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If you are objective, open minded, you will know how to appreciate this peace of art. It's standard Manowar, this time with massive orchestrations. This is totally natural thing since they were the ones who laid foundation for heavy metal's sub-genre called symphonic metal. It began with The Crown And The Ring (Lament Of The Kings), although that song doesn't have electric guitars. But still, it sounds so heavy, 'cause they are heavy metal enough even without distorted guitars. This release has lots of short introduction songs and some instrumental overtures done in classical music style, because of Richard Wagner's influence. If you know something about Manowar, then you noticed that these stories in The Blood Of Odin and Glory Majesty Unity are done in the vein of The Warrior's Prayer from Kings Of Metal album. So, they continued this epic story from 1988, and put it into this concept album, which consists of Norse Mythology, heavy metal, Manowar and their fans. Also, Warriors Of The World had short classical piece Valhalla and longer The March, so symphonic metal tendencies are not strange in Manowar's music.
Joey DeMaio fully unveiled his artistic nature and showed his ability, creativity and talent to make classical music overtures: Overture To The Hymn Of The Immortal Warriors and Overture To Odin, introduction parts: The Ascension and beginning of Sleipnir as well, and epic stories: The Blood Of Odin and Glory Majesty Unity. These songs are the ones which turned this release into a concept album, since they don't have electric guitar, bass guitar and drums, but classical instruments and choir. When you remove these introductions, overtures and stories, instead of 16 songs, them 9 are songs where you can expect standard vocals, drums, bass and electric guitars. Parts where band members are notable in these classical songs are The Ascension, which is introduction for King Of Kings where Eric starts to sing, and Joey is narrator of The Blood Of Odin story. Army Of The Dead Part 1 features Eric, along with orchestrations and choir. Army Of The Dead Part 2 has identical lyrics, and the only difference is that Part 2 has keyboards (with organ effect) intro where Joey kicks serious ass. Some can consider these songs as filler, because if you look few years back, since The Triumph Of Steel, it takes them from 4, 5 to 6 years to release new studio albums. They toured a lot few years back, they had line-up changes, so it's natural that it takes lots of time to make new material, but lack of inspiration can't be ignored too.
Manowar is a band that needs time to release new studio albums, but once they come out, they can't disappoint. It's worth waiting, since they do not release crap garbage every year, but high quality heavy metal material. What really will blow away any serious listener are these killer songs. Eric played really important role here, and did impressive job. After all these years he was still capable to do high-pitched screams in King Of Kings, Loki God Of Fire, Die For Metal, Blood Brothers and in ending of the song Gods Of War. His voice filled these songs with insane amount of power, specially mind-blowing combination with strong chorus in songs Sons Of Odin and Gods Of War, where whole thing is taken to higher level, and with symphonic arrangements these two songs sound massive, epic and orgasmic. Hymn Of The Immortal Warriors received the same blessing, and it has even more epic feel when Joey starts the narration, and when he finishes, Eric starts along with choir which always make me shudder. Eric's intonation in Sleipnir's refrains is of key importance, otherwise song wouldn't sound that great. Karl Logan made excellent guitar solos. Slow, with lots of passion to fit the mood of Blood Brothers power ballad and Hymn Of Immortal Warriors, which sounds like a national anthem. Word "hymn" in the title makes perfect sense.
Semi-furious, but technical solos are in Gods Of War, Odin and Die For Metal, and insanely furious solos full of arpeggios, sweeps and shredding in King Of Kings, with some slower parts, but with guitar rape in Sleipnir, and with use of tremolo to squeeze those notes. In Loki God Of Fire and Sons Of Odin he continued fast kick-ass playing. Odin has nice lead guitar which causes eargasm, and Loki God Of Fire has insane ending soloing along with Eric's singing, so you can't hear well some of his solo parts. It's refreshing to hear something like that, not just solos in the middle of the song without vocals. Although this release is not full of memorable riffs, Loki God Of Fire and Die For Metal have riffs which slay, and enough to leave great impression for the entire release. He placed power chords well in fast songs King Of Kings, Sleipnir, Loki God Of Fire, in mid tempo songs Sons Of Odin, Gods Of War and in slow songs Die For Metal, Blood Brothers and Hymn Of The Immortal Warriors. Joey's bass guitar is not dominant on this release, but he was dedicated to keyboards with organ effect and narrations in some parts of the songs. Scott Columbus could have done some different and more creative beats, instead of constant repeating the same pattern during the songs' durations. Songs still sound excellent, and other members covered this lack.
Good sides of this release:
This is unique symphonic metal masterpiece. Unique because Joey and Karl have custom made equipment, their own Manowar distortion, there's only one Eric Adams and because orchestration here sounds totally different than any other band in heavy metal music did. Manowar proved they can set standards for symphonic metal, after years of classic heavy metal and power metal domination. This is really epic studio album, and word "epic" should be under their copyright hold.
Bad sides of this release:
May turn off lazy asses and narrow minded people who simply don't want to listen carefully and try to appreciate these excellent classical music parts.
Everything. If you listen from beginning to the end, it leaves even bigger impression.
Though the cover to Manowar's 10th studio full-length album has something to appeal to those of any sexuality, I have spent the past two years burdened with a question that burns my mind and threatens the delicate balance of the universe...
Who gets the fifth chick, Manowar?
Who does she belong to? Odin? Thor? Does the band split her, or are they all 'community' to be shared, and thus the unbalanced numbers mean for naught. I may never know the answer to this. For all I know, none of the men and women adorning this album cover have any interest in those of the opposite sex.
Tits, ass and pectorals aside, Gods of War was a pretty daring dash to restore the faith of the band's massive fandom and re-enter a world loaded with spastic, corny power metal bands like Dragonforce who are amusingly even more dorky than the Kings. The ninth album, Warriors of the World, may have had a herald or two of memorable material sure to fire up the band's live sets, but they had been producing fairly mediocre (and fully overrated) work since the great year of 1984. Oh, fans will laud every accolade possible upon the ironic, iconic figureheads, but let's face facts. A lot of the band's charm of the early 80s was lost in cut and paste self-tributes to sate a rather numb crowd, hyped on Budweiser and cocaine and the steam of their own wind. Gods of War goes quite a distance to restore this, but you will have to dig a little, beyond the overinflated narrative of the album, which will probably have you in stitches.
