Doro is a woman who needs no long winded introductions. Whether you are a fan of her or not, you cannot deny the title which has been placed upon her – “The Queen of Metal”. It is hard to dispute it either. Starting out with Warlock in 1982, she has had a career in metal for over thirty years now. For someone to have a career going that long with seventeen studio releases under her belt, countless tours, being able to shake off the “eye candy” tag women in bands of the 80’s were given through her talents- her voice and song writing ability; she certainly is doing something right. “Powerful Passionate Favourites” is part of the Raise Your Fist (30 Years Anniversary Edition) – a re-release of her seventeenth album in double disc format. Disc 1 is the “Raise Your Fist” album, 13 tracks of powerful metal songs with catchy riffs and like the title, songs which will make you raise your fist to them. Disc 2 is the interesting part though. This disc is a mix of cover songs and unreleased and new material.
The first track, “It still hurts” it shows the softer side of her vocals along with a surprisingly soulful vocal effort from Lemmy. This is a new mix of the album version, a passionate number with poignant lyrics and plenty of lighters in the air moments. “Raise Your Fist” is a French vocal version of the title track of the album. It’s nothing new musically, just the same song, same words but in a different language. It’s interesting at first, but the novelty wears off after a second listen. It also raises the question, why sing a song which is meant to evoke a feeling of power in French, the tongue of the people who are more famous for their surrendering? The next few tracks though make it interesting – the cover versions.
“Babe I’m gonna leave you”, originally by Led Zeppelin demonstrates the power and dynamics of Doro’s voice. She hits the subtle, smooth lows with a hint of seduction before she breaks out the powerful wails, delivered with enough power and venom to almost give Plant a run for his money. Its downfall is that it lacks the rawness of the original. “Nutbush City Limits” by another strong female vocalist Tina Turner is next to receive the Doro treatment. This one seems to work better, the fast upbeat number with its harsh vocals are perfect for Doro. Her voice seems perfect for this song and it works surprisingly well. “Only you” by KISS is up next. You can see why Doro picked this one. The original has a feel of an 80’s Euro-metal band track about it. Doro capitalises on this and makes it her own, her voice wouldn’t sound out of place on the original recording if it was beefed up.
“Egypt (The Chains Are On)” is the track title which stood out when I first saw the listing. It takes a brave man or woman to take on the challenge of covering one of Dio’s tracks from many of his numerous bands and the trend usually seems to be, do the song in your own bands style but try and keep it recognisable. Primal Fear’s rendition of “Die Young” is a tremendous example of this, Killswitch Engage’s “Holy Diver” isn’t. Musically, it just beefs up the original version. It brings some more bite into this already terrific song, but vocally is the big challenge. Doro herself says Dio is one of her inspirations and her idols and you can tell with the way she sings. The way she delivers the vocals is not as passionate and raw as the way RJD delivers them, but it is an admirable effort and she pays her dues to one of the greatest vocalists to have ever performed.
“Nothing else matters” by Metallica comes next. The fan favourite ballad from the self titled release. It’s overplayed and many female fronted metal bands have covered this one over the years. Musically, it has been reworked to her style but it just comes across as unremarkable.
The last two tracks, “Warfare” and “NYC Blues” are unreleased material. Warfare just sounds like any other Doro song, that traditional metal feel with cutting guitars, galloping rhythms and powerful vocals. It isn’t remarkable but it isn’t awful either, it’s just there to fill space. “NYC Blues” though, this is a different animal altogether. It has a traditional blues vibe to it in the way the song is structured and the minimalistic approach to the music allows Doro to unleash her full power across the track with singing which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Stevie Ray Vaughan track.
Overall, if you are a fan of Doro, chances are you will be buying this album anyway if you didn’t get it first time. This bonus disc will be a pleasant surprise and the cover tracks do make for interesting listens but as solid as it comes across, it does leave you wanting more at times. Some of the song choices like Metallica and the French vocal version just don’t work as well as the rest of the disc does. For a casual listener, Pick this album up if you are interested in Doro and have heard some of her material. For the fans of Doro, one question remains – Do you like covers?
(6/10 Peter Thompson)