ALBUM REVIEW: Ellefson – No Cover

Cover songs can be tricky. A balancing act that often results in calamity. Lean too far one way and be accused of musical blasphemy; keep things too safe and be reliably informed you shouldn’t have bothered in the first place. So with that in mind, surely an album consisting entirely of cover versions is just asking for trouble, isn’t it? Continue reading

PODCAST: Episode 131: Doro Pesch on Magic Diamonds, Drive-In Shows, and New Music


Ghost Cult caught up with the great Doro recently to discuss her long-awaited best-of album Magic Diamonds – Best Of Rock, Ballads & Rare Treasures, released from Doro’s own label, Rare Diamonds Productions. The exhaustive collection includes 56 songs on three CDs with a total of almost four hours with 20 rock songs, 18 ballads, and 18 rare treasures, offering a ton of music and content. It also has an official 4LP version, on colored vinyl. His and Hers perfume, a scarf, and a poster, all personally designed by Doro herself. We chatted about the collection, revisiting these decades of songs and unreleased music, her favorite collaborators such as Lemmy, Peter Steel, Udo, Blaze Bayley, Tarja, and more, her take on the Drive-In shows she did at the start of the pandemic, and her new album she is working on! Purchase the boxed set (available in Europe only) and check out our chat with this legend of Heavy Metal! 
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Tarja Announces Reissue of “From Spirits And Ghosts (Score For A Dark Christmas)”

World-renowned singer Tarja will reissue a new version of her previous Christmas album From Spirits And Ghosts (Score For A Dark Christmas), due for release arrives On November 6 Via Earmusic. Tarja tours behind her Christmas album to sold-out audiences all over the world. The release also includes Christmas Together: Live At Olomouc And Hradec Králové 2019.  It will be available as a limited, 2CD digipak. Pre-order it here.

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Dumb And Dumbest 69: Yes, A Threatin Episode

The music story of 2018 continues to get weirder and weirder! Episode 69 of the Dumb and Dumbest Podcast is steaming right now, and yes, it’s a Threatin Episode! Dumb and Dumbest is a music industry podcast hosted by music executive Matt Bacon (Dropout Media, Ripple Music, Prophecy Productions) and Publicist Curtis Dewar (Dewar PR). Our fearless hosts debate the machinations and likely potential outcomes of Jered Threatin’s scheme, now that he has given some interviews and we know more about him. Continue reading

Doro – Forever Warriors/Forever United

Inspiration can hit at any time, and for German metal legend Doro Pesch, that time was on her way to the funeral of rock legend Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead in December 2015. Having been friends with Lemmy for many years, Doro felt she needed to pay tribute to the man in the best way she knew, and on the flight over, the lyrics and melody for the song which would become ‘Living Life to the Fullest’ began to form in her head and the long road to this double album began. Continue reading

Doro Pesch Presents Warlock’s Triumph And Agony 30th Anniversary Tour

Doro Pesch is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Warlock‘s Triumph And Agony album in a big way. Continue reading

Doro: Live at Blackthorn 51, Queens New York

doro-february-march-2016-tour-promo-flyer-ghostcultmag

Even after thirty-plus years of being a metal lifer, Doro Pesch still displays a youthful glow and attitude in every song she and her band performs. If you didn’t know what year it was, you wouldn’t be able to tel from her voice. Doro is one of the strongest vocalists in a live setting. She’s damn near timeless. With a 20 song mix spanning her entire career from Warlock to more recent songs, they are a high-energy outfit.

Right from the start, they hit you with classic Warlock songs ‘Earthshaker Rock’, the mega sing-along ‘Burning the Witches’ and ‘I Rule the Ruins’. There was very little room for rest as they went into newer songs like ‘Raise Your Fist in the Air’. Nearly every album Doro sang on was covered in this thunderous set list.

Doro, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

Doro, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

 

Doro, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

Doro, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

Doro took a moment to mention her dearly departed friend and rock and roll legend Lemmy (If I have to tell you who he is, than you shouldn’t be reading this). She dedicated the night and song ‘Without You’ in his honor. You could really feel the emotions resonating from the stage on this one. It was truly a powerful moment. To help bring the energy back up, long time drummer Johnny Dee dazzled the audience with a killer drum solo. Then both guitarists, Luca Princitto and Bas Maas traded their axes in for keyboards on ‘Fuer Immer’. Fellow tour mates Madame Mayhem joined the band onstage for the Warlock über fan favorite, ‘All We Are’. Of course just about everyone in the place also joined in singing this metal anthem.