For instance, you might have to look beyond the title to the pompous opening track, "Overture to the Hymn of the Immortal Warriors", and also the rather lackluster, symphonic music which is more fitting for a carousel than a head banging. Oh yeah, it's SIX FUCKING MINUTES LONG. And when it ends, and you're ready for the guitars to rip and Eric Adams to scream and blow your mind and cherry out...you get NOTHING. You get another 2:30 minute symphonic piece titled "The Ascension", though at least Adams sings on it. And then, at long last, "King of Kings", which is so much different than "Kings of Metal", you get a pretty standard Manowar number, with choppy guitars that pummel alongside a steady rockin' beat and Adams' dirty mid range. "Army of the Dead Part I" is another intro with Adams soaring across it, and "Sleipnir" has even more of the goofy narrative, but at least it ends in a little metal thunder.
With "Loki God of Fire", we get the first worthwhile Manowar song, splitting the sky with some burnin' rhythms and a nice little break in the bridge, with some speed pickin'. "Blood Brothers" is a power ballad, but it's hardly offensive, as Adams can carry such a song and have every lighter swaying and male or female zipper longing to burst. "Overture of Odin" is more symphony. "The Blood of Odin" is MORE symphony, with narrative. "Sons of Odin", well that's a metal track, with a plodding bass, great solos, and some powerful (if cheesy) anthemic vocal melodies. "Glory Majesty Unity" is another symp...alright, fuck it.
These are the remaining metal songs on this album: "Gods of War" is huge and totally lame, but I wound up smiling anyway, because they build such a glorious cornball atmosphere that I'm surprised Meat Loaf doesn't bust out in the middle with some of his howling. "Odin", just Odin, mind ye, and the fourth track on the album to contain the name Odin, is one of the better tracks here, though the band seems afraid to really pick up the pace. "Hymn of the Immortal Warriors" is part bombast, but does evoke a little metal near the climax. Bonus track "Die for Metal" is totally lame and totally awesome, suck on that Hammerfall! Of course, it's only considered a bonus track because it isn't part of the Gods of War concept, which is to libate Odin and Thor and every other generic Norse concept, hammering them into stupidity. And of course, it cannibalizes their own past lyrics song titles, but it does at least rock.
'They said hold your head up high
Raise your fist up in the air
Play Metal louder than Hell
Louder than Hell'
Manowar devotees are so blindly obedient that the band is far beyond criticism. As for the rest of us, you can probably enjoy this album if you:
1. Shut off your brain.
2. Forget all standards (should happen as a result of #1).
3. Have a ready supply of beer and/or cocaine.
4. Stop wondering about that fifth nekkid broad on the cover.
Highlights: bound to occur whenever the 'Kings of Metal' get the brilliant idea to actually play metal
Manowar seem to be a bit curious these days. When I first got into them, and for years afterwards, they were one of the bands that defined traditional Heavy Metal and how it should be played. From the straightforward debut Battle Hymns, through the more laid-back and accessible Fighting The World, to the bombastic The Triumph Of Steel, this was Heavy Metal that was powerful, memorable, and rarely failed to the the adrenaline flowing and heads banging.
These days, though...well, I don't know what's going on, really. This is only their third studio album in 15 years since the aforementioned Triumph Of Steel, and in the abscence of extensive touring to keep us happy, you'd expect these albums to be bloody exciting affairs. Unfortunately their last album, Warriors Of The World, has been gathering dust in my collection for years, owing to it being an EP's worth of Metal songs (and not their best at that) accompanied by rather dull orchestra pieces. Finding out that this album would be similarly orchestral sent alarm bells ringing, but, Hell, I thought...it can't be worse than the last one, and if it's done well it should be something epic. That's what Manowar do best, right?
Let's not fuck around here. This is an orchestral epic, both musically and in the amount of space on the album the strings take up. Given that this is a conceptual piece about Odin with some artistic liberties being taken - more a comic book story than an accurate representation of Pagan gods - you HAVE to take in this album as a whole and appreciate it as such. Dipping in from song to song will probably only disappoint. Though there's a good 40 minutes worth of Metal material here - remember when albums came on vinyl and lasted that long? - it's somewhat overwhelmed by the material around it. However, unlike last time, the Metal is interwoven into the orchestral pieces, and they work together to drive the album and story forward. The good old Mano-choir is ever-present to ensure continuity between the two styles, along with various spoken word passages and orchestral interludes scattered over the album. That bassist Joey DeMaio has produced and engineered the album and written almost all of the material is indicative of how this album is supposed to work as a whole. If you've got 73 minutes spare to sit through it, then fine. You'll need that to get the most out of it.
The orchestral parts themselves are listenable enough. Obviously they'll probably be more rewarding for fans of classical music...or maybe those people will find all kinds of faults to pick with it. I dunno. Those needing headbanging goodness all the way have probably figured out to steer clear by now, so never mind them. Those of us in the middle, though, will probably be able to enjoy these parts for their epic nature. They might even be more enjoyable than the actually Metal songs...
This is where things get awkward. These songs are good enough in themselves, and pleasing to the ear. However, they are pleasing to the ear because there's nothing pushing the boat out that could throw you off and ruin them. Unfortunately, because there's no boat being pushed out, there's nothing particularly great out them. No classic riffs or solos like before, nothing approaching technical playing (except about two guitar solos, maybe?). Eric Adams steals the show here, his voice still as pure and powerful as it was in 1982, even if the screaming of old is largely gone. Otherwise, it's standard riffs and rhythms. Good enough, but nothing to go crazy over. Thank god the band finally got a good producer though (cheers Joey!). I don't think the band has ever sounded so crisp, and this would have been essential for the album's musical concept to work. Helps make up for the lack of imagination in the songs too.
