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Black Wind, Fire And Steel - 95%

Vim_Fuego, August 6th, 2004

heavy metal n. 1. heavy guns. 2. metal of high density. 3 (often attrib.) colloq. A type of highly amplified harsh–sounding rock music with a strong beat and frequent theatrical performance. 4. Manowar.

Manowar probably say it best themselves — death to false metal, forever fighting the world. No band has stayed truer to the cause of heavy metal in the past 20 years than Manowar. Bowing to no trend, this band has peddled straightforward metal in the face of opposition from all sides. No compromise, no bullshit, just metal. For some reason, this attitude has seen Manowar become the object of derision and mirth among many a so–called metal fan.

Y'see, Manowar have this homoerotic thing going on. They dress like rejected extras from a Village People video. A lot of people can't seem to see past the codpieces, rippling muscles and the dodgy leather pants. It's a shame, because behind the codpieces you will find… heavy fucking metal, of the highest order! (If you thought anything else, you have a dirty mind.)

Second best is not good enough for Joey De Maio, self–styled macho man, bass virtuoso and visionary driving force behind Manowar. Here you will find only the best in production values, the best available musicians, and some of the best sounding metal you will ever hear. The definition on this album is crystal clear. It is one of those recordings where you feel the urge to keep turning the volume louder and louder because it sounds so damn good. And anyway, it's Manowar, so "turn it up louder 'til we all get fried"!

Vocalist Eric Adams has a dramatic, theatrical voice, able to hit those oh so metal falsetto screams with ease. The drum sound here is absolutely booming. Even the drum kit is called the Drums of Death. "It is the ultimate drum system in the universe. Everything else is junk", according to the liner notes. De Maio's bass work needs to be heard to be believed. He consistently outplays guitarist Ross the Boss, who is no slouch himself.

The proof, they say, is in the pudding. Manowar lay on a veritable banquet of goodies. The trio of opening tracks, "Fighting The World", "Blow Your Speakers" and "Carry On" all espouse the virtues of furthering the metal cause. "Holy War" and the almost thrash metal track "Black wind, Fire and Steel" are pure Dungeons and Dragons fare.