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Music Review: Doro – Calling The Wild / Fight reissues

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It's longer ago than either of us will care to admit, but I first saw the German Queen of Metal, Dorothea Pesch, back when she was still in Warlock, supporting Whitesnake if memory serves, way back in the eighties. If you'd asked me then to fast forward 25 years, and guess who would be supporting British metal legends Saxon on their UK tour a couple of years back, I would never, ever have guessed that it would be Doro who'd survived when so many other metal acts had fallen.

But survived she has, and after Warlock fell apart after their fourth album, Triumph And Agony in 1987, she set off on a solo career that has spanned three decades, ten studio albums, a couple of live records and a handful of compilations. She's collaborated with the likes of Saxon, Tarja Turunen, Scorpions, Udo Dirkschneider, Twisted Sister, and Lemmy, and, after all this time, Ms Pesch's most recent studio album Fear No Evil was one of her best.

She operates in fairly straight down the middle classic heavy metal, rarely straying from the early eighties template that made her name, and while she's not the best technical singer around, you can always tell when you're listening to Doro perform. She's toured relentlessly throughout the years, and 2010 will see her perform a special gig in Dussldorf to celebrate her 2,500th show.

This is also the year that her old record label, SPV, have seen fit to re-release a couple of her old albums. Now that may be connected to their well documented financial problems over the last year or so, but at least they've went all out with the reissues, rather than stick out a quick cash in. The Calling The Wild album first came out in 2000, and sees an array of guest stars appearing alongside Doro. So you'll find Lemmy from Motorhead, Savatage / Megadeth guitarist Al Pitrelli, Kiss / Alice Cooper drummer Eric Singe,r and Guns n' Roses axeman Slash popping in here and there. It's a lavish 2 CD digipak production with lyrics, liner notes and a multitude of bonus tracks. It's also one of her best albums, and songs like "Who You Love", "Scarred" and her cover of the Motorhead classic "Love Me Forever" are essential. Quite whether the world needs the six extra versions of "Burn It Up" that appear amongst the eleven bonus tracks on the second CD is debatable, but the acoustic tracks and her duet on "Alone Again" with Lemmy are fabulous.

Fight came out in 2002, and became a German classic when the title song was adopted as the anthem of 13 time female world boxing champion Regina Halmich. Strange to say, though, it's an album where the ballads and downbeat songs are the winners, with "Undying" and "Descent", the latter a duet with Type O Negative frontman Pete Steele, particularly fine. AOR legend Jean Beavoir pitches in with a couple of songs, and there are also songwriting contributions from Gene Simmons and Russ Ballard. It's quite a schizophrenic record, but I've always had a soft spot for it. This one is only a single CD, albeit it in digipak style, but still finds room for five bonus tracks including an acoustic take on Judas Priest's "Breaking The Law".

If you don't have these, and have a yearning for heavy metal the old school way, then they come heartily recommended. If I had to pick one, then I'd actual, surprisingly, go for Fight, which is aging particularly well, but it's a close call.

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About Stuart A Hamilton