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Raise Your Fist

Nuclear Blast (2012)
Rating: 6/10

After 30 years in the business, there are few that would dispute the claim that Doro is the queen of metal. The thing about Doro is that, after 17 releases, she’s as rock solid now as she was when we first heard her former band, Warlock. She travels the musically straight and narrow, like AC/DC and Motörhead, straddling the line between hard rock and metal. For Raise Your Fist though, she tries some new things, albeit nothing drastic, trading out some of the straightforward guitar work for a groovier approach.

The album opens with the anthemic title track, complete with ripping guitar riff and unifying choruses. ‘Raise Your Fist In The Air’ has a bouncy feel to it that is just edgy enough to not come off as cheesy, but is certainly a bit different from the average Doro tune. ‘Coldhearted Lover’ couples with it, reminding me a bit of the better parts of 80s hard rock. It has a dark, street-wise kind of atmosphere to it but at the same time it has that smooth, slick production that dominated hard music’s greatest decade.

‘Victory’ has an explosive sound that is much thicker than much of the album musically, but the lyrics are hard to get past and definitely find Doro treading in the seas of cheese. ‘Freiheit (Human Rights)’ is another moment that is a bit different for the German queen. It’s got a strong rhythm that leads it along, adding sparse guitar work into the background. While it brings her voice to the forefront even more so than usual (which I enjoy), the lyrics seem to zap a lot of the power from it and I find it hard to get into for that reason alone.

‘Grab The Bull (Last Man Standing)’ features Ozzy Osbourne guitarist and Firewind mainman Gus G. and offers Doro in prime form. Gus’ lead work elevates this song instantly and brings out the best in Doro it seems. ‘Little Headbanger (Nackenbrecker)’ is an excellent moment as well, picking up the pace and featuring a really aggressive vocal that firmly reminds you that few vocalists can touch the mighty Doro.

‘Hero’ is a big, beautiful ballad that perfectly blends femininity and power, setting the bar, yet again, for an entire genre of music. ‘Engel’ is much the same, save for the fact that it never really explodes like ‘Hero’, trading the majestic chorus for a more atmospheric piano piece.

Overall, I love that Doro did something a little different on Raise Your Fist. The fact is though, it’s just not as good as her last few albums. This is a good, solid album but it really only rises above that on a few tracks. If you love Doro then you’ll like this, but I don’t see it becoming your favourite in her legendary catalogue. If you are new and looking for a place to start, I’d pick up one of the many greatest hits or live collections to determine a better starting point and work your way from there.

Mark Fisher