For all the faults mentioned here, though, I cannot emphasise enough how this has to be taken as a conceptual entireity. The whole is arguably greater than the sum of it's parts. Listened to from beginning to end, if the orchestra and epic theme can be appreciated, then it works. I tip my hat to Manowar to trying something different (though this is hardly different to fans of Rhapsody and their ilk, but they'll lap this one up anyway), but I do hope that when it comes to putting out a kick-ass, nothing but HEAVY METAL album, they'll be upping the ante again by playing their guitars, pounding the drums and screaming down the roof like before. If they keep to schedule, hopefully they can do something for 2012 that moves the world the same way that Battle Hymns did in 1982. In the meantime, this will do...
Originally written for http://www.metalmongrel.com
I've managed to miss most of what Manowar has been doing in the last few years so when I heard this album was coming out and that it would be a true concept album about the Norse mythology, I got pretty excited. Aside from such great bands like Tyr, Amon Amarth, Manilla Road, etc I couldn't think of a better band to do such an album especially given Manowars track record with such topics in such classics as Into Glory Ride, Hail to England or their epicness in in Kings of Metal, Triumph of Steel, etc. Thus, armed with these such expectations I warded into this album.
If one has read anything in the reviews the sense that their is a lack of power to be found in these songs is absolutely what I found to be the case. Where was Adam's treble shattering falsetto when many, many moments on this album called for him to let loose like in Hail to England? Where where the killer riffs that should have kicked in repeatedly throughout this album but always managed to dissipate into blandness halfway through? And most of all, where was the accompanying awesome solos Manowar is so fraught with in their older works? I didn't even start to expect the drums to be amazing as half-way through it became abundantly clear that Columbus probably didn't break out the steel plated drums for this one.
Compared to any of their great works, Glory, England, Kings, or Triumph, this album is missing pretty much everything about those that made them great. The drumming of Glory, the vocals/solos/riffs of England, the orchestral epicness or Kings or Triumph....all not to be found.
Instead, what I got and actually happened to like, was a huge swaggering sense of bombastic, not epic, glory in the form of many, many awesome spoken word tomes and orchestral selections. Then when the album truly kicked off, in every case, major failure to deliver except in some cases such as "King of Kings'' or "Blood of Odin".
This was a huge shame in my view as most bands as old as Manowar are really putting out some of their best work in recent days, i.e. - Manilla Road, Dio, etc and while what I got was not as huge a change in style as to kill the enjoyment of the album (such as the latest couple albums from Running Wild for example) the musical intensity was very much absent. This absence didn't make me hate the album enough to toss it completely, as the lyrics, spoken word, and orchestral selections are just great by themselves or in mixes, but I can't say that anyone who is not as fond of such things to check this album out if they aren't just a complete fanboy. I mentioned Manilla Road earlier and I absolutely see that kind of spirit absent in "Gods of War" in their playing nowadays and highly recommend their last album, "Gates of Fire" to this album as in that they follow the true Manowar code: that real men play on 10.
'Gods of War' is, without a doubt, the most nuanced and artistic work of Manowar's career; and on that note alone I wish I could just give it 100% and be done with it, so much do I want to cheer Joey DeMaio's sheer audacity. However, there are definite flaws here; avoidable flaws, and ones that drag down the work to merely 'very good'. But it could have been so much more, and perhaps - next time - it will be.
First, then, the good. Manowar could have made all of their fans happy just by releasing a million slightly different versions of 'Kill with Power' for the rest of their career; but commendably, they refuse to do so. This album is instead a collection of highly symphonic, trad-metal influenced pieces (in melodic, thematic and harmonic construction rather than timbre), spoken word storytelling and a couple of thundering Manowar classics thrown in for good measure. The orchestral effects by far outweigh the guitars on this album, which will be a problem for more unadventurous metal fans; however, by breaking free from the ever-more restrictive environment of the genre, Manowar have transcended it, giving this work a much greater dramatic and musical range than their more standard fare.
Manowar's presentation of the Norse myths is, at times, utterly perfect; 'The Blood of Odin' (a spoken word passage augmented by sombre orchestral flourishes) in particular is almost ludicrously powerful. Indeed, the myths and legends fit so well here that they seem almost inseperable from the band's music; heroism, comradeship, and the absolute reverance to power and the ideal of the warrior are expressed in a fashion that I suspect the Vikings themselves would have heartily approved of. The greatest achievement of this album is that it feels deeply authentic, something that very few other Viking-themed works have ever managed. Mightily overblown it may well be, but overblown is the only way to go with emotional themes this grandiose, this epic. There is no nihilism, no cynicism; the music expresses a rich tapestry where life is cherished, glory is sought, and the valorous need not fear death.
In addition, some of the melodies played on 'Gods of War' are, without doubt, amongst the best Manowar have ever penned, or even some of the most blood-stirring recorded in the pantheon of metal; see the chorus to 'Sleipnir', 'The Sons of Odin' and the beautiful a capella chorale, 'Army of the Dead' - a title that sounds cheesy, and yet when the lyrics are examined turns out to be surprisingly poetic given Manowar's past history. (I mean... 'Kill with Power'? Come on!) For those who find themes of heroism and glory deeply satisfying, here are the tunes to absolutely express those feelings.
But, nevertheless, there are problems. Repetition plagues this release; from lyrical snippets to musical motifs that eventually get stale. Manowar have broken up longer pieces into separate chunks and spread them across the album; this works well, as the pieces combined would have got unbearably repetitious. Even so, some of the pieces tend to flag. Nor are only musical motifs overused; the phrase 'swords in the wind' is abused to an absolutely ludicrious extent, as though DeMaio basically ran out of things to say and just filled the remaining few lines with generic warrior cliches instead. There are also the occasional wholesale repetition of stories; one gets the feeling that DeMaio liked them so much he wanted to experiment with different ways of presenting them, but I'd have preferred a greater amount of original material. It is disappointing, as it jars with the otherwise excellent work seen here.
Another minor niggle are the 'pre-gaps'; there are long breaks in between songs, disrupting the flow of the work in a way that irritates, and makes the whole album sound a more disjointed collection than it should, given the well-handled application of the theme elsewhere. Then there are a some genuinely weak tracks: 'Loki God of Fire' is heavy and powerful, but lacks the melodic weight that the rest of the work displays in abundance; 'Blood Brothers' is embarrasingly homo-erotic (literally); and 'Die for Metal' - whilst being enjoyable enough piece of typical Manowar ego-wanking in and of itself - simply does not fit with the serious nature of the rest of the album.
