Doro: Fight

Adrien Begrand



Label: SPV
US Release Date: 2002-09-24
UK Release Date: 2002-08-19

If you grew up with metal music back in the mid-'80s, you sure as heck know who Doro Pesch is. Around 1986, there were very few women who dared to crash the metal fraternity. Yeah, there were people like Lita Ford and the poodle-headed quartet Vixen, but extremely few ladies playing the really heavy stuff. Straight out of Germany, however, came Warlock, with the young, petite, blonde, leather-clad, leather-throated little number named Doro at the helm, and the jaws of 15-year-old metalheads everywhere dropped to the floor. There she was on the band's album covers, looking like a Teutonic goddess you'd see airbrushed on a customized Econoline. And she could really sing, too; it was enough to send teenaged hearts reeling and mouths drooling. Warlock scored a couple of very minor hits in the form of "Fight for Rock" and "All We Are", but soon dropped off the radar of most metal fans. Pesch tried to valiantly keep things going with a solo project late that decade, but after her abysmal cover of Procul Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale", off her solo debut Force Majeure, most kids in North America stopped caring altogether.

Until a couple of years ago, most of us who remember Warlock had no idea Doro was still plugging away in Europe with her own band. Her 2000 album Calling the Wild was a rather impressive comeback, her first American release in a decade (which featured a cool cover of Billy Idol's "White Wedding"), and with the release of her latest, entitled Fight, she now has a total of 12 studio albums under her belt (four with Warlock, eight solo releases) since 1983. Not bad at all, especially for someone who isn't even forty yet. And she still looks, and more importantly, sounds great.

Like her good friend, Motorhead head honcho Lemmy Kilminster, Doro is content to continue churning out the same, aggressive, heavy, yet very melodic metal, and when you compare Fight to those early Warlock releases, there's very little difference in their sounds. Like Motorhead, like Halford, and like Ronnie James Dio, Doro is always at her best when delivering those chuggin', fist-pumping anthems, and as corny as they may seem today, especially among all the current nu-metal kids so full of self-loathing, these songs are a pleasure to hear. Pesch is in fine form on the album's churning title track, showing she still has great range in her voice, from subtle crooning, to upper registers, to the guttural howl of the chorus. Faster numbers like "Always Live to Win", "Chained", and the propulsive "Sister Darkness" recycle those now-ancient metal formulae, from the staccato guitar picking, to the us-against-them lyrics, to the rave-up choruses, but their total lack of irony make them great fun. The Spanish-language "Salvaje" ("savage") combines those elements the most perfectly, managing to still sound fresh and passionate.

The rest of Fight is up and down. The ludicrous "Rock before You Bleed" is all the aforementioned metal clichés at their most lazily executed, while the tuned-way-down heaviness of "Descent" is an intriguing duet between Doro and Type O Negative gothmeister Pete Steele, with Pesch's powerful voice swirling around Steele's mournful cries. "Legends Never Die" is a cover of a song by the late, one-of-a-kind Wendy O. Williams, and is produced by Gene Simmons of Kiss, who produced the original Williams version nearly two decades ago. And what old-school metal album would be complete without an epic, highly theatrical power ballad, and there are more than a few on the album. "Wild Heart" and "Undying" work well enough, but by the time you get to the anti-war dirge "Fight by Your Side" and the sung-in-German "Hoffnung" ("hope"), they begin to sound too maudlin, and you mind starts to wander.

The production on Fight is much more raw than Calling the Wild, and while the absence of overdubs and the live feel of the record works at times, the polish of Doro's previous album is missed, especially on the ballads, which tend to sound too muddy on the new record. It has its share of good moments as well as forgettable ones, but Fight is worthy of a marginal recommendation. It's great to see Doro still doing her thing after all these years and sounding terrific in the meantime. You keep fightin' for rock, Doro.





The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.


The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.


Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.


'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.


'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"


Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.


The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".


GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".


Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".


Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.


Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.


The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".


Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.


Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.