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Supposedly the fifth Warlock album, “Force Majeure” is not only the debut of Doro Pesch’s solo career, but also the beginning of how her next few albums would start to sound. “Force Majeure” is a lot different than Warlock’s last release “Triumph and Agony”. While’s it very fitting for the time period, if this was released under the Warlock banner it probably would not of been as well received. To be fair “Triumph and Agony” is an amazing album and anything that was to come after it was going to be looked at under a microscope. That aside, it’s unfair to compare “Force Majeure” to Doro’s former band, because once Doro went under her own name, she had the freedom to do what she wanted with the two bands now being separate entities.
At this time Doro was not just a solo project, as the other members of the band were integral and instrumental in creating the backdrop for Doro’s angelic metal goddess voice. The next couple of releases “Doro” and “True At Heart” were much more along the lines of solo efforts as a variety of musicians contributed to the album making process. The debut is still at its very core a band working together to make some kick ass heavy metal. The more you listen to metal, you can start pinpointing certain time frames. This album fits the late 80's early 90's period of what pop oriented hard rock/metal primarily sounded like. The difference between Doro and the rest of the bands who played this kind of pop oriented metal, is that Doro has always knocked it out the park and feels genuine playing it.
It goes without saying, Doro herself is an amazing singer and can literally do no wrong. To comment on it is just trying to reiterate the same thing over and over in more elaborate ways. The guitar work from a young Jon Levin is outstanding. The solos in particular rival most Warlock solos and it’s a shame he didn’t continue to play alongside Doro for a few more years after this release. Tommy Henrikson was the only member who played on “Triumph and Agony” to follow Doro into the new frontier. His bass playing gives the album an overall consistency and rhythm which allows Bobby Rondinelli and Levin the freedom to go crazy. A lot of the songs have a strong bass presence, which supplies a lot of energy for the album.
For those looking for the more Warlock sounding songs, you can get your fill with ‘I Am What I Am’, ‘Under The Gun’ and ‘Angels With Dirty Faces’. The rest of the album is weaved with a lot of lighter sounding ballads and hard rock/metal rockers that depart from the Warlock sound of old and could be characterized as Doro’s new sound on the musical end. ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ begins the album and is good example of what’s to come for the rest of the album. I always thought it was an odd choice to start the album, and as of recently, seeing that it’s a cover I find it more peculiar. The fact it’s also very angelic and light sounding also adds to that feeling.
Overall, it is Doro herself who is driving the album with her voice. The album is great and if you’ve listened to only Warlock and you are thinking of giving Doro’s solo stuff a shot, start here, as it sets the tone for what is later to come.
After parting ways with her former compatriots in Warlock, Doro elected to take the road that most travel and kept on making fun Judas Priest styled 80s heavy metal in the same fashion that she’d already been doing. The differences between this album and “Triumph And Agony” are pretty minor, mostly manifesting in a greater helping of fanfare rock songs as opposed to the speed metal that was heard on earlier Warlock releases, and a larger emphasis on guitar solos and the chops of the extremely talented woman fronting this outfit.
Doro’s work has usually been fairly radio friendly both in its sheer simplicity and duration, but it works well for her in most instances because the few ideas that get put into the songs are always good ones. Even semi-ballad intros to songs like “Mission Of Mercy” and “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” or all out power ballads like “River Of Tears”, all of which feature fairly standard ideas, work well as they give Doro the chance to put the focus completely on her voice and unload the endless stream of passion from her vocal chords onto the ears of the listener.
While this isn’t quite the amazing feat of Metal energy that “Hellbound” was, or the extremely consistent balance of attitude and accessibility that “Triumph And Agony” was, it is basically equal in quality and staying power as any release that Warlock may have put out. When you hear faster rockers like “World Gone Wild” and “I Am What I Am” or the dark Black Sabbath meets AC/DC heaviness of “Hellraiser” you can’t help but bring your head up and down multiple times at varying speeds while throwing the horns in the air like your at a Manowar concert.
If I had to pick a favorite or a truly kick ass song on here that really stands out from the rest it would definitely be the speed metal frenzy “Under The Gun”, mostly because it’s right out of the Warlock playbook and rocks out with the best of what was heard on “Hellbound”. In many respects it’s comparable to one of Accept’s faster songs in terms of riff approach and pacing, although Doro’s vocal interpretation is very different, though just about as aggressive as what Udo is known for.
If you are a fan of the German variety of heavy metal with a good healthy dose of Judas Priest to boot, this is a good purchase to complement your collection of Warlock albums. It basically is a Warlock album with a couple different instrumentalists standing in for the ones that were on previous releases. Doro is known for her consistency and loyalty to her Metal principles, baring maybe one or two misguided experiments in the mid-90s, but such things even happened to the likes of Rob Halford so it’s completely forgivable. Whether you be a metal veteran and a newcomer; the spirit of the 80s lives on through this album.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on November 29, 2008.