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More than 10 years had passed since Ms. Pesch started out her solo career with Force Majeure by the time she set about recording Calling The Wild - from the beginning, she moved away from the energetic heavy metal/rock of Warlock to follow a clearly mainstream direction, mostly making ballads and love songs. By the late-90’s, she started experimenting with alternative elements like sequenced electronic beats, synthesizer effects and other stuff from industrial metal and dance pop but results were disastrous as you can check on Machine II Machine and Love Me In Black. It seems on the following record, Doro intended to bring back the spirit of the 80’s with heavier songs, emphasizing guitar lines but still feeling tempted to do more cheesy ballads and use more drum machines, so this CD shouldn’t be thought of as this lady’s back-to-basics album.
You’ll certainly find here heavier songs than anything she did, in contrast with the previous wreck – “Kiss Me Like A Cobra” and “Dedication (I Give My Blood)” ain’t totally guitar-based but accent the presence and power of riffs, which accompany Doro’s enthusiastic vocals as usual delivering repetitive choruses and verses. Configuration of the music is straight and predictable, rarely introducing transcendental riff changes or distinct structures but simplicity is surprisingly working. “Burn It Up” follows a similar scheme, adding catchier and more persistent choruses, clearly intended to make audiences sing-along – reducing the difficulty of arrangements and the variety of song-bodies to make it accessible. Other raw tracks in the pack like “Ich Will Alles” and “Fuel” maintain a notable level of intensity with sharp riffs and up-tempos, executed with minimalism and sophistication, far from pretentious or difficult. “Now Or Never (Hope In The Darkest Hour)” and “Black Rose” are more hard rockin’ tunes with lengthier solos by those deluxe guests, with a more casual essence, less metallic and slightly bluesy though, with Ms. Pesch’s vocals sounding quite convincing and passionate. But the German rocker also plays some abysmal ballady stuff here, including that emotive Motörhead cover with Lem, plus “Give Me A Reason” and “Who You Love”, on which synthesizers and keyboards create ideal dramatic climaxes for those cheesy, romantic lyrics. “Scarred” and “Constant Danger” make no difference either from this woman’s bunch of slow, sentimental songs on the previous 2 CDs – once again plenty of verses about broken hearts, featuring simplistic instrumental basis and annoying keyboards, accompanied by electronic rhythms on “Danke” which she dedicated to her father.
50% of the CD consists on cheesy ballads, the other half are hard rockin’ tunes – this album was definitely stronger and more inspired than its disastrous predecessors, particularly more dynamic, featuring a heavier production and bigger aggression. Texture of guitars are harsher and more distorted than ever – there’s no speed metal beats though, most rhythms are quite traditional and weighty, while Doro is still focused on her usual mid-range tone without exploring no distinct pitch – therefore, despite being intended to be a rougher record, it’s still a commercially accessible attempt. Instrumental sequences are still too concise and insubstantial, simplicity reigns; most parts are vocal-based while instrumental section is predominantly supplementing verses and choruses with no effort. The solos of Slash and Pitrelli ain’t particularly spectacular or extended either, so definitely this material can’t be put in the same level of the competent Warlock stuff but for the level of Doro’s solo career standards, it’s pretty decent. She can’t help getting sentimental, showing her sensitive side on this bunch of ballads which came as no surprise – most of them reveal no distinction, grace or richness, as they nearly sound the same, following a similar, predictable pattern, including keyboard textures alike and lyrics that keep abusing of the same exhausted topics again and again. However, Ms. Pesch’s performance is passionate, honest and touching at times – she might lack inspiration, influence and potential to lead a whole band by herself but she delivers some heavenly, sweet vocals and lyrics that came from her hear, making the music unique in her own way – nothing plastic about it, no pose but she certainly repeats herself too much with no less than 7 ballads on this CD!
Doro’s sound hasn’t evolved or improved since she started her solo career in the late-80’s, it actually got even more commercial, melodic and uninventive, repeating the same schemes, taking no risks or making dangerous experiments (excluding the electronic pop on Machine II Machine, naturally). She has never possessed great song-writing abilities or ideas (back in the 80’s with Warlock it was usually Graf or Szigeti who came up with good riffs and music) but her fans will always be there and support her now that she has become more of an icon and a famous name, rather than a competent musician. Calling The Wild at least brought back on some of its titles certain fury and heaviness, without pushing away the unavoidable ballads completely.