In conclusion, a flawed masterpiece. Manowar's bravery and their superlative presentation of the matierial are to be commended, but some aspects of the delivery falter. One final note: do not buy this if you think that a distorted guitar is the only criteria for good music. Do not buy this if you have no love for epic myths and heroic fantasy. Do not buy this if you cannot handle music that ostentatoiusly wears its heart on its sleeve. Otherwise, go get it immediately; daring should always be rewarded.
The flack that this album seems to have generated galls me. I would ask why but I don't need to because a great many people have written why on this very site. Luckily a great many people are dead wrong. This album is a masterpiece of epic proportions. A truely magical and enthrawling journey through one of the greatest stories ever told. The story of Odin is so great, so important to the metal world that a concept album about it could only be carried out by the greatest of metal bands. I think it's fair to say that if any band is deserving of that title it is Manowar.
One of the main problems people have with this album seems to be the spoken word parts. I ask whats wrong with them? As I see it they are integral parts of the album. The album is telling a story, personally I think they are just as entertaining as some of the songs (and that is not a dig at the songs) and without them the album would become quite pointless. Too many of them? SKIP THEM IDIOT! Chances are your CD/MP2 player has a "Next track" feature, use it! As to the argument that one shouldn't be required to skip tracks in order to enjoy an album, well that's your own damn fault isn't it. Any normal and sane person would relish the chance to hear something a little different, especially when done so well and by such a great band.
Whats another false accusation thrown at this album? Oh yes, that the metal songs are somewhat weak. Do us all a favour and SHUT UP! Sleipnir is a mighty track. Logan's guitar is simply superb, the lyrics are brilliant and the chorus although oft repeated is a singalong classic. Sons of Odin does have a slightly simple guitar line, so fucking what? It still sounds great, it still sounds mighty, it still sounds fucking epic. King of Kings I won't go near because It's had good reviews all round and Loki God of Fire isn't the best song Manowar ever cut but it's not too bad. Gods of War. Where do I fucking start? This song is what Manowar are all about. If you were marching into battle this is the song you would want to be marching to. The best word I have heard to describe it is simply "Relentless".
What about the less heavy songs? Blood Brothers? Yeah ok so it's quite possibly the cheesiest song Manowar ever did but I still quite like it, if nothing else the lyrics are lovely, cheesy but still quite lovely. Odin? Quite simply superb. Starts off as an average song with nice guitars but when the Army of the Dead refrain hits you know that this song is something special, something wonderous, dare I say it something epic. Hymn of the Immortal Warriors? If someone said that I could only ever listen to one song from this album I would choose this one. It is the perfect progressive metal song, starting with quiet subdued guitars and whispered vocals but gradually building up to an epic and thouroughly empowering singalong finale.
Finally I will adress the ludicrous argument that this album isn't metal. It is, plain and simply one of the most metal albums I have ever owned. Ok so it's not as heavy as other albums but that means jack when it comes to metal. Master of the Wind isn't heavy but it's more metal than most of the tat that passes nowadays. Metal is a theme, a feeling, a state of mind if you will, it has nothing to do with heavy guitars and pounding drums. They serve only to enhance the message that metal brings. Are you honestly suggesting that the lyrics "Raise thy weapons on this night, ye shall not die alone" aren't metal. If that's what you think then you shouldn't be listening to Manowar, heck you shouldn't be listening to metal period.
Here's a perfect summary of my feelings on this album: you go for a meal, expecting some vast 4-course banquet to leave you stuffed for a week. What arrives is barely half a small plateful spread out over a single large plate, and one that has no flavour or taste at all. Afterwards you feel empty as ever, as if somehow everything was just left out. You wonder "Was that the right meal?" and equally with Manowar's "Gods of War" you have to wonder "Was that the right album, or did I just get given someone's early demo work, half-finished?" And bear in mind, I am a generous reviewer, I tend to look at the positive in my reviews, I am not one to slag things off lightly. Truly, this is far, far worse than the much-loathed St. Anger or other such attempts considering poor by the masses (which I often disagree with).
The vocals are powerful, and while the lyrics are cheesy this is Manowar, what do you expect? No, they can't be blamed for that much. Also, the concept behind it is a good one, and is actually carried out quite well most of the time, fair kudos for that. What makes this album quite a damp squib is the simple lack of musical power. The thing that really drags it down is not only are there too many plain speaking parts, but even the "full-on" parts still feel devoid and empty. Often it just sounds like a really basic drum beat and a single riff being played over and over while the singing goes on. Seriously, go listen to Van Canto's a'cappelo album debut, with just voices and drums, an excellent piece. It honestly sounds fuller and more complete than this, their voices contain more power and impact than the guitars here.
It feels so very empty, similar to Annihilator's recent offering "Metal", but unlike "Metal" it seems less due to the mix or production, more simply because the songs just aren't very good. They're plain and simple. The solos are very short and not very powerful. The drums are boring and repetitive. The guitar work is drab and lifeless, doing little more than setting a pace behind the vocals. And while the vocals are good, half of that is only due to the electronic effect used on it (have a listen to the closing seconds of Sleipnir to see exactly what I mean there). It just feels too much like there's no substance, a theme that runs through the album as a whole due to the number of filler tracks, and the individual songs too, they honestly sound rather pathetic at times, and it's sad that such an established act should fall to this.
As has been pointed out in other reviews, there are actually just 47 minutes of metal to it, the rest is filler. Now, this could actually be forgiven for the most part. 25+ minutes of filler is simply too much, it's more than a third of the thing, but I wouldn't mind much IF there was a pay off. But even those 47 minutes of metal are bad metal, some of the most simplistic and uninspired I've heard in a long time. The narration is good, and some of it would be perfectly fine, if only every track were more like King of Kings and they maybe cut half the padding out. 15 minutes worth in an hour long album, with a good solid 7-10 Manowar songs would be a perfectly respectable album. As it is, it fails badly.
