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Maniac was a heavily expressed live band, which shows its mark in that the songs are designed with crowd sing-alongs from the very start. They even prepared cheer lyrics and stage talks. Then again this was an eighties release when metal pretty much lived on stages and in tour buses. The self-titled album is short and varied enough to keep the listener’s ears and interest throughout the album, and good enough to attract it in the first place.
There’s plenty of classical speed metal here, sounding a lot like Running Wild, Loudness and Vampyr. A lot like Savage Steel would do a few years later. The drums are the classic ones, no double-bass but an undenying rhythmic beat that often proves so much better. The guitars sound like one part Judas Priest-worship, one part Exhorder-worship and a pinch of sludge. You could say they use Running Wild-riffs with more space and time for each chord to sink into the brain tissue.
Bands from the eighties always had one slow song on the album. Maniac confirms the rule. God of Thunder sounds like the essence of “true metal” long before Manowar got their recognition. God of Thunder does however not remind as much of Manowar as of Wizard. In deed tempo, riffing, melody lines and vocal style are all very close. The bass could’ve been harder and more menacing, but you can’t get everything.
The vocals are over par. In deed the voice is no more than decent, but he sings well and does all ends of the scales without problem. They do have their similarities with the ones on Judas Priest’s Hell Bent For Leather album. Which could be summed up as good, not as good as Mr. Halford though. All in all, it's a consistent album that could be recommended to everyone into speed metal.
This is not a bad album - for 1985, it's pretty good. A slightly sped up version of Accept. These guys hail from Austria, and do classic/speed metal in the German style. i.e. Helloween, except they are contemporaries of Helloween and not quite as creative, so we have something a bit more subdued. There is nothing as overtly flashy as Ride the Sky here, and there is a far heavier groove present, in the vein of some of the middle-era Accept albums (Balls to the Wall for instance). That said, it brings more to the table than the total imitators like Tyran Pace, and is overall worth mentioning.
There exists a great 80s-style overtone to the album, especially in the lyrics but also the riff construction. These guys listened to their Accept, and also to their Motley Crue. Songs like "Dressed to Kill" and "God of Thunder" sound like a Teutonic "Shout at the Devil". That said, "You Don't Know It" is total blazing speed, like Fast as a Shark, and "We Swear at You" (should be "To You" but hey, English is not their thing) is a nice epic number that rings a few Manowar "Battle Hymns" bells.
The rest - good riffs, nice headbanging material. It tends to get just a bit old by the end, if there were one more song on the album I'd declare it overlong but for now it's pretty good. Vocals are average and accented, riffs solid, and lead guitar tasteful if not exactly Kai Hansen in originality. A decent album.