1984, Music

Burning the Witches (1984) by Warlock

Music has long been a boys club. It is only very very recently that women musicians have some control over their careers and it wasn’t too long ago, that women musicians were thought capable of only playing certain types of instruments. If there is one genre that would seem utterly impenetrable for women, it would probably be metal, a genre that aims to celebrate certain aspects of human experience we stereotypically associate with manhood and maleness.

It should be celebrated, then, that it only took about a decade and a half, for a popular metal band with a female lead singer (and later band-leader). (It’s worth noting that I’m guessing here. I don’t know that Pesch was the first female singer to have success with a metal band, but this is certainly the earliest metal record I’ve heard with a female lead singer.) Assuming this is a landmark, a lot of what I have to say seems less important.

This is not my kind of metal – it’s the kind of European ’80s metal that goes for big choruses with really soaring vocals (and dumb lyrics), with technically proficient guitar playing, not quite fast enough to distinguish itself as “speed metal” for the most part, but still fast enough to distinguish it from the catchier metal bands. But it’s still pretty rote, with most of the songs sounding roughly like each other, most of the performances striking similar notes, and just not heavy enough or weird enough for a fan like me.

But it is certainly successful for what it is – everything is good enough, I think, especially if ’80s power metal is your thing. It’s successful enough to regard the record as decent even if it isn’t my thing, and even if it isn’t the landmark I believe it to be.


  1. “Sign of Satan” (Rudy Graf) 3:13
  2. “After the Bomb” (Peter Szigeti, Graf) 3:50
  3. “Dark Fade” (Szigeti, Doro Pesch) 4:07
  4. “Homicide Rocker” (Graf) 3:12
  5. “Without You” (Szigeti, Pesch) 5:25
  6. “Metal Racer” (Graf) 3:42
  7. “Burning the Witches” (Graf) 4:17
  8. “Hateful Guy” (Graf, Pesch) 3:41
  9. “Holding Me” (Szigeti, Pesch) 4:07
  • Doro Pesch – vocals
  • Peter Szigeti – guitar
  • Rudy Graf – guitar
  • Frank Rittel – bass
  • Michael Eurich – drums

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