Warlock – Triumph and Agony

We Are All

Triumph and Agony is not the Warlock album you think it is. And what you’re going to read about its making is unlike any album we’ve inducted into the Hall of Fame. Hell, everything we thought we knew was turned upside down when we started researching the making of a record that transformed Teutonic vocalist Doro Pesch from the fiery frontperson of a scrappy Scorpions- and Accept-influenced German quintet into a global metal icon.

The Hall of Fame has always been about the music, but this one transcends the songs. Triumph and Agony was Pesch stepping forward and taking control of her destiny in a very real way. After three albums of unsatisfactory commercial results—Burning the Witches (1984), Hellbound (1985) and True as Steel (1986)—with the (more or less) original lineup of German musicians who formed the band, Doro realized she needed to shake things up.

The making of Triumph and Agony is really a New York story. It was primarily recorded at the famous Power Station studio in midtown Manhattan by largely New York-based musicians and a New York producer, Joey Balin. It’s a powerful, expertly crafted album that feels very American, and has more in common with the surging ’80s commercial metal scene in the U.S. than what was happening in Europe, for the most part. And those album credits on the inner sleeve? You can pretty much ignore them. Tommy Henriksen didn’t play bass; longtime Warlock drummer Michael Eurich performed very little on the finished product; and most of Niko Arvanitis’ guitar parts were actually re-recorded by newcomer/NYC native Tommy Bolan, whose bombastic playing (and personality) helped define this album.

In one sense, Triumph and Agony is the ultimate Warlock album, and yet it’s not really a “Warlock” album at all. It would be the last album released as Warlock, thanks to a conniving former manager, and its success would launch Pesch’s decades-long career. The 10-song record is bookended by a true ’80s hard rock anthem (“All We Are”) and a ballad sung in German (“Für Immer”), both of which have remained in Warlock/Doro’s setlists ever since. It sounds little like its three power metal-style predecessors, and even less like subsequent Doro albums, which is likely why, 34 years after its release, it’s still beloved worldwide and has found its way into the Decibel Hall of Fame.

Need more Warlock? To read the entire seven-page story, featuring interviews with the members who performed on Triumph and Agony, purchase the print issue from our store, or digitally via our app for iPhone/iPad or Android.