Posts Tagged ‘Heavy Metal’

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Doro Pesch! 25 Years of the Warlock

November 4, 2010

Not that I like to brag, but Doro Pesch called me this afternoon. I’d missed her at Bloodstock because my phone decided it had better things to do other than work. Nevertheless, here we are on a gloomy November afternoon to have a chat.

“We’ve been going 27 years and it’s the first time you’ve seen us?” asks Doro, as we get straight down to business and talk about the tour. I probably shouldn’t mention the fact that I was born in 1986. “We’ve just come back from Japan, we had an amazing time and it’s such a great place to go and visit. We’ll be about again around Christmas time with Motorhead in Europe, but not England sadly”

The 25th Anniversary show took place in December 2008, in Dusseldorf. The new DVD, 25 Years in Rock hits shelves at the end of the month which includes a three hour concert with guest appearances from someone of the many high-fliers Doro has worked with over the years; “There are so  many of my friends on there who made this night very special for me! I asked Klaus Meine (of Scorpions) if he could do it and he said he’d look in his schedule but I didn’t hear back so I assumed he couldn’t do it. But I was so happy when he said he could! There are so many other great people too, Tarja Turunen, Bobbi Blitz, Warrel Dane. We met him when we toured with Megadeth and Sanctuary in the US back in the 1980s”.

Admitting to having sixteen records over four decades, there is a wealth of material to draw on for live shows, including the experimental albums in the 90s, foraying into experimental and rockier territory. “When we only have a sixty minute festival show, it’s really hard to sometimes pick the ones you want to do, so we go for the really big songs like All We Are and Burning The Witches. We love playing these songs so much, even when we came to England in 1986 on the True As Steel tour and played Castle Donington, we never get tired of playing these songs. And the newer stuff is a lot heavier so we can play that. It’s what most fans want to hear, and we do it for them!” Mentioning the eighties, I bring up the jump of model career to being a metal queen. “That never happened! People keep saying this and it’s on the DVD cover I think too, but I was never a model. No, I started singing when I was three years old and I loved it! I eventually got into a band called Snakebite in 1980 and then I eventually joined Warlock and we got a deal with a Belgian record label to release Burning The Witches. It was very strange, there was no metal press in Germany really. The UK had Kerrang, but the only real thing in Germany was stuff that people were photocopying and handwriting, and it wasn’t until a few years later when in 1986 we suddenly had a succesful album. I was a graphic artist, and told my boss I was quitting and he said I was mad! But that year we went on tour with my favourite band, Judas Priest. It’s all I’ve ever want to do, since I was three!”

“When I first began singing in metal, there was already many women singing in rock and metal bands at the time. My absolute favourite was Jody Turner from Rock Goddess, if you remember them?” Well, I was born in 1986. “Haha, but yes they were great and many others, Lita Ford and Joan Jett. And these days there are many others doing different things like Tarja and Sabina Classen, so it wasn’t really that very different. And obviously Girlschool as well, they came and played at the 25 years show”. Interestingly, Motorhead, who are taking Doro on tour, were the only band that’d take Girlschool on tour, on account of others refusing because of the all-girl lineup. “I’m really looking forward to the tour, really sorry we’re not coming to England! I love the English fans so much and we were here last year with Saxon and we had so much fun. But no, after that we’re going to South America for a tour”.  Any news on a follow-up album? “Well, we’ve started thinking about it. We have a couple of ideas that are floating around and we know what we want…some really heavy songs, then some dark gothic ballads, like what we’ve done before.”

But as for current events, it’s no secret that First Lady of heavy metal is thrilled about her upcoming release. “It’s out November 26th and it has so many great things on. We played for three hours and then there’s a documentary and interviews with some of my great friends saying so many wonderful things. Have you seen it yet? No? Well, you should because it’s really great. I love the artwork as well, it’s by an Englishman who lives in France called [someone tell me his name, I didn’t catch it!] and he did this great artwork for the music. When we did the orchestral album we had a very simple black and white photo that was really suited to the music, but this new cover is just what the music needs!”

So, there we have it folks. Doro Pesch, the undisputed queen of metal is still going strong after nearly thirty years. Look at it this way, you can tour the world and make awesome albums, but a door to door salesman will still come and interrupt your interviews.