Even as a debut demo from a starting band this would be poor. From someone like Manowar it's frankly embarassing. Every aspect sounds like Manowar came up with a quarter of what they should have done and said "Well, we can pad it out, they'll never notice". Each song feels like half of song in every way. It sounds like there aren't enough riffs, the solos sound way too short, each song sounds like it has half as many vocals as it should, they end so quickly...the list goes on. There's simply not enough substance to make a full album here, this amounts to maybe an EP of work, no more. It frankly sounds like it was put together by complete newcomers who have no idea what they're doing, and think that a single riff, a dozen lines and some beginner level drumming makes a full song. No, it's doesn't. It doesn't make a full song at all, and this is supposed to be "Epic metal". Nothing whatsoever is epic here, I can promise you.
A few specifics:
Loki God of Fire is truly terrible. It's only 3:49 long, and for the last THIRD of the song it just repeats the same damn thing over and over again. It gets very boring, and feels like a single section of a song stretched out.
The Overture tracks, the songs done with a grand organ and orchestral sound, are actually the most complete sounding track here! It sounds properly done and fleshed out...if only the rest did.
Sons of Odin: Half the track is mindless plucking with talking. The other half is literally just a basic riff repeating over and over with quiet drums you can easily miss. It honestly sounds like one long build-up which should be a total of one minute, before the main song starts. Instead it's the whole track, and dragged out over 6 and a half minutes. You get to the big "explosive" (and I use this term only comparatively) ending and think "That's it?"
There are one or two nice bits to note about the album though:
King of Kings is pretty decent actually. It shows some of what will drag the rest of the album down, at times feeling too simple, but for the most part it fits better with old-style Manowar, and the lyrics are very good, they flow well and match the instruments, and the drums actually have some power to them here.
The "bonus track", Die For Metal, is actually pretty good too. The lyrics are kinda cheesy, but actually less so than Annihilator's "Army of One" (another suitable comparison point to be drawn), because this track achieves what it sets out to do. Yes, it's simple, but unlike the rest of the album it feels right, feels like it should be simple and catchy. The rest of the album feels like it's trying to be big and bold and epic, and failing. Same with Annihilator's "Army of One", which felt like it was trying to be more than it could. Die For Metal is actually pretty inspiring most of the time, and the basic riffing works well to emphasise the solid lyrics, delivered with genuine power and feeling. It's perhaps a bit of a sad fact that the best track on the album is the "bonus" track, set apart from the rest.
What's annoying is that one of the things it gets criticised for, the number of spoken build-up tracks, could actually have paid off well. Those filler pieces could have been really nice builds to big, vast, epic numbers. As it is, they only highlight how empty the "non-filler" tracks are, because there's little difference other than basic guitar and drum work going on behind the voice. KISS's "God of Thunder" produces a far better effect than this does, and that should tell you something on it's own.
I have heard people defend it, saying that spoken parts and so on enhance this whole. This is sometimes true, but nearly half the album? That's simply too much. Emperorjvl gets this album spot on: spoken/orchestral bits have been used before and to great effect, but only when they enhance the song and album as a whole. Here they just feel like they're used to pad out the album because there simply isn't a full album of material here, and thus while these parts can make the whole better, they can also make the whole much worse when it doesn't work. And then the rest of the material just sounds uninspired and dull.
So I'll give it about 30%. This is because, of the 16 tracks, only about two or three are really worthwhile, with the odd scattered bit in elsewhere, probably coming to about a 20% score total, and then a bit extra because the concept itself is nice and a few narration/filler bits are okay really. Without King of Kings and Die For Metal this would get about 10% or so tops.
Personally, I can't understand why so many people hate this album and complain that there's not enough 'true metal songs' on it. Imagine that Manowar had realesed typical metal album instead of 'Gods of War' - with standard heavy metal songs, two or three ballads etc. I bet that there would have been complaints that they are doing the same over and over again. The conclusion is: you can't please everyone and, secondly, people enjoy complaining.
Now I think I should write something about the album itself. 'Gods of War' is a concept album based on Norse mythology. It focuses on Odin - nordic god of war (surprise, surprise). To build proper atmosphere Manowar included spoken introductions, overtures and other similar things. They occupy a large part of the album and are a main cause of complaints. However, I think they are necessary to link the other songs together and keep the story in one piece. Some of them are also quite interesting. To be honest, I can't imagine listening to the title track without might introduction 'Glory Majesty Unity' - it just wouldn't be the same.
And now a word or two about more traditional tracks. They are all excellent. 'King of Kings', 'Sleipnir' and 'Loki God of Fire' are fast and powerful heavy metal songs with mighty sing-along choruses. There are also slower but massive songs, which crush everything around - especially worth mentioning is the title track. And, last but not least, there is a ballad - 'Blood Brothers'. It's a traditional Manowar ballad, maybe not as powerful as 'Swords in the Wind' but still very enjoyable. Ah, there is also 'bonus track' - an if-you-don't-like-metal-we-will-kill-you song called 'Die for Metal', which includes some funny lyrics ('...and the guy beside me gave me a beer').
Here I should write how great the album is and recommend it to everyone, right? Wrong. I mean, it is great but I think it's just not for everyone. If you want fast and simple metal album to bang your head to, stay away from this one. If you consider Blind Guardian's 'Nightfall in Middle Earth' boring and full of useless interludes then 'Gods of War' will kill you. Literally. But if you are an open-minded person who enjoys epic stories, you should give it a chance and you won't regret it.
Concerning rating: I've planned to rate it a bit lower, but I really can't find any serious flaws (here most of you would probably think about these spoken tracks, but I think it would be stupid to replace them with some mediocre metal songs).
Congratulations, Manowar, you made the most pointless, gayest and stupidest album of all time. It's impossible for me to think of anyone even listening to the whole album...
This is complete shit. Actually, after this torture, I'll never speak "shit" again. I'll just say "Sons of Odin" and make more impact. Man, this album is fucking horrible! It's disgusting that a once classic heavy metal band, that used to represent all that Metal is, has now officialy hit the bottom of the bigest well mankind has never done. The attempt on being epic here is so pathetic that after 20 secs is not even funny, because that's when you realize that the only heavy metal feeling you'll get will be at the end of the album, when you want to bang your head against the wall and forget the last painfull hour.
