A warlock’s legacy is cast in stone.
For the better part of 15 years, old school heavy metal has enjoyed a vibrant, albeit still largely underground renaissance. Whether one wishes to focuses on the cultural phenomenon that is the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal, or the corresponding renewal in interest towards the older bands of the 80s that inspired it, the stigma that was foisted on the genre during the 90s has all but totally vanished from consideration. But while numerous new acts have been springing up in the years since, it’s interesting to note that the old classics are just as relevant today as they were decades ago, if not more so. Among the seminal records that blazed the trails that are now the subject of further emulation is the famed 4th studio entry of Teutonic heavy metal titans Warlock known as “Triumph And Agony,” which was recently performed in its entirety for an avid audience in Sweden to a thunderous response, and subsequently released to the rest of the world to showcase how old metal sorcerers work their magic.
Though the original fold that produced this 10 song cycle of sonic greatness split apart in the late 80s, lead vocalist Doro Pesch has essentially kept the same spirit alive under her own name in the years since, and has shown zero signs of slowing down. While the musicians that accompany her in this masterful performance are no slouches in bringing the old school thunder to the masses, the almost inhuman level of grit and force that is projected through Doro’s ageless vocal chords proves the chief attraction. Often splitting the difference between the throaty growl of Blackie Lawless and the soaring glory of Rob Halford, it’s the sort of voice that screams 80s power and glory like the howl of a mighty wolf. At that same time, the power factor is tempered with an adaptability factor that is equally as formidable, particularly during the duo of poignant ballads that accompany the foray of metallic mayhem, where bombast gives way to a more reserved and sentimental vocal character.
Despite carrying the same concentration of hard-hitting metal bona fides as Warlock’s grittier debut “Burning The Witches” and slightly more polished yet still vicious sophomore outing “Hellbound,” this particular opus has often been relegated to the most commercially geared album to come out of their arsenal. Perhaps the original song ordering of the studio LP was a culprit in this, as it tended to accentuate the mid-paced, radio-oriented bangers and balladry, but with this live incarnation this tendency has been all but totally reversed with the songs being played in a totally different order, giving things a bit more of that classic early 80s Accept vibe that Warlock always exhibited, but never fully exploited. The front-loading of speed-infused crushers like “Touch Of Evil”, “I Rule The Ruins” and “Three Minute Warning” plays a key role in this, as does Dio-like punch and groove of “When East Meets West”, which is a bit safer in terms of pacing but is chock full of thrilling lead guitar detailing.
It isn’t really until the halfway point of the concert that things take on a more nuanced and varied character, and by then the audience was surely due a respite of sorts. The gloomy turned wicked stomp of “Kiss Of Death” sets up a brilliant atmospheric and dynamic contrast that is taken to its logical conclusion on the drawn out rendition of power ballad “Fur Immer”, sporting about as much crowd participation as could have been mustered, along with the more consistently easy going and lovelorn “Make Time For Love”, which sees Doro at her closest to a purely clean cut performance. On the other hand, the shuffling jazzy feel with a heavy edge “Cold Cold World” and the still novel traditional dance grooves mixed with classic Iron Maiden trappings “Metal Tango” prove even more auspicious. But their ultimate tour de force is their closing blowout performance of radio hit “All We Are”, still exuding those classic Twisted Sister vibes of rebellion and fellowship while also bringing the audience involvement to an absolute fever pitch.
2021 may have proven a modest showing in the studio output department for this veteran act, but the degree of intensity and poise brought forth in this 35th anniversary rendition of Warlock’s most known offering could easily stand in the place of a studio album of new material. It goes without saying that those who originally fell in love with the band during their somewhat short yet prolific run in the 1980s will want to hear this, particularly given that the reordered song presentation gives it more of an organic metallic demeanor. Though apart from Doro herself, the collective of musicians who delivered this performance to the metal faithful of Sweden were not the same ones that recorded the original LP, one wouldn’t be the wiser without checking the liner notes. In a time where female fronted metal has been dominated by operatic impresarios, Doro continues to deliver melodic flair with that old school, aggressive edge that keeps both halves of the heavy metal name front and center
Release Date: September 24th, 2021
Genre: Heavy Metal
- Doro Pesch / Vocals
- Luca Princiotta / Guitars
- Bas Maas / Guitars
- Nick Douglas / Bass
- Johnny Dee / Drums
“Triumph and Agony Live” Track-Listing:
2. Touch Of Evil
3. I Rule The Ruins
4. East Meets West
5. Three Minute Warning
6. Kiss Of Death
7. Für Immer
8. Cold, Cold World
9. Make Time For Love
11.All We Are
A seminal album of tempered sonic steel from one of Germany’s most iconic 80s acts is reforged for a new generation in its entirety, reordered and expanded for the live setting, yet losing none of its original luster
- Video / Production