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VERSUS: Force Majeure vs Lita
Welcome to another edition of Versus, the series where we look at two albums in metal history, and compare them to each other and see which one was the better record.
In this edition, we are discussing two legendary frontwomen in heavy metal. Both set the stage and inspired countless women to say that metal isn’t a “Boy’s Club” and that they can rock just as hard or even harder than anyone. Talented musicianship, impressive vocals, and careers that both span over forty years, these women are true icons in heavy metal history. Let’s see who wins this in what I’m calling “The Fight of Heavy Metal’s Vicious Vixens”.
In this corner, we have Doro with her 1989 debut Force Majeure. Her debut as a solo artist after legal name disputes with her former band Warlock, Doro kicked in the door with this record. With her ferocious vocal delivery and the band’s classic 80’s heavy metal sound, Doro hit the ground running and kickstarted her solo career with this release. Putting her name in the running as one of the strongest vocalists in heavy metal. From screaming and hostile attitude vocals, to somber and beautiful pieces, Doro showcased her range on this record. Let’s see what Force Majeure is bringing to this matchup.
Opening the album is "A Whiter Shade of Pale" a Procol Harum cover. With a synth-laden power ballad style to the song, accented by pounding drums hitting loud and proud in the mix. Doro's vocals shine and cascade over the band letting her vocals breath, as well as letting her unique vocal range be heard. With a classic 80's guitar solo by Jon Levin, seguing back into the chorus, it sets the album up with a unique opener before kicking into the following track "Save My Soul." A driving riff with thumping bass on it. Drums kicking you hard in the chorus section and then into the guitar solo.
A standout track "World Gone Wild," the song opens with a great opening driving guitar riff with great guitar leads playing behind it. The vocals are insanely good on the song, with her voice accented with reverb and delivery in the vein of Dio. With a catchy gang-chorus feel to the song, I can picture the song sounding so good with the crowd singing it live along with Doro. A great track and one of the best songs on the album. "Mission of Mercy" shows off a sultry and seductive voice in the vocals with the pounding drums behind her. With an emotional guitar solo over the rhythm section, hanging back and letting the emotional playing get accentuated.
Followed up by another standout track in "Angels with Dirty Faces." A very Judas Priest style riff, the vocals really shine on the track. A very simple riff and rhythm section, letting Doro belt her heart out and showing how strong her voice is. Following this track is the somber piano piece "Beyond The Trees." With a beautiful opening piano section and Doro's somber and sorrow-laden vocals matching the piano playing, her voice showcases the intensity in her vocals. Proving that sometimes you can say so much with a whisper than a yell. Songs like "Hard Times" and "I Am What I Am" return to the classic 80's heavy metal sound. With up-tempo drumming and fast paced guitar playing, with elements of Motörhead on these two tracks. Songs like "Cry Wolf" and "River of Tears" continue the Doro sound and showing that Doro was here to stay and has a strong debut from this German powerhouse frontwoman.
In the opposite corner, we have Lita Ford with her third album, 1988’s Lita. Her most successful record, the album launched Lita Ford into the heavy metal scene and pop culture with this record. Her attitude and swagger in her vocal delivery, a classic heavy metal sound with spots of cliché 80’s synths and keyboards, which work well on this record. Lita Ford brought her version of heavy metal into the populous and created a record that still stands to this day as one of the best heavy metal records of the 1980s.
Opening the album, we have the song "Back To The Cave." With a nice guitar riff, playing along with the synths on the track and drums hitting hard in the mix with thumping kick and bass. Ford's vocals have swagger and attitude with tiny hints of seduction and sultriness in the delivery. The bass peaks through in the sing-along chorus into a nice guitar solo by Ford herself. The song has that definitive 80's metal sound to it and is a great opener. Next is the song "Can't Catch Me" with great opening drums into a pummeling guitar. Synths show up behind the riff, adding a unique sound to the track. Ford's vocals shine on the track when everything but the drums drop. She delivers such attitude and female machoness in her delivery. A great, up-tempo feeling track that makes you bop your head along to it. With such a great vocal performance and attitude, I can picture a band like Halestorm covering this song and doing an amazing job at it.
One of the standout tracks for this album is the song "Kiss Me Deadly." A classic live-staple, this song is one of her best and launched her into heavy metal radio rotation with this hit song and matching music video. A catchy song, delivered with Ford's driving guitar playing and her tough-chick attitude in the vocals. The light piano peeking through behind her on the song adds dynamics. The song delivers that classic 80's party/feel good vibe and feel to the song's tone and makes the song a standout in Ford's discography. Other songs like "Falling In and Out of Love" is a simple song with a simple and somber piano opener with wailing lead guitars behind it. The kick drum punches hard in the mix when it comes into the song. The song lets Ford's vocals showcase on the song, with the band letting her vocals lead and standout in the song.
The album closes with the other single from the album with the somber power-ballad "Close My Eyes Forever." Featuring Ozzy Osbourne on guest vocals, the song starts with an emotional and somber acoustic guitar piece, drenched in effects. Each singer takes turn showcasing their emotional range in their vocals. Ford with her somber and heartfelt vocals, corresponding with Osbourne's wailing and sorrowful vocals. When the drums and synths kick in, it reminds me of early Ozzy and sounds like it could have been off of his early solo work. With another great guitar solo by Ford, the album ends strong with this track and closes out one of the best records Lita Ford has done.
After listening to these two legendary women and their iconic records, who won this battle? For me, I would have to go with Lita Ford and her record Lita. Ford's record was more fine-tuned, and there isn't any bloat or skippable tracks on the record. She cemented her legacy and became a household name with this record. Doro's record Force Majeure is still a strong heavy metal record, and I do like a lot of Doro's records, but after listening to both records and thinking about which one I would re-listen to again, I would have to choose Lita. Doro is still going strong, her 14th record Conqueress - Forever Strong and Proud, is expected to come out in October of this year. Lita Ford hasn't released a new record since 2016's Time Capsule but is still touring and rocking stages. Both women have left a major influence in heavy metal history and deserve all the credit and accolades they have earned. From not only making amazing music, but inspiring thousands of female musicians to pick up an instrument or microphone and give them the push to get out there and make the best metal they can make.
Do you agree with my decision? Who do you think should have won this battle? Leave your comments in the comments section below and your suggestions who you think should step in the ring next. I’m Justin, your friendly neighborhood metalhead, for This Day in Metal and this has been Versus.