Doro Pesch and Warlock Live Review

The Concert
Reviewing music discs is not the easiest thing to do. It’s a horribly subjective game. Whilst the fanatical fan would buy the disc even if it was a transfer from a third generation VHS pirate, the casual fan would baulk at this and people who haven’t heard of the band want to know if they are any good.

Well to deflect any criticism that may come my way I’ll lay my cards on the table. I was a heavy metal/rock fan in the mid-late 80’s. I had the Metallica T-shirts, the denim jacket with the Iron Maiden patches and the ticket to Monsters of Rock 1988. Whilst I was no great fan of Warlock I had heard their music. So I am probably as qualified as anyone to tackle this.

This disc contains Warlock’s performance at Camden Palace, London in 1985. Please note throughout this review I will refer to the band as Warlock. The packaging and menus call them Doro Pesch and Warlock. This is inaccurate as the band were still called Warlock in 1985 and it wasn’t until a couple of years later that they chose to put the Doro Pesch bit at the front of their name. A small detail I know but at this time Warlock and their fans were insistent that they weren’t a bunch of session musicians fronted by a bit of fluff. So a black mark for the creators of this disc straight away.

Now onto the band and the concert. Warlock were never the Legends Of Rock as advertised here. Their staple diet of very fast dull 80’s metal was passable at the time and the band had a small following. But to the average metal fan they were a pedestrian band whose only gimmick was Doro in her skin-tight leather trousers. At one point in the concert there were two songs played back to back and I couldn’t tell where one began and the other ended. And remember, I was a Slayer fan! The band run through their best material from their first two albums and to be fair it shows because a lot of the songs here sound like filler. Maybe a concert from later in their career would have been better, showing all of their best tunes. The only stand out songs here are Burning the Witches and Evil and these are still one-speed boreathons. There is the obligatory slow ballad that is just atrocious and a pointless 3-minute drum solo on the half hour mark. The full track listing is as follows

Out Of Control
Earthshaker Rock
Metal Racer
Holding Me
Shout It Out
Without You
Hateful Guy
All Night
Burning the Witches
Time To Die

The performance is also well below par. In places I was laughing out loud as the band could well have modelled themselves on Spinal Tap. One of the guitarists looks the spitting image of Nigel Tufnell when he does his guitar solos (and there are at least two in every song). Also the bassist fancies himself as a bit of a Steve Harris (of Iron Maiden) as he copies Harris’ trademark foot on the monitor routine. As for Doro herself, she is very pretty to look at but she has no real stage presence. She just depends on her looks and that long blond hair… it’s just not enough. Her feeble attempts to get the audience participating are pathetic to say the least. The audience themselves will raise a few laughs, from the many spotty overweight teens to the rather bad attempt at moshing towards the end. The band themselves play competently but nothing outstanding. The sound mix for the concert is generally dreadful. Most of the time the vocals are almost drowned out and the only highlights you hear are Doro’s frequent histrionics. So, even if you are a fan, the sound quality will leave you disappointed.

Technically speaking the concert isn’t too bad. The camera work is adequate and the main cameraman has obviously been briefed to get as many shots of Doro’s leather clad rear as possible. It is difficult to find interesting concert footage, even Metallica’s S&M is a dull looking concert full of the usual clichés. Unfortunately the presentation is lacking. The opening credits look like they were put together by a teenager on a C64 3D package. In addition the closing credits start halfway through the last song. The picture freeze frames while the music continues, the credits roll then when they have finished the picture starts again, unbelievably shoddy and amateurish looking. I am also not convinced that the entire concert is here. The running time is 64-minutes but the lack of encores and the abrupt ending leads me to believe that the concert was a little longer than presented here.

Overall the presentation is shoddy, the band are Spinal Tap wannabes and the concert is uninteresting. If you are a fan of Warlock and really want to see an early performance then maybe you would get something out of this. If you aren’t a fan steer well clear, as this is not classic 80’s metal, it is dull metal-by-numbers played by some of the most uninspiring musicians I have heard.

The Disc
This disc is double sided, one side has the DVD concert and the other has a CD recording of the same performance. The menus are terrible, not as bad as some but still very amateurish. There are 13 chapters to cover the 13 songs on the disc.

The picture is non-anamorphic 4:3. This is a difficult one to grade, as I would guess that the original source material is not the best quality. Given the fact it is 16-year-old footage of a minor band I would say it’s a pretty good transfer. There is no print damage and the artifacting is minimal despite the amount of smoke flying around. The colours are washed out and the picture is quite soft and smeary throughout. Despite this it is superior to a VHS picture and is probably the best they could do.

The sound is a DD2.0 track. This is the most important aspect of the disc and it has to be said it’s a muddy mix where the vocals are quite often indistinguishable from the instruments. Given the fact the sound quality is notably better on the CD it is obvious that this is the fault of the encoding.

The main extra here is the fact that the opposite side of the DVD has a CD recording of the concert. This is much better quality than the soundtrack on the actual DVD. The DVD extras are limited to a few screens of text covering the biography of Doro Pesch and her discography. Dull in the extreme, but my interest was piqued when I discovered she was still making records today.

First of all if you are not a fan don’t even bother looking at this disc, as this isn’t a good example of 80’s rock/metal (see Iron Maiden et al for that). For the few fans out there I would urge you to think very carefully before forking out for this. This isn’t the band at their best by any means. The sound quality is pretty bad and the picture isn’t the best you could have. The only good thing about this disc for fans is the CD soundtrack, which is much better quality but is it worth paying all that money just for a CD?

Impromptu competition time. The first Warlock fan to email me can have my copy of this disc for free. Please note that anyone who isn't a Warlock fan who emails just to get a free DVD is very sad and desperate.

Addendum 2

No more entries please, this disc has been won.

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