Twaddlefish

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Symphorce – Unrestricted

October 18, 2010

I remember being somewhat ambivalent at Symphorces previous album, Become Death when it arrived through my letterbox sometime in 2007. I’m a Brainstorm fan, Anthony B. Franck bringing some much needed balls to power metal, so it always eluded me why another band that would, in essence, sound like Brainstorm was needed.

Well thankfully, Unrestricted isn’t a Brainstorm album under a different banner. While it is as unrelentingly heavy in places, it’s a much more varied affair, album opener The Eternal teasing us with a mournful piano intro before descending into some truly aggressive and catchy guitar work.Whatever Hurts follows similarly with jilted showground organs, but by this point it’s evident thatUnrestricted is nothing short of a fantastically written album with nigh on perfect execution.

Unlike previous releases, the keys do play a more prominent role, if only in intros and occasional background noise. The vast majority of the songs have slowed down to less than a breakneck pace  which have allowed for some far superior riffs, with Worlds Seem To Collide creating a groove that professional routers would be jealous of. The closer Do You Ever Wonder is by far the best thing on offer, a blend of serrated guitars and the menacing vocals of Mr Franck that nail the Symphorce sound of subtle melody with unrelenting aggression.

Unrestricted is a great album, full of catchy hooks driven by some titanic vocal pieces.  For once, I’m glad an album doesn’t try and blow my mind, but instead tries to beat it to death with a steel girder.

8/10

Twaddlefish

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Circle II Circle – Consequence of Power

October 16, 2010

As my dream of another Savatage album floats further from my grasp, I turn to Circle II Circle to provide me with another dose of Tampa-based heavy metal. 2008’s Delusions of Grandeur had some great moments, as well as being a victim of pre-emptive Death Magnetic Syndrome during the mastering process.

Through their career, Circle II Circle are one of the few bands that have devolved instead of evolving and progressing their sound. 2003’s Watching In Silence might as well have been another Savatage album, but with each passing release building up to CoP those more grandiose moments have been stripped away. While the Oliva-esque riffage is still present in Out of Nowhere, the feel of the album is firmly in good ol’ Heavymetalville. Anathema‘s delightfully crushing chorus provides one of many neck-wrecking moments accompanied by some pretty heavy and heart-rending lyrical content, something that the ‘tage family of bands manage with exceptional ease.

However, and this is a big however; CoP strays too far into background music territory. It’s not bad in the slightest, as Zak’s vocals have improved continuously over time with perhaps his best all round performance on CoP. There are some great hooks in the music with strong dynamics, Take Back Yesterday in particular, but it’s nothing we’ve not heard before from Circle II Cirlce. Including ending the album with a big ballad, which never gets old.

You could quite easily shuffle up CoP and it’s predecessor and the two would blend together seamlessly. In a way that doesn’t take anything away from CoP, it won’t be the album that gets you into the band (the honour of which goes to 2006’s Burden of Truth) but if you really like the Circle II Circle it certainly won’t lower your opinion of them.

6/10

Twaddlefish

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Accept – Blood Of The Nations

August 13, 2010

I talked to Udo Dirkschneider last summer, who seemed rather dismissive of the upcoming Accept album. In his stead the band found Mark Tornillo who has provided his lungs on this record, and what can is known as the ‘classic’ Accept lineup.

Blood of the Nations is very much an album of a band from the past who’ve discovered modern recording technology, each and every track leaps off the record sound thick and full; I always found that a lot of the live energy of metal was lost on the records of the 1980s. The opening track, Beat the Bastards is a slab of classic Accept, gigantic riffs galore and a throaty voice that you can only tell it’s not Udo because Tornillo can actually sing at more than one pitch. While not the most versatile voice you’ll ever here, he’s backed up by some titanic songwriting. It’s not  often that a song can be carried on its main riff alone, yet Rollin’ Thunder among others do so with ease. The only real flaw of an album such as this is that it’s pretty much an hour of the same thing, despite Teutonic Terror trying to mix things up a bit. Despite the obligatory ballad breaking up an otherwise barn-storming pace, BotN is classic Accept from head to toe, Pandemic and  the title track itself providing giant stadium choruses with some truly memorable riffs. It’ll never stand up to the classic Balls To The Wall or Metal Heart, but that’s a given considering how engrained to metal culture the early to mid 80s era of Accept has become.

If you liked Herman Frank’s Loyal To None, you’ll like this. While BotN isn’t going to win any awards this year, it’s a very solid effort from a band who were considered to be well past it, but destined to be forgotten by festival crowds who want to hear Balls To The Wall.

6/10

Twaddlefish