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What happened Manowar? Manowar albums generally have a couple absolute classics that redeem any of the shittier songs, but this one doesn't deliver. It's just an album of tolerable metal, nothing more or less.
My biggest complaint is how generally contrived all the songs sound. It's like they walked into the studio and recorded the first ideas that came to mind. Nothing about the album musically is particularly innovative. All of the riffs, rhythms, solos, fills, etc. come off as incredibly unintricate and uninspired. The lyrics are probably the cheesiest Manowar lyrics ever to grace an album, and not the good cheesy that Manowar usually manages to provide. The songs just don't accomplish anything besides filling up the album. There's no real stand out tracks, although it's clear which tracks suck. "Drums of Doom" is the most pitiful attempt at an intro track/drum solo ever, with the other short track "Master of Revenge" hot on its heels. "Blow Your Speakers" blows, pun intended. If you're going to sing about defying MTV, don't do it in a song that sounds like something fucking Extreme would do. Most of the songs actually border on hard rock, rather than metal, the exception being the furious "Black Wind, Fire, and Steel," and perhaps "Holy War." "Defender," featuring an Orson Welles spoken intro, would be really good if it didn't drag itself to death after the intro. The album is decent to listen to, but it gets really boring, really fast.
The other big problem is the album's production. Not only are the songs weak as Manowar could have written them, they're recorded in a way that makes them sound even weaker. None of the songs inspire manic head banging, half because of the shitty songwriting, half because of the shitty production.
Redeeming qualities? Eric Adams' over the top vocal performance. He's one of the only vocalists that makes it sound good rather than cheesy, and his high pitched screams are among some of metal's best. Too bad nobody else on this album measures up.
This is pretty much the sorest spot in the Manowar discography, as they'd be back to powerhouse songwriting by their next album, Kings of Metal. It's worth a shot of you're into Manowar, but it's not half as good as any of their other albums.