Doro is cool. How cool is Doro? Doro is so cool she can get Lemmy to guest on a song. Singing. A duet. A power ballad duet. That’s how cool Doro is. Q.E.D.

OK, now if you don’t know who Doro is you may have mistyped ‘’ to end up here so please move on. Doro is heavy metal personified. She’s been doing this since she was a teenager and even if you don’t like her music you can’t question her love, respect and commitment to the music and to her fans. Just as important though she hasn’t really put a foot wrong since ‘Fight’ back in 2002 but her last album ‘Fear No Evil’ was, despite a couple of so so tracks, a bit of a storming album so her first for Nuclear Blast has a lot to live up to.

She kicks in the door with the title track and if there’s been a better rabble rousing opener to a traditional heavy metal album this year I haven’t heard it. It is a muscular, pounding bit of crowd pleasing metal with Doro’s great, warbling cry on top form. Following up with a fine bit of mid paced passion in ‘Coldhearted Lover’, which I swear cheekily nicks a bit of the melody line from Donna Summer’s ‘Hot Stuff’, we are bundled into the wind tunnel that is the frankly glorious ‘Rock Til Death’ which gives me genuine goosebumps with its full throat sincerity. It is just fantastic to hear the lady on this kind off form and I just hope that theUKgets to see her do this live.

Now the only downside to any Doro album of late is that you know what you will get content wise. There will probably be three too many songs and two too many ballads. First one off these is the aforementioned Lemmy song, and actually it is really rather good. It’s been an age since we have heard Lemmy sing like this and the balance of his raw, strained but emotional voice with Doro’s purer tone is an unexpected joy. And in true metal style it’s followed up with a heads down no nonsense rocker ‘Take No Prisoners’ and a huge, great swagger of a song called ‘Grab The Bull By The Horns (Last Man Standing)’ (which also features Firewind’s Gus G) for which I predict a huge singalong live.

Somewhere around this point you realise you have a big, goofy grin on your face. Halfway in and you’re headbanging like brains have gone out of fashion and even the quiet of ‘Engel’ is just there to give old wrecks like me time to get a second breath.

‘Freiheit’, ‘Little Headbanger (Nackenbrecher)’, the vicious, righteous ‘Revenge’; this album just flies by. Every one a firecracker of a song with our own diminutive valkyrie whipping up an utter storm and never having sounded so good. ‘Free My Heart’ is another ballad, but a fine, strong one that sticks in the mind nicely before the hard stomp of ‘Victory’.

We close with ‘Hero’. This is not a ballad, it’s a eulogy to someone we all loved and valued: Ronnie James Dio. You will not hear a more honest, heartfelt song all year and for the second time this album the emotional chill goes through my spine. A perfect tribute that I am sure the big man would love.

Not too many ballads, not too many songs. Wow.

For me? As a Doro fan? Best album of Ms Pesch’s career, bar none. For any fan of traditional, true as steel heavy metal? Essential. Heavy metal is about pure heart and guts, not hipster poses. Just buy the gutsiest, most heartfelt slice of metal all year. Doro, undefeated.

(9.5/10 Gizmo)