This is BORING. BORING AS HELL could never be. Therion, you are nothing compared to this. Give up. Manowar's "Son of Odin" made Therion looks like Accept. This is bad.
The first track (overture etc) is an intro. Do you know that kind of album intro that's so pointless that you always skip it to the next song? Well, this surely happens here, but unfortunenly it's not only in the intro. Actually, "Overture to the Hymn of the Immortal Warriors" (GREAT name by the way) is an introduction to "The Ascension", the introduction of "King of Kings".
And "King of Kings", my friends, is a perfect exhibition of pure heavy power metal that Manowar used to do with pride and now seem too tired to try. King of Kings is probably a top 10 Manowar song, it's a really amazing song. Even the slow cheesy emotional part somewhere in the middle works, because it explodes in some fast and furious riffage and soloing and screaming and BALLS. Tell me why and how a band can write a song like this in such a horrifying album... I'd give them 20 points just because of that song, but the rest of it made me so angry that I just can't do it.
I have nothing to say about the rest of the album, especially because I couldn't hear all of it. Maybe "Loki God of Fire" and "Sleipnir" worths some attencion, but it's nothing special either. At least there are guitars instead of ridiculous cheesy keyboards, speeches and AMAZING sound effects imittating fire, winds etc.
And let me get something clear now. I love Manowar. Battle Hymns, Hail to England, Fighting the World, Kings of Metal etc. These are great examples of pure heavy metal with power and BALLS. Of course there was some pointless cheesy songs here and there, but everybody liked it 'cause the essency was there. And somewhere between 2001 (beeing nice to them) and 2007 they've lost it. I could close my eyes and believe that "Sons of Odin" was just a bad idea, but no. I'm really sorry to say it, but for me Manowar is officialy dead and buried and burnt and shooted in the middle of the legs. Twice. I guess Joe DeMaio thought that the reason we all used to love Manowar were the "true" epics speeches and the unnecessary songs as "The Warriors Prayer" instead of the pounding riffs and amazing songwriting.
Make a favour for you and Metal- don't buy this. It's uninspired at all senses, pure utter shit. I'm sorry about the vocabulary, but this is probably the WORST attempt by a major metal band ever, along with Risk and St Anger. But at least Metallica and Megadeth admited what they were doing at the time, whilst Manowar will keep the TRU speeche and etc. Shame on you.
After a couple of months of listening, I've finally decided to take the plunge and review Manowar's latest album, Gods of War. This review is very hard for me to write...I feel somewhat like the protaganist in that old frosties advert - the fanboy in me wants to praise this album to the skies and call it a triumph on every level, but the metalhead in me wants to be objective, and talk about an album with some great successes, and some serious flaws.
As most, if not all of you will now be aware, Gods of War is the first in a series of (hopefully much more focussed) albums retelling (with dubious accuracy) some of the good old fucking Norse myths. Now, I love the Norse myths, I mean, take some of Odin's trials for instance, one of his challenges was to lift a cat up off the floor. Simple enough, you might think, not so! For the cat was actually a vast serpent, which is wrapped around the entire world! Sounds like someone should have gone to specsavers, or just laid off the fucking mead. Getting back to the point, when Manowar announced the concept for this set of albums I was more than a little psyched, as to my mind Epic Metal + Norse Myths = Killer album, guaranteed.
I was sadly mistaken.
The main gripe that I and pretty much everyone else has with this album is the LACK OF METAL SONGS! What are all these cheesy pseudo-ambient narrative interludes doing on this album??? Why can't Manowar just develop the story through kick ass songs instead of what can only be described as verbal wankery? For more than half of this album its like a frigging a cappella Dream Theater!
The thing is, when I listen to this album all the way through and I'm in the mood, it really works! I can forgive the narration and just enjoy the epic feel of the album and relish the fact that Manowar are still alive and well. In the right mood and at the right time, Gods of War is a flawed, but hugely enjoyable journey through some of the world's greatest myths and legends. But despite this, the fact remains that Gods of War is not the album that the Manowar fans wanted after a 5 year long drought in studio albums. Now, the real metal songs on here range from above average to total killers, and as has been mentioned before, the production is totally killer, no complaints at all in that department. And we find the band all on good form here, Adams does a better job here than on WOTW, with some excellent midrange singing and that undeniable scream. Joey...well he does his thing...he hasn't really been too adventurous with the old bass since 1991, and no ones expecting him to start adding original bass hooks now. Karl adds some riffs which range from more than adequate to really quite good, and some incredibly tight soloing. Scott disappoints on this album; the man is an excellent drummer, but on GoW he tends to stick to the same tired sounding double bass beat. Uninspired.
It also seems that Manowar have still not yet solved the problem of their tracklisting. It just doesn't flow very well...ok they start to build up some momentum but then destroy it by prolonging the listener's wait for some blasting metal. "In Triumph" by The Quill is a perfect example of an album with a well thought out tracklisting, mixing fast and slow songs to create a natural rhythm which, are you listening guys, STOPS THE LISTENER GETTING BORED.
So yeah, let's pick out the real songs and dissect, scalpels out children, ok first off is king of kings...the first song bizarrely appearing 9 minutes into the album. Well we'd already heard this one, as it was the advance single from the album, definitely a Manowar classic, all the ingredients present and correct, really love the solo on this one, tighter than a young girl in her prime. Next up is Sleipnir, which takes a while to get started due to the overlong and slightly irritating narrative passage, but when it gets cracking its an enjoyable one, though the chorus is repeated too many times. Also it sort of ends rather abruptly, but no worries, straight into Loki, god of...erm fire? Ok slight error there but nevermind. As most other reviewers have mentioned Loki has a more hard rock feel to it, with a great chorus, all in all an excellent track!
Now...oh dear what is this...Blood Brothers? Isn't that already a more memorable and anthemic song by Maiden (who I don't even like, but that song still owns this poor effort)? Manowar have had some pretty fucking decent ballads in their time, but this one falls rather short. I've got to say, I do like Adams' delivery in this one, but you can tell they just followed the generic Manowar ballad formula (Quiet intro verse, chorus once, guitars and drums kick in for second verse, chorus again, bridge, chorus chorus chorus etc) and really did nothing else with the song. But alas no, this song never really gets going enough to achieve the anthemic quality they were going for. Couple more points - Adams' background screams are absolutely unnecessary in this one, and, Scott's little marching drum section is probably his highlight of the album. That's right folks, that was it.
