Metal queen Doro Pesch and her band, Doro, took the stage at the Jersey Metal Meltdown and left the crowd in awe with their frantic blend of molten metal. This was their first appearance in North America in almost ten years, and the audience's response was a clear indication that they wanted them back, often. Doro Pesch formed the thrash metal band Warlock in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1982, achieving a cult following in Europe and breaking big in the states with their album Triumph & Agony in 1987. Doro left the band to pursue a solo career, which included working with Gene Simmons from Kiss.
Doro's current band has been together since 1997 and is primed to make their mark. They have a new album coming out in America on Koch records, which will be their first release in the states in a while. They want to tour playing Warlock songs mixed with what Doro has done in her solo career. Pesch is working with Lemmy from 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, and 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 festival as the top band on the second stage. Their medieval triumph caused some to gasp as they lit their Excalibur mascot and sliced through the smoke-filled air. Virgin Steele rarely makes a US appearance, even though the group is primarily from Long Island. The band has made quite a metamorphosis since their self-titled LP but has remained true to their cast-in-iron roots. Their new opus, The House of Atreus Act 1, is an epic-packed adventure with enough metal to sink the Titanic.
The second annual March Metal Meltdown was organized by Jack Koshick, the longtime promoter of the Milwaukee Metalfest and the Metal Mania Series. The festival was moved from last year's location in Asbury Park to the Pennsauken Expo Center, and over 120 bands played, including Testament, Hades, Immortal, Whiplash, Witchery, Immolation, Holocaust, Savage, Anvil, Hate Eternal, and the brilliant In Extremo. In addition, a half dozen pro wrestlers (Billy Real, Ace Darling, Skullcrusher, Dead Man Walking) and adult film star Jasmin St. Claire were on the premises.
Ultrasound 2000 (Las Vegas) is the next event on the calendar, promising to be the premier 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. The metal scene is alive and well, and fans of the genre have plenty to look forward to in the coming months.