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Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Review: Doro (Review By Paul H)

Doro: Forever Warriors Forever United (Nuclear Blast)

Let’s start at the beginning. What an album cover. 35 years in the business and the art work remains stunning. Not only does Doro appear with the body of a 20-year-old, but she appears to have Nikki Sixx on her left shoulder, surrounded with other ‘metal’ fans on the march. Maybe it is? Who knows. Anyway, regardless, this double release to coincide with the Metal Queen’s 35th anniversary is her 20th release and for that she deserves full horns up. 29 years ago, I recall seeing the diminutive frontwoman take on the hordes at Monsters Of Rock with Warlock, opening a day that culminated in Ozzy’s headline performance and which also featured Motörhead, Scorpions and Def Leppard. (Bad News also appeared but I hated that they took the place of a proper band so that’s the end of that). Since that day, Doro has, with a drive and determination that can only admired, forged a path for traditional metal. It’s a remarkable achievement and one that many in the UK probably don’t quite understand.  The curse of being an island nation is that we often look the wrong way across the water, taking our steer from the States rather than mainland Europe, where bands such as Doro remain huge. It’s our insular approach which makes metal a minority music in comparison to some of the dirge that gets so much attention. Joining Doro on these albums are Luca Princiotta and Bas Maas on guitars, Nick Douglas on bass and Johnny Dee on drums. This the first double album the Metal Queen has released, and it is crammed full of brand new tracks which vary greatly in their style, range and delivery but all retain the vital trademark Germanic stamp.

Forever Warriors sees Doro present herself as a wild warrior, with a fistful of thumping anthems which should get the head banging. Opening track All For Metal, features amongst others, Mille Petrozza, Chuck Billy, Sabaton and the late Warrel Dane. The pace intensifies with Bastardos, firing at breakneck speed before the vicious duet with Johan Hegg on If I Can’t Have You, which shouldn’t work but somehow does. With two guest guitarists in Doug Aldrich and former Warlock man Tommy Bolan adding to the shred. The latter having contributed to 1987’s Triumph And Agony. Anthemic metal is what Doro does best, and only Saxon write better classic heavy metal in my opinion. Soldier Of Metal, Turn It Up and Blood, Sweat, Rock ‘N’ Roll all deliver in exactly the way you’d expect. 

The unexpected but impressive cover of Whitesnake’s Don’t Break My Heart Again precedes the Doro tradition of a mid-tempo track sung in German, this time Freunde Fürs Leben, which deals with a deep friendship, like Für Immer. Forever United is an emotional rollercoaster, full of anthems about life and seizing the day. The anthem to Lemmy, Living Life To The Fullest, written on the plane to legend’s funeral, will get the hardest metal head blinking back the tears, whilst the mix of hard rockers and power ballads capture the feelings perfectly. Lift Me Up and 1000 Years slow the pace, allowing Doro to deliver sensitive performances which contrast with the harder edged Resistance and Love Is A Sin. A fine cover of Motörhead’s Lost In The Ozone closes the album in poignant fashion.

It’s hard to be anything but uplifted by listening to this album. Doro believes passionately about her music; she’s stuck stoically to her path, supported by a fiercely loyal fan base (especially in her home country). At times the lyrical content may be a little on the corny side, but with such passion and heart in every track she writes, who gives a damn. A headline slot at Wacken in front of 80,000 should be unbelievable and with her headline set in the Sophie Tent at BOA now just days away, what better chance to show the Metal Queen what we really feel. 8/10

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