After another couple of boring interludes that I do not care to dissect comes possibly the strongest track on the album, the mighty Sons of Odin. The powerful lead riff fades into an atmospheric passage punctuated by Joey's bassline, which leads up to the anthemic chorus, but by far the best part of this song is the refrain with the choir, my god, total fucking ownage! Ok we've got some momentum going here, let's keep it going! Wait....no..its another fucking narrative passage again. Wow this is getting old. At long last we arrive at the title track, and things brighten up again, with a fucking great marching rhythm, some excellent vocals and brilliant orchestration. Total winner here. Another interlude follows, and then we have the song simply entitled "Odin", which has some interesting moments, but all in all is a little too slow and rather boring. Still, the reprise of Army of The Dead at the end is absolutely fantastic, really inspiring stuff.
Finally we reach the end, of the concept at least, with the promisingly titled "Hymn of the immortal warriors", and yeah the song is great...but is another slow song really necessary? Where's the balance?
Now, I really like Die For Metal, even though I'm aware that it is merely an average Manowar song, I'm not sure what it is, it might be the fact that it comes as light relief after an hour fraught with frustration and disappointment, maybe its just the balls to the wall who gives a fuck homoeroticism and metal worship which I'vebeen missing for the duration of this contrived, overly epic affair. Yes, the lead riff sounds like a Kashmir rip off, yes the lyrics are familiar and clichéd, yes it doesn't really go anywhere, but its Manowar doing what they do best, and I'm fucking glad they're still around to do it.
Now the album is finished my feelings are mixed to say the least. On the one hand, GoW has some great songs which are going to be on my playlist for a long time to come, and proves that Manowar can still bring something to the table, but on the flip side, GoW is not the album I was expected, or even the album I wanted. I think all Manowar fans were hoping that they would improve on the successes WoTW had and try to iron out the weak points, but instead they seem to have done the opposite, with even more throwaway tracks and even less arse kickery! I just hope that Joey Demaio can have the good sense to listen to what the fans are saying and follow this up with an album of straight up heavy metal, or at least note the fans reaction to the new material played live, because you can bet your house that when they leave the stage, the fans aren't going to be screaming for an encore of "blood brothers".
I'm always hopeful when Manowar is going to release a new album. I wouldn't call them one of my favorite bands, but they just keep putting out way above average heavy metal albums with a few absolute killers ("Call to Arms" from their previous album, for example) regardless of current trends. Their single was overall enjoyable and when I heard that "Gods of War" was going to be a concept album about Norse mythology, I was very interested. It was obvious to me that these old metal warriors still had it and that the new album had the potential to be a real monster. But as my score suggests, Manowar has failed me. In fact, this just might be the biggest metal related disappointment I have ever experienced!
Let's start with the good things about this album: the production leaves nothing to be desired. Without a doubt this is the most polished production they've ever had. It would ruin their older albums, but it fits this more epic direction perfectly. The sound is crystal clear, the guitars are heavy as usual, the drum sound is powerful and the orchestrations are very well done. To sum it up, the production is pretty much perfect.
The production allows Eric Adams to deliver one of his best vocal performances ever. It's mindboggling how a middle-aged man who have been screaming his vocal chords out for more than 25 years still can sound this good. His mid-range is powerful and convincing and he can still go impressively high.
Finally, the real metal songs on here aren't that bad. Opener "King of Kings" has a driving beat and a classic Manowar-style sing-along chorus. "Sleipnir" is probably the best song on here, despite the fact that it start with one minute of narrations. It's quite similar to "King of Kings", but a little better in just about every way. Especially the chorus is awesome. "Loki God of Fire" is another good song with some of the best and heaviest riffs on the album. Loki was not the god of fire, but I'm not geeky enough to take off points for that.
What about the bad things then? Well, there's one thing about this album that drags it down from a decent Manowar album to a disaster all by itself. Every other review of this album has mentioned it, but let's clear things up: This album has more fucking narrations and orchestral interludes than Rhapsody’s entire discography!!! Not to mention that the narrator rivals Jay "Oh no...Oh God no" Landsford (Rhapsody's narrator on their first albums)in the cheesiness department. The almost 5 minute long narrative piece "Glory Majesty Unity" just might be the most embarrasing thing I have ever heard on a metal album. I'm not exaggerating when I say that this album contains more than 30 minutes of narrations and orchestral pieces with some choral singing thrown in here and there. Some of them are quite well done, but it's just faar too much!! The question "What the hell were they thinking?" popped up in my head severel times when I listened to this album.
This is made even worse by the track listing, which is EVEN worse than on "Warriors of the World"! The three best songs are placed in the beginning, and the last 50 minutes of the album ranges between decent and insufferable. During a few parts of the album, I was fighting a strong urge to simply hit the stop button.
Another thing that really struck me while listening to this album was the musicianship, or lack thereof. Sure, Manowar were never about showing off, but the guitar playing on this album sounds uninspired as all hell. "King of Kings", Sleipnir" and "Loki God of Fire" are the only songs with memorable guitar work.
The drums are even worse. How on Earth could Scott Columbus accept this? the drum work on this album consists either of mid-paced double bassing or simple beats that I could probably pull off. The great drum sound just makes this fact even more obvious. Lame with a capital L.
Apart from the three good songs I mentioned before, the other songs are Manowar on autopilot with the "Epic" setting set to 11. Both "Sons of Odin" and the title track are decent songs marred by uninspired guitar playing and some unneccesary choirs and/or orchestral interludes. And let's not forget the absolutely dreadful "Blood Brothers". It's not about two gay lovers (I hope none of you took that comment seriously) but it's boring beyond words, it tries to be uplifting but ends up being rather depressing just because it's so damn bad. One of Manowar's worst songs ever.
