Conqueress – Forever Strong and Proud
QUEEN OF HEAVY METAL: Doro Pesch didn’t really need to release an album this good in 2023. The former Warlock singer could’ve easily rested upon her creative laurels, coasted, and phoned it in for Conqueress – Forever Strong and Proud.
Thankfully, however, Doro has never been one to take this route. Pesch has never done anythingin half measure, and this dedication to her craft is one of the reasons why Conqueress is almost a surprise, but not really. Of course, it helps that Doro’s voice, her power and emotional connection to her audience has never been in question. The German frontwoman not only has one of the most immediately recognizable voices in heavy metal, she’s also possessed a voice that’s endured and thrived.
This is apparent almost immediately with Conqueress, since the album erupts out of the starting gate with a one-two punch of the mid-paced and anthemic, “Children of the Dawn” and the ripping, Warlock-esque “Fire in the Sky.” It doesn’t stop there, either, as “All for You” lulls the listener into this false sense that it’s going to be a ballad, before bursting out with one of the album’s strongest tracks. Doro’s voice commands “All for You” with determination, while her band feels energized and ready to rock.
There’s a surprising amount of material that strides the line between melodic power metal sounds, traditional heavy metal, and even a smidge of Sunset Strip glam. “Drive Me Wild” wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Warlock’s breakthrough Triumph and Agony, while “I Will Prevail” and “Time for Justice” both bring the heavy metal thunder in a big way. Meanwhile, “Fels in der Brandung” proves once again how Doro Pesch is one of the sincerest balladeers in heavy metal, full stop.
Conqueress features a number of high profile collaborations, including two with Judas Priest’s Rob Halford. The first, a cover of Priest’s “Living After Midnight” does what you expect, but given the overplayed nature of that particular song, it’s easily skippable. The pair’s version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” is more interesting, if only for the kitsch value of hearing Bonnie Tyler sound so heavy. These collabs are cool, for sure, but Conqueress doesn’t need them to stand out from the pack.
The album’s closing original, “Heavenly Creatures,” an older song penned by Doro that sees new life here. It’s an absolute ripper that feels like 80s Warlock covering Helloween, and it’s such a good way to end an album that just makes the listener feel good. Conqueress goes hard in the paint and serves to underline the place of Doro Pesch within the heavy metal hierarchy. Quite simply, she’s our queen. Long May She Reign. ~ MetalGeorge