The Death of a WARLOCK Brings the Birth of a Metal Goddess
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Way back in 1987 I was a fourteen-year-old kid starting to discover the pleasing sounds of non-radio played rock, usually introduced to us by my friend’s older brother. We ate it up each time he would give us a new record or cassette to check out, bands that we’d never heard of, records often filled with fear invoking images, we liked the shock factor. When Warlock’s Triumph & Agony was left in the living room one day, the cover artwork immediately had us intrigued with the fantasy artwork of a warlock holding a blonde, leather-clad vixen from behind. We grabbed it off the table and shot downstairs to the record player, spending the next forty minutes studying the cover art, liner notes and listening intently to the LP cover to cover, repeating our ritual several times!
Hailing from Germany, Warlock was fronted by former model Dorothee Pesch, better known under the moniker of Doro. Unlike much of the other female fronted rock, this band was loud and harsh with lyrics concerning sorcery, witches and demons rather than love, romance and sex.
Forming in 1983 and citing influences such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and fellow Germans, Accept, Warlock released four albums. One each year starting with Burning the Witches in 1984, Hellbound in 1985, True as Steel in 1986 and ending in 1987 with their most commercially successful offering, Triumph & Agony. Recorded at Powerstation Studios in New York with American producer Joey Balin at the helm, Triumph was unleashed in September 1987 and became their best-selling album, hitting gold in Germany and climbing to #80 on the Billboard 200 album chart in the U.S. Videos were made for “All We Are” and “Fur Immer”. With both receiving regular airplay on MTV, the German metal queen hit the road as a supporting act for Dio across Europe before embarking on their first U.S. tour supporting Megadeth.
The album opens up with the aforementioned “All We Are”; a pounding rhythmic rock anthem that will have your fist in the air before rolling into the faster tempo “Three Minute Warning” which has Doro’s raspy vocals biting into your ears. Track three dials it down a small notch with “I Rule the Ruins”, showcasing a melodic rhythmic chorus and has been rumoured to have been written about Doro’s bedroom prowess. Howling wolves greet the listener at the start of the fantasy flavoured “Kiss of Death” before sliding into the ballad “Make Time for Love” and then ramping up again for the warlike chorus of “East Meets West” and “Touch of Evil”. “Dance demons, lose control, this is a metal tango” proclaims the rock goddess on the catchy “Metal Tango”, before thundering into “Cold, Cold World”. Closing out the record is the other track that spawned a video, the heart-wrenching (even if I don’t understand it) German vocal ballad “Fur Immer”.
Having played the Monsters of Rock metal festival at Castle Donnington in 1986, the first female to do so and with the success of the Triumph & Agony record on both sides of the water, Warlock should have been a household name. Sadly, 1988 saw Pesch being the only original band member and the only German left in the band; the next album was released as Doro and Warlock was left behind.
Basing herself in New York, the German Metal Queen from Dusseldorf toned down the gothic fantasy metal as a solo artist for a more mainstream approach. Her second solo offer was produced by the legendary Gene Simmons of KISS, but still failed to receive the desired reception and was the last release available domestically in North America until 2000’s Call of the Wild, even though she had recorded five albums in between. When the grunge explosion caused the 80’s style of metal to fall from favour, Doro soldiered on continuing to record and kept a small, but loyal following. She has often recorded cover songs including Billy Idol’s “White Wedding”, Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”, Heart’s “Barracuda” and Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” and duets with UDO, Motorhead, Tarja Turunen of Nightwish, Saxon and The Scorpions. With a back catalogue of 11 studio albums and many live and compilation CD’s along with at least six DVD releases, the three and a half hour epic 25th-anniversary concert from 2008 was finally released in 2010. The aptly titled 25 Years in Rock…and Still Going Strong features many special guests celebrating her career in Dusseldorf, Germany.
After almost thirty years in the music business, Doro shows no signs of slowing down with a tour of Europe late this year, rocking on both the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise in January and The Full Metal Cruise in May and already booked for Wacken Open-Air Festival in 2013. Her latest single “Raise Your Fist in the Air”, out on August 03, 2012, is available at Amazon and I-tunes and features four tracks from the forthcoming CD of the same name due in October. Check out the video for “Raise Your Fist in the Air” below and while it’s not quite the Warlock of the 80’s, Doro will once again have you raising your fist in the air!
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