Review Summary: A solid heavy metal record sure to please fans of the more traditional strands of the genre.
Pretty girls can rock too. Nowadays, that is a given, with the likes of Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy), Rachel (ex-Sinister) or the chick from In This Moment validating that statement. In the 70’s, however, it was unheard of, and one of the first to prove it was one Dorothy Pesch, commonly known as Doro.
Starting her career in the 70’s, Miss Pesch attained fame and fortune in the following decade, as the leader of German heavy metal five-piece Warlock. Formed in 1982, the group attained a reasonable degree of success with their four albums, with the first and last being particularly well-known to the metal public. Triumph and Agony
is the aforementioned final opus, released in 1987 and including most of the group’s main hits, such as All We Are, I Rule The Ruins, Metal Tango
or Fur Immer
. The result is a consistent and wholly satisfying euro-metal album.
Now, no use beating around the Bush: Warlock’s main selling point were the stunning looks of frontwoman and former model Doro. However, the quintet was also quite competent in the musical aspect, with lead guitarists Niko Arvanitis and Tommy Bolan garnering particular attention for their shredding solos and huge headbanging riffs. Drummer Michael Eurich is also particularly favoured in the final mix, which boast a potent, rich drum sound. As for bassist Tommy Henriksen, he buzzes along pleasantly in the background, never demanding too much attention, but enjoying his five minutes of fame on power ballad Make Time For Love
. As for Doro…wow, what a set of pipes on this girl! Delivering a confident performance from beginning to end, the singer thoroughly impresses in a couple of moments, particularly on the otherwise drab A Touch of Evil
. The intro, backed only by the drums, and the final a capella screech are proof positive that yes, Doro is a really good singer and not just a nice body for the photos.
But good musicians are useless without good songs. Fortunately, Doro and Co deliver in this aspect as well. There is very little by way of filler on this album, and at least half of it is comprised of clear standouts and classic metal songs. The influences aren’t hard to pinpoint: local heroes Accept and Scorpions, mixed with dashes of Manowar and Riot and just a sprinkle of Europe, lead to a tasty concoction of heavy metal with a hard rock flavour, which was pretty much the norma t the time of the album’s release. The song structures themselves, while by no means reinventing the wheel, hardly ever overstay their welcome, making for a pleasant 37 minutes of classic rock’n’roll.
The two undeniably best tracks are the bookends. Fur Immer
is a hauntingly beautiful billingual ballad, sung with earnest, truthful emotion by Doro. All We Are
is an out-and-out metal anthem, reminiscent of Manowar’s Fighting The World
, and equally as catchy. Staidly completing the podium is Three Minute Warning
, a short burst of quasi-speed metal with an infectious chorus and driving, headbanging rhythm.
Among the remaining tracks, two others call our attention. Metal Tango
and East Meets West
would certainly have made the podium, if there were more than three places available in it. The first is exactly what the title implies: an oxymoronic track that mixes hard guitar riffs with a tango-ish rhythmic sway and cheesy “ole!” backing vocals. Its chorus of ”dance, demons, lose control/this is the metal, the metal tango”
may sound just a tad ridiculous – and it is – but overall the track manages to please through and through. As for East Meets West
, whose main track screams “80’S METAL!!”, it’s just a fun song, with a fist pumping chorus sure to ingrain itself in your mind.
The rest of the album pretty much manages to maintain the high standard of quality, although not every song is a standout; in this aspect, A Touch of Evil
and Cold, Cold World
aren’t worthy of licking the other tracks’ boots, although they are by no means bad songs. As noted, the first boasts an excellent vocal performance from Doro, while the latter is a pleasant but bland listen, that can be construed as perhaps the weakest point of the album.
Another gripe I have is with Miss Pesch’s lyrics. In a word, they’re childish. This was a common trait at the time, particularly with German bands, and it was indulgently passable in 1987. Over 20 years later, Doro’s tendency to use “mess”
as a rhyme for every word ending in “-est”
(“West”, “best”, “chest”
) becomes slightly grating, andverses such as ”and dropped this curse onto my head”
are somewhat laughable.
Still, these are minor nit-pickings; as a whole, this is a completely satisfying album. If you are into 80’s metal, of the über-traditional variety, you should by all means give it a listen, and then go on to discover the rest of Warlock’s and Miss Pesch’s discography. I know I did.
All We Are
Three Minute Warning
East Meets West