Doro, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

Doro, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

Closing out the show, they went with the Judas Priest classic, ‘Breaking the Law’ and ‘Love Me in Black’. Seeing Doro live isn’t just a metal history lesson, it’s a right of passage.

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WORDS AND PICTURES BY OMAR CORDY

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Amon Amarth- Jomsviking

It seems to be somewhat overlooked just how impressive Swedish death metallers Amon Amarth have grown in terms of status and position, especially for an extreme act. Somewhat under the radar for many for the early days of their career, out of nowhere 2008’s Twilight Of The Thunder God(Metal Blade) took the world by storm (pun intended) with some catchy, but still thunderous (ahem) death metal offerings. Further albums since have also seen high praise and more of the same sonically, culminating in a signing to a major label in Sony for European releases (still Metal Blade for North America). This is a death metal band we are talking about, this is huge news.

As a result of major label signing you could be forgiven for thinking the band may water down, but instead Jomsviking(Metal Blade/Sony) is in some ways, the band’s boldest album to date. Unsurprisingly Jomsviking goes down the Viking route again, but for the first time in the band’s career, this has a full conceptual narrative; that of a young man joining the elite Jomsviking after being separated from the love of his life, a befittingly tragic tale which invokes the ferocity of both its historical context, and of Amon Amarth’s music.

Musically the band have never been ones to deviate massively from their formula other than some examples of fine tuning or refining, and much is the same here. A mantra which did no harm for the likes of Motorhead and AC/DC and has certainly not done so for Amon Amarth. Thus, Jomsviking doesn’t throw any new surprises our way, other than some of the band’s finest and most instant songs to date. The white hot fury of ‘First Kill’ proves a suitably morbid and striking opener, whilst ‘Raise Your Horns’ is surely the most archetypal anthem the band has written thus far. Vocalist Johann Hegg may not have the most diverse of vocals but he pulls off individuality of differing characters with ease, whilst the addition of the legendary Doro Pesch on ‘A Dream That Cannot Be’ adds an extra dimension that could bolster the band further if explored further.

Amon Amarth are never going to make a Jazz fusion record or hugely surprise us; but what they do offer however is continuous refinement and subtle evolution, and Jomsviking is further evidence that Amon Amarth are still a huge and creative entity. The boldness of an in depth and intricate storyline intertwined with some of their strongest and catchiest songs to date, and you have perhaps the best album of their career.

8.0/10

CHRIS TIPPELL

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Christian Mistress -To Your Death

Christian Mistress To Your Death album cover 2015

By adding their own modern twist to the exalted genre of New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Christian Mistress has started to make a name for themselves. Interestingly they are from Washington State. Where many bands tend to sound as though they are doing covers when tackling the genre, Christian Mistress actually pull it off. The band’s latest release, To Your Death is their first for Relapse Records.

Album opener ‘Neon’ starts everything off very strong. It is a classic headbanger that channels late 70s and early 80s bands such as Judas Priest and Paul Di’Anno era Iron Maiden. This is due in equal parts to Christine Davis’s vocals and the work of guitarists’ Oscar Scarbel and Tim Diedrich. Scarbel and Dietrich seamlessly reproduce the twin guitar sound the genre is famous for. Davis’s style appears to be modeled on other famous female singers of that era such as Doro Pesch. Hearing a collaboration between the two is something to remain hopeful for. These traits remain throughout the album with some variation.

One song that best nails the mood of the album is ‘No Place’. It is a tune that any audience can rock out to and chant along with. Likewise, ‘Ultimate Freedom’ is an empowering anthem that would not have been out of place during the heyday of NWOBHM. Although the songs conjure up memories of when metal was king, they also carry a promise to revive the genre. The album comes to an end with the killer guitar riffage of ‘III’; one cannot help but start the whole thing over again.

9.0/10

 

MELISSA CAMPBELL