My theory is that somewhere during the tour with Rhapsody, Manowar caught the same flu that made those italians release the too-epic-for-it's-own-good "Triumph or Agony". That flu is yet to be named, but the most obvious symptom is that the infected band suddenly feels a burning urge to write some really epic music, even if it make them lose all the inspiration and intensity that made them a good band in the first place. It didn't work for Rhapsody and it really doesn't work for Manowar!
The last song is a "bonus track" just because it doesn't fit in the concept of the album. It's one of those ridiculously over-the-top "Hail metal!!" songs Manowar are famous for, but it's definitely not one of the best, and after sitting through more than one hour of cheesiness and stupidity, you are hit in the face by a chunk of mozarella the size of Asgard! Then finally the album is over, and it feels like half a day has passed since you put it in your CD player.
By Odin, I can barely believe that I see the Manowar logo on the (ridiculous even by Manowar standards) cover art. Except for 2-3 songs this album is more or less total crap. I can totally see the guys from Wizard or Majesty trying really hard to keep their faces straight while listening to this album. I'm simply baffled! How the FUCK did the "Kings of Metal" release this???
2007. A crisis has taken the metal world by storm. The very foundation, the core, the soul of metal is at stake. Metal philosophy is at a crossroads, all questions unimportant when faced with the most fundamental of all: What is Truth?
In Metal existence, this Truth is synonymous with Metal, so the question must be asked: What is Metal?
Leaving the ultimate resolution of the Great Question to higher planes, we take a practical approach: what defines Metal? what should Metal always have?
That so undefinable quality, Heaviness?
Metaldom:Hear,hear! (Loud clapping and cheering)
Long orchestral and spoken word intros/outros/interludes?
"Long orchestral and spoken word intros/outros/interludes?" The Metal Gods fill their cups of Wrath, ready to pour them unto the heads of the unholy blasphemers. The Well of Infinite Metal Wisdom is consulted. Metaldom is astounded by the revelation of the identities of the perpetrators of such profanity.
We're not kidding here folks. Manowar has actually released an album of instrumental orchestration sounds/spoken word bullshit peppered with some metal here and there. Ok, to be fair,I've estimated the offending material at 44% of the total runtime. That's 32 nonmetal minutes in a 73 minute disc. That's not to say the symphonics stop when the guitars come in - they don't, but we have heard this before in songs like "Achilles:Agony and Ecstasy", the midsection of "Outlaw","Call to Arms", and "Dawn of Battle", outstanding songs by modern Manowar. The symphonic/spoken word elements are nothing new ("Grandfather, tell me a story"), but previous compositions were successful because each element enhanced the whole, and the foundation and focus remained metal. In Gods of War, it seems Manowar forgot what it is they are supposed to BE while they were focusing on what they were trying to DO. The symphonic/spoken word elements so far dominate this album, while the metal material is so subpar, the result is like a car crash where all the people survived - as paraplegics. A bad, bad mistake was made when writing this album: assuming that more symphonics would make it "epic". For the life of me, I can't figure out what the thought process for this album was.
I am baffled at hearing this album described as "epic", at least at the term being used in a positive connotation.
1. Of, constituting, having to do with, or suggestive of a literary epic
2. Surpassing the usual or ordinary, particularly in scope or size
3. Heroic and impressive in quality
Aside from lyrical content (the story, of course, was not created by Manowar by any means), there is nothing rightly "epic" about this album. This album is the sound of a band getting carried away by the incidental components of the music, like a baker making a half-inch-thick cake with an inch of frosting on top. True, Manowar have surpassed themselves in symphonic/spoken word wankery, but epic? "Surpassing the ordinary"? "Impressive in quality"? No.
The other huge problem with this album is that most of the material is UTTERLY uninteresting (and here we speak exclusively of the METAL material, the other stuff got old the first time around), the exception being the first metal song "King of Kings" (which we already heard in the Sons of Odin ep), and even this is marred by (I know, flogging a dead horse) a spoken word/symphonic passage. The next metal track is "Sleipnir", which starts with (I know, flogging a horse carcass) a minute long spoken word intro. The song itself is ok, with a nice double bass pace and a nice solo, but the song is SO subdued. I mean, my toaster has gotten more emotion out of me. "Loki, God of Fire" is lukewarm water, a subpar rock song with a metal injection. The solo is nicely played, but as soulless as a stone gargoyle. This song would have been ok (maybe) in 1984, but in 2007 this doesn't fly.
Next, it's unbelievable that the same band that graced us with "Heart of Steel" delivers the sewage that is the attempt at a ballad "Blood Brothers". Horrid. And is it me or is Eric Adams sounding tired? The next song with guitars, two intros later ( I know, flogging horse bones), is "Sons of Odin". If you had told Joey DeMaio back in 1988 he'd be playing stuff as dumb as the first two minutes of this song he would have broken your head with his bass. The "choir" chorus at 3:43 is just funny, and the song ends with more than a minute of (I know, flogging horse dust), yes, spoken word/symphonics.
"Gods of War" starts out pompously with pounding sounds and a completely unnecessary "choir" chorus, but gets better after half a minute. Here, the symphonics actually work, evocating the epic feeling Manowar sought with this album. Unfortunately, the "choir" being the main focus of the chorus brings the song level down. Why Eric Adams chose to be counterpoint to the choir instead of the other way around is beyond me, but it doesn't work. The song ends in the trademark Manowar feedback/screams/drums way, which is just RIDICULOUS. It's like Will Smith being chosen as Pope: what is it we're trying to do here again? "Odin" is a clunker. "Hymn of the Immortal Warriors" starts out with softly sung vocals and (I know, flogging horse fossils, but you know what? the symphonic/spoken word shit just got old, FAST) symphonics. Organ sounds, spoken words, choir, Manowar go all out. I have to respect the doomy feel of the song two minutes in, if they had retained that sound the song would have worked. Instead they slather cheese all over it less than a minute later with the choir and a solo that reminded me of a glam band. Another song that won't be appearing in your personal "Best of Manowar" list. Some might like the "bonus" track, "Die for metal", but to me it sounds like a Kiss cover with the exception of the lyrics.
This album is an abortion. Instead of epic, elevated, and godly we have pompous, pretentious and boring. For the good of metal, somebody cut Manowar