Force Majeure

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In the 1980s, Warlock was among Germany's most exciting heavy metal bands -- which is saying a lot when you consider that Germany also produced Accept and the Scorpions. Lyrically, Warlock fell into the fantasy metal category; if you're a fan of headbangers like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Candlemass, and Ronnie James Dio, you owe it to yourself to have some Warlock albums in your collection. But when former Warlock vocalist Doro Pesch launched her solo career with 1989's Force Majeure, fantasy metal was not a high priority for the German singer. This album found the rough-voiced Doro taking more of a pop-metal approach; references to the supernatural aren't prevalent, and Force Majeure is closer to Crimes of Passion-era Pat Benatar than Warlock (although Warlock's Tommy Henriksen is employed on bass and co-wrote five of the tunes). It's also an album that Doro can be proud of; even though Force Majeure isn't quite in a class with Warlock's best releases, it is definitely a strong pop-metal/hard rock outing. Doro, who co-wrote most of the material with producer Joey Balin, is focused and assured throughout the album -- she is as passionate on driving rockers like "Angels With Dirty Faces" (which was also the title of a superb Dead End Kids movie of 1938 that starred James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart), "Under the Gun," and "Hellraiser" as she is on the haunting ballad "River of Tears." Equally strong is Doro's inspired cover of Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale," which isn't the only 1960s rock classic she embraced -- her second solo album, Doro, contains a cover of the Electric Prunes' "I Had Too Much to Dream." While Doro is generally decent, Force Majeure is more than decent -- it is excellent. In fact, Force Majeure is arguably her strongest and most essential solo album.

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