Doro - Forever Warriors, Forever United

Doro Forever Warriors, Forever United cover
Forever Warriors, Forever United
Nuclear Blast
Doro, I mean, what’s not to love, in what the first lady of metal has been doing… for such a long time, she’s been a strong female lead, a pinup of posters in young metalheads rooms in the 80s and she wasn’t only eyecandy but also had the spunk to genuinely be a female rocker back in a time when women in metal were probably counted in the fingers of both hands (might be exaggerating a bit there)…
Having released a slew of anniversary, extended and live albums, it’s actually been some six years since the last “studio” effort and to make up this double album features no less than 25 songs, with the quality of compositions being a bit all over the place.
While the opener “All for Metal” feels like a typical Doro anthem, border-lining Manowarish “metal” clichés and being overall quite decent,=.
“Bastardos” while driven by a nice strong riff, feels a bit forced and especially uninspired in the chorus, with the bridge being the hook. Also for all it’s worth Doro does sound a bit “tired” even in studio circumstances.
“If I Can’t Have You, No One Will” features Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth) and manifests itself one more, feeling quite out of place, with his style sounding comical at best in this awkward mid-tempo “duet” that is not such a terrible song, but is funked up just because he shows up.
“Soldier of Metal” is a soft ballad, with wailing guitars etc., which if not for the heartfelt performance would easily moonlight on planet Manowar.
“Turn It Up” is an easy, shouty rock n roller, rhyming all the clichés that you could think of, but hey it’s enjoyable.
“Blood, Sweat & Rock ‘n’ Roll” owes far too much to Michael Monroe’s “Dead, Jail or Rock n’ Roll”… feeling like it’s metallic offspring or inbred cousin.
“Don’t Break My Heart, Again” is a Whitesnake cover that’s pretty faithful, but devoid of the true passion of the Covernor, instead giving a more martial tone that it hardly feels appropriate. Nice enough soloing though.
“Love’s Gone to Hell”, which seems to be a “single” for this album, features a “stolen” breakdown, but it’s at least a reasonable enough ballad, but boy, does the video feel awkward, with all the suicides and whatnot.
Not even halfway through we’re greeted with “Freunde Fürs Leben”/ “Friends for Life”, a song sung in German – and we get it – she needs something for the local market. Reasonable soft rocking mid-tempo.
“Backstage to Heaven” features famous German jazz player Helge Schneider on sax and actually the first really good chorus in a while; cool.
“Be Strong” seems to have a bit of that magic rubbed of onto it, as it opens with a neat lead in and just keeps on giving it.
“Black Ballad” is a nice effort, but the super minimal style and strings, can’t hide the lack of true substance till the very middle of the song where there’s a nice solo prior to which Doro just repeats the title… given the timing this could be a nod to Lemmy, or maybe not. Well it’s not bad, but that chorus-repetition could have given its way to something better. I dunno what, but... you get the picture.
“Bring My Hero Back Again” has a certain folk inspired tone – and nice softly sung verses, it’s an easily likable tune.
“Résistance”, intonated as in French, goes back to rock, but sounds a little odd, as the call response chorus – has Doro saying the word in French – then male vocals responding with the English pronunciation” weird at best. Great verses though, marred by the odd chorus that stands out fine, but as a sore thumb.
“Lift Me Up” is a nice half electric ballad, but other than relying strongly on past glories (ie lifting half a melody from Warlocks big hit “All We Are”, seems to just bog down the pace of the album with far too many slow songs preceding it and “Résistance” hardly breaking the mold. Too bad, since it’s another likeable tune.
“Heartbrocken” benefits from the guitar talents of one Doug Aldrich (ex-Whitesnake, Dio and many others) and is probably one of the best slower, but shimmering rockers with exceeding melody on offer here and a blinder of a solo. This is quite how things should be.
It Cuts So Deep” is the umpteenth ballad, but at least it feels tacked in the right place and it’s good enough.
“Love is a Sin” is a rocker that has a rather poppy chorus that comes unexpectedly, but is pretty effective in all honesty. I could do without the demonic adlibs though and I’m not entirely sold on the slap-bass thingy either.
“Living Life to the Fullest” is a mid-tempo driven home by a strong riff, but the verse feels a little forced and awkward.
“1000 Years” feels like a verse that turns also into chorus  that could have been so much more, but somehow works in its progressively electrified ballad form.
“Fight through the Fire” feels a little peculiar, with its super energetic and jumpy rhythm, after 1000 ballads that precede it.
Motorhead’s “Lost in the Ozone” fits Doro, quite nicely – actually it feels like this should have been the definitive edition of the song – and it’s paying proper tribute to the Lem.
Another cover of all things, Lucio Dalla’s modern aria “Caruso” is not as terrible as it could be (as Dorothy keeps her German accent in check) but if feels a little odd, just to be honest an odd choice of a cover.
“Tra Como E Coriovallum” is a nice guitar driven instrumental” but you know this album depending on what configuration you choose seem to have 4 or so covers between then and quite a bit of filler ballads.
Not helping things is “Metal is My Alcohol”, a rock n roller, which feels like something modern day Tankard could have come up with, only sung by the metal Queen.
A return to form? Not exactly, but out of 25 songs half are not too bad with very few highlights. I have to remain ambivalent about this one, I’m afraid.