Doro Pesch – True At Heart (1991) Album Review

To clearly grasp the essence behind this extraordinary singer, I have to make a detour and present her career moments some of them in detail, mainly the important ones some other briefly, such is to say that, her name meant a lot for the heavy metal scene in the late 70s and early 80s. Doro Pesch (as Dorothee Pesch) is a German heavy metal/hard rock songstress born in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1964. It was not long until she came to know the heavy metal scene, inspired by the early heavy metal bands at that time such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin or Kiss.

Her debut on the heavy metal scene was at the very beginning of the 1980s when she was invited to sing in a heavy metal band from Hamburg named Snakebite. However, she did not last long in the band and soon she became part of another project, entitled Beast but once again she will depart from this band as well in order to join Warlock. Warlock was the band that established her as a leading songstress on the heavy metal scene with albums such as Burning The Witches (1984), Hellbound (1985), True As Steel (1986) and Triumph and Agony (1987). Several singles from these albums met with mainstream success being broadcasted on important music channels at that time. However, Warlock did not stood for long because after the release of their 4th record the band would cease to exist, as internal conflicts between band members set them apart leaving Doro alone. Commendable as it may be, Doro did not choose to end this project, but rather continue it as a solo career under her own name rather than Warlock, because of several feuds with the former members which are the ones that actually created Warlock.

Doro is not just an important singer who managed to meet with mainstream success in the 1980s, the most glorious period for the heavy metal scene, featuring important genres that broke into the mainstream such as glam metal (Motley Crue, Twisted Sister), thrash metal (Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, Sodom, Kreator, Destruction) or the early grunge scene (Nirvana, Pearl Jam) but it was also a continuation of the glorious New Wave Of British Heavy Metal Scene with names such as Motorhead, Saxon, Venom, Iron Maiden or Girlschool. I credit Girlschool with the beginning of the feminist movement in the heavy metal music. As many of you may know, Girlschool was the first band composed entirely of female members which began a trend and also a revolution in the heavy metal scene. Since then, more and more bands started to hire female vocalists, it is the case of Lita Ford, Doro Pesch, Sabine Classen (Holy Moses), Kate French (Chastain) or Janet Patricia Gardner (Vixen).

It did not take long for Doro Pesch to re-enter the metal scene with a new record in 1989 entitled Force Majeure, a rather interesting album, much different from the aggressiveness present in the Warlock days, with a different approach this time combining heavy metal with hard rock and incorporating blues rock elements. The self-titled album Doro, soon followed in 1990 and we now reached True At Heart, released in 1991 via Vertigo Records. Musically speaking, this album is a lot like Force Majeure but with slight differences as well. I said earlier that Force Majeure combined a style of traditional heavy metal with hard rock influences as well as blues rock, well this one completely abandons the heavy metal influences and becomes much more melodic, relying completely on blues rock and hard rock influences. This happened mainly because Doro chose to collaborate on this new record with several musicians from Nashville, Tennessee, the haven of country music.

Basically, every song from this album features more than one vocal work. Of course, Doro contributed with her vocal works on all of them but we have musicians such as Todd Cerney, Bob DiPiero, Dennis Morgan, Gary Scruggs or Vince Melamed. We have two kinds of recipes in this album, the hard rock style songs such as Hear Me, Cool Love, I’ll Make It On My Own or Heartshaped Tattoo, songs which are typical in every Doro album but this record feature some very beautiful ballads, the expression of emotions, feelings and tenderness of this album in songs such as Even Angels Cry, Fall For Me Again (in my opinion the best track featured on this album which also has a video), With The Wave Of Your Hand, The Fortuneteller or I Know You By My Heart. We can also include tracks that incorporate both elements and combines them resulting in a perfect harmony such as Gettin’ Nowhere Without You, Live It or You Gonna Break My Heart.

Unlike the other records, Doro Pesch chose to approach this one differently, relying more on feelings such as love, anxiety, tenderness rather than the typical heavy metal which focuses on emotions such as courage, ambition or will to fight and never give up. You don’t need to listen the whole record to realize these aspects, it is easy to figure it out from the lyrics featured on the first song that stands as the introduction of a an intense, rebellious and adventurous love story. Conceptually, this album depicts the ups and downs of every relationship, the feeling of satisfaction and joy when you can be with the one you love and also the emptiness and sorrow felt once you are apart and can’t reach the one you hold dear.

This is record targets especially the Doro fans, rather than the heavy metal fans. Those that appreciate Doro as a singer will appreciate this record as well, those that appreciate her for the musical approach she had in the past might find some changes that will raise some question marks, whether they will enjoy it or not remains to be seen and discussed. To be honest, it is hard for me to say that this is the best record Doro gave (I kinda liked Force Majore much more), but it is clearly one of their best works they ever offered. Probably, at that time it might’ve been the best record, but now I am sure that it is overshadowed by Calling The Wild, Love Me In Black or Fight. The only thing that I can criticize Doro for is that she was not born in the US, because if she had been born there, she would’ve had much more commercial success and would stand equally with other heavy metal names from the 80s like W.A.S.P. or Manowar. Nonetheless, this is not an excuse because she still kicks ass nowadays too, and still remains a driving force for the heavy metal scene and an exceptional supporter of the female heavy metal movement, always collaborating with important female singers nowadays such as Floor Jansen (ReVamp, ex-After Forever), Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish), Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy), Ji-In Cho (Krypteria), Liv Kristine (Leaves Eyes, ex-Theatre of Tragedy), Veronica Freeman (Benedictum) or Liv Jagrell (Sister Sin).

Overall Impression: 90/100