at the New Jersey March Metal Meltdown
Pennsauken, N.J.

Metal queen, Doro Pesch and her band Doro stormed the stage at the Jersey Metal Meltdown shaking the rafters with their frantic blend of molten metal. One of the most anticipated acts of the two-day festival, Doro met the masses with a barrage of lethal mastery nailing all the hits. They were, without a doubt, the dominating force of the show. It has been almost ten yeas since Doro last played North America and the crowd’s response let the band know they wanted them back…often. “When I first came to this country, I was on tour with Judas Priest and couldn’t speak a word of English,” says Germany native Doro Pesch. “It’s good to be back and playing for America.”

In 1982 Pesch formed the Thrash Metal band Warlock in Dusseldorf, Germany. The band achieved a cult following in Europe and then broke BIG in the states with their album Triumph & Agony (1987). Pesch left the band to pursue a solo career which included working with producer/Kiss bassist Gene Simmons. Doro (this recent incarnation of the band) has been together since 1997 and is primed to make their mark. “We have a new album coming out in America on Koch records,” mentions Pesch. “It will be our first in the states in a while. We want to tour playing Warlock songs mixed with what I’ve done in Doro.” Pesch is working with Lemmy (Motorhead) in LA on a duet for the new release titled I Give My Blood. Five of Doro’s finished tracks were made available to TCE. All were stunning including Kiss Me Like A Cobra and a blistering rendition of the classic Billy Idol tune White Wedding.

Virgin Steele also made headlines at the Fest as top band on the second stage. Their Medieval triumph caused some to gasp as they lit their Excaliber mascot and sliced through the smoke-filled air. Virgin Steele rarely makes a US appearance even thought the group is primarily from Long Island. “Europe has always been very gracious to us,” claims founding member and lead singer David DeFeis. “We go over there and sell out concert halls. It’s weird when I look back – we recorded our first album three weeks after we’d been together in the fall of 1981, here it is almost twenty years later and we’re still around.” Virgin Steele have made quite a metamorphous since their self-titled LP, yet have remained true to their cast-in-iron roots. Says DeFeis, “We are constantly pushing forward. I always knew I would continue doing music in some way, shape or form. I’d didn’t always know it would be with Virgin Steele but the band has grown as I have. Creating music is what I do and always will.” Virgin Steele’s new opus The House of Atreus Act 1 is an epic-packed adventure with enough metal to sink the Titanic.

This was the second annual March Metal Meltdown organized by Jack Koshick, the longtime promoter of the Milwaukee Metalfest and the Metal Mania Series. Moved from last year’s location in Asbury Park, the Metal Fest went on as scheduled at the Pennsauken Expo Center. Over 120 bands played including: Testament, Hades, Virgin Steele, Immortal, Whiplash, Witchery, Immolation, Holocaust, Savage, Anvil, Hate Eternal and the brilliant In Extreamo, Also on the premises were a half dozen pro wrestlers (Billy Real, Ace Darling, Skullcrusher, Dead Man Walking) and adult film star Jasmin St. Claire.

Ultrasound 2000 (Las Vegas) is next on the racks. It promises to be the premiere AOR/Hard Rock show of the summer with a bill that includes Cage, Velocity, Balance of Power, Jag Panzer, Paul Shortino and Jimmy Crespo, Leatherwolf, The Promise, New Eden, Ken Tamplin, Vicious Rumors, Michael Morales and Saxon.