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Solid 80s speed metal meets AOR. - 84%

hells_unicorn, December 20th, 2007

This was Warlock’s 3rd release in as many years and there was little sign of them slowing down. With Doro at the helm, they put forth an interesting variation on the sleaze/glam metal sound with a fair share of Judas Priest and Accept influences to boot. They started more concentrated upon the riff oriented style the previous mentioned bands exhibited and didn’t spend too much time trying to write epic sounding ballads or lighter edged rock songs. On this release they began evolving their sound slightly away from that style and towards something a bit more mainstream.

“True as Steel” is sort of a mixture of older guard aggressive heavy metal and the glam style that was really growing in prominence at this point in the 80s. You can hear bits and pieces of Dokken, Quiet Riot, and even a little bit of early Riot (pre-Thundersteel). There is a larger emphasis on sing along choruses, much as is the case on the next release “Triumph and Agony”. It still, however, holds onto a good deal of the speed metal elements that were heard on “Burning the Witches” and the very heavy “Hellbound”. The resulting mix of styles is a very interesting listen, although I would still argue that “Hellbound” and “Triumph and Agony” are slightly better.

The album opener “Mr. Gold” has an evil low voice shouting “No Mercy!!!” before launching into some solid speed metal with Doro doing some powerful vocal work. Immediately you get the sense of a more polished approach to chorus writing when you find yourself shouting “No mercy for Mr. Gold”, definitely a great concert opener. “Fight for the Rock” is solid down tempo Judas Priest faire with some dense vocal harmony work during the chorus, definitely invoking a little bit of Don Dokken there. “Love in the Danger Zone” again has some Dokken qualities, though in the half ballad rock department. I think that Swedish glam outfit “Alien” needs to fess up that they weren’t the first to copy Dokken’s approach to this style of rock song.

Once we hit “Speed of Sound” everything goes more in a “Hellbound/Burning the Witches” direction with a good deal of high flying speed metal, but the denser chorus approach still endures even on this one. Doro consistently sings her heart out from here to the close of the album, whether it’s shouting up a storm on the keyboard rich speed metal anthem “Midnite in China” or taking it down a notch with the cheesy 80s power ballad “Love Song”. If I had to pick a best song out of the whole lot on here, it would be the title track. Something about that Deep Purple inspired main riff and that unforgettable chorus just gets me every time.

Although I’d say that you’d be better off getting “Hellbound” and their most famous collection “Triumph and Agony” first, this is basically cut from the same grain and is equally enjoyable. Some of the choruses on here can be a bit much, especially if you are not pre-disposed to liking the 80s cliché vocal harmonies popularized by Dokken and a few others from the LA sleaze scene. Doro’s vocals carry the performance on here, as is the case with her live shows, which I was lucky enough not to long ago when she came through the States. She loves what she does, and it shows in every single note that she sings.