. The song itself is smooth, but strong and muscular as well. The chorus is very German, and the synth work is very cool.

'Beg Steal Or Borrow' moves into hard rock territory with keyboards as an accompaniment mostly. A strident tune with a hard pumping bass, a solid effort throughout.

Listening to 'I Don't Wanna Die' reminded me of early Treat, which can only be a good thing right? Others might hear it differently, but there's no denying that Germany came ever so close to Sweden in the melodic rock stakes!

'Edge Of The Knife' runs a very thin line to balladry perfection; quite how this band missed most people's radars in 1989 remains a mystery. This track puts The Scorpions to the death-deck.

'Keep Running' has a cascading introduction, before being set loose as only the best melodic rockers are prone to do. There's lots of kick-ass guitar-work and tricky keyboard work too.

'Hideaway' is just excellence personified, it chugs away beautifully, with some tasteful keyboards operating in the background, and some big booming snare-shots to boot. Great!

'All For One' has some great riffs on this track, and is typical goose-bump oriented hard rock of the era.

'Lost Without Trace' is a gorgeous AOR ballad that bands like Treat and Bad Habit had a mortgage on back in the day, but of course, everybody forgot about Domain's contribution to the genre. Check it out, it's a beaut!

'Harden My Heart' is pumping hard rock, reminding me of the late Gary Moore in places. Think 'Out In The Fields' as a comparison.

If you love bands like Javan or Rescue (magnificent German bands in their own right), then 'I Can See The Light' will be right up your alley. Domain are the long forgotten pomp gods believe you me! Keyboards are everywhere on the pompous 'Heart Of Stone'. Pick the eyes out of this one folks. There's touches of prog, pomp and AOR all wrapped up in one. Some of you should be wetting yourselves!

In Summary

Though Domain later moved into power metal territory, the first few albums between the 1988 and 1991 era are worthy of your attention, and we'll eventually cover as many albums as we can.

In the meantime, pick up 'Our Kingdom' and 'Before The Storm' and discover a hidden jewel from the German melodic rock era. Your credit card will conveniently turn a blind eye, that you are assured!


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Comments

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    Excellent album!
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    CandymanCandyman Australia
    That's scary. I'm listening to Kingdom's Lost In The City at the moment and started to read this article while I was listening to it. Love that album. Never heard of Domain till now and I'll need to check these albums out...now.
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    dtabachndtabachn Buenos Aires, Argentina
    edited July 2020
    This is the kind of comments I love to read, 'cause I also discovered Domain thanks to GDM.

    The first Kingdom-Domain album and this one are equally great to me, I usually have to listen to one after the other.
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    EmdaEmda Odenwald / Germany
    Thats the kind of comment I love to read also. I discovered them in the late 80´s among many other great bands at that time Skagarack, Kingdom Come, Strangeways, Giant, Europe, etc. just to name a few. Domain were and still are virtually unheard, a nice little gem that fits well in your beloved record collection. And the great thing is the CD is relatively easy to get on the well-known platforms ebay, medimops or rebuy. I go back to these first two Domain CD´s on a regulary basis. Maybe the best classic melodic pomp AOR band to ever come out of Germany, at least for me. Their third CD "Crack The Wall" was a step in the heavier direction, with less keyboard. The songs are great too but the magic of Domain 1 and 2 are untouchable.
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