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I'm a huge Manowar fan. I love all of their albums. I know how a lot of people feel about Manowar, so this review takes those people into consideration.
People who don't like Manowar can like this album. It's not nearly as "cheesy" as the later works, including lyrics. It's still got the Manowar sound that all Manowar fans love, but it's different in some way. There's a really "young" sound to it, which isn't surprising since this is their debut. It's more straight forward, and less over the top.
The vocals from Eric Adams are top notch, as always. Probably one of the high points of this album. He puts attitude in his vocals, and he's got a really powerful voice. He can hit the low and high notes. His vocals give Manowar part of their distinctive sound, and I think he's great on this album. Very accessible vocals, easy to sing along to, and very FUN to sing along to.
Joey DeMaio, the bassist, and main songwriter, shows on this album. He uses an 8 string bass on some songs (like Battle Hymn), and plays it like a regular guitar, with a pick. He's got some great basslines on here, like on Fast Taker and his solo, William's Tale. He mainly follows the rhythm guitar, but he has some leads and sometimes he stops playing pedal riffs. He adds some of the "power" to Manowar, since his 8 string bass is tuned as a bass with a second string set tuned one octave higher (so it's EeAaDdGg). I've been told the intro to "Battle Hymn" is this bass alone, but I'm not sure on this.
The guitar work is catchy, and the riffs are epic sounding and very memorable. The leads are even more memorable, and I find myself singing along to them every time I listen to this album. None of the guitar work is very technical, and the guitar sounds like it's layered once, so there are two rhythm guitars, and one rhythm guitar during leads. Joey provides rhythm during the leads at some times.
The drumming isn't remarkable. It's just average 1980s heavy metal drumming. Just there to add some power to the music and to keep time. Not much to say here.
Manowar has had an awesome career, and this is the start of it. I started with this album, and I'd advise new fans to do the same. If you're into Motorhead, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, or any heavy metal or power metal from the 80s, you'll like this album. I don't see why a lot of people hate Manowar, but it's their loss I say.
My favorite tracks are Death Tone, Metal Daze, Fast Taker and Battle Hymn.