Conqueress - Forever Strong And Proud
Review by Vladimir on October 31, 2023.
Recently I had trouble finding a good album that would make my day better and be worth the while, because there has been so much stuff going on in the music world that you just don’t know where to start. I had an unsuccessful listen with Dokken’s new album “Heaven Comes Down” which I found to be a very lackluster and uninspiring attempt from one of my all-time favorite bands from the 80’s. Luckily, I did manage to find something that would wash away the bad taste in my mouth from Dokken’s latest output, and it also comes from one of my favorites 80’s heavy metal icons. This album comes from none other than the metal queen herself, Doro Pesch, and the topic of this review is her fourteenth full-length album Conqueress - Forever Strong And Proud released on October 27th via Nuclear Blast.
The album barely even started and it is already kicking ass with the epic opening track 'Children Of The Dawn', bombarded with epic choirs, heavy guitar riffs, powerful melodies and solos, and Doro’s majestic singing voice. As the album opens it is like love at first sight, because once you hear the first note you are instantly mesmerized by heavy metal and you get the impression that this will be a banger of an album. If you thought that the epic opener was good, the following Motorhead-like banger 'Fire In The Sky' is where you experience full-throttle heavy metal, promising that what’s to come is more than meets the eye. Speaking of what’s to come, there are a couple of catchy rocking tunes like 'Lean Mean Rock Machine', 'Love Breaks Chains', and 'Drive Me Wild'. There are also plenty of strong bangers, like the sixth track 'I Will Prevail' with heavy and groovy riffing and the eight track 'Time for Justice'. Something that was quite unexpected but pleasantly surprised me was the epic and romantic violin tune 'Fels In Der Brandung' with verse lyrics in English and chorus in German, which in itself is a musical departure from the rest of the album but nevertheless a welcoming change between songs. This album also features the legendary Rob Halford as the guest vocalist on the cover of Judas Priest’s 'Living After Midnight' and Bonnie Tyler’s 'Total Eclipse Of The Heart', and I have to say that his vocals are wonderfully combined with Doro’s. As much as I love both original songs, I would say that I probably like the cover of 'Living After Midnight' more than the original I grew up with, probably because the united vocals of Doro and Rob manage to provide such excellent firepower that it’s unmatchable. The vocal performance of Doro is still as excellent as always, her voice holds up so well that I just couldn’t process the fact that she's turning 60 next year and she has not even begun to show her age. Although you might agree that the riffs and solos are all very good, Doro’s vocal performance is the forefront of the album after all, and by far the biggest highlight of the album. As for the songwriting on this album, the songs are packed with various ideas that go from incredibly epic to banger heavy or pretty catchy. It is certainly a dynamic album which succeeds at holding your attention and it doesn’t constrict itself to a one specific style or idea. The addition of the two cover songs, along with the aforementioned violin 'Fels In Der Brandung', may seem a bit like intended fillers done just for the sake of prolonging the album’s entire runtime, but I personally didn’t feel like that and I wasn’t bothered at all that any of these songs were included, because I like them for what they are and I am very pleased with the inclusion of Rob Halford as the guest vocalist on both cover songs. My only small issue that I have with this album is the cover art’s overall style and quality, which put me off a bit for its very cheap photoshop editing and it pales in comparison with some of the previous albums, including the predecessor Forever Warriors, Forever United from 2018, which in my opinion had an overall better art style.
I have to say that I found Conqueress - Forever Strong And Proud very enjoyable to listen to and I was pleased with the general output. It is not a perfect album by any means, but it is certainly an album that will make it worth your while despite the only flaw I had with it. If you are a longtime fan of Doro, you have probably already heard this album, but in case you haven’t, feel free to check it out.
Rating: 8.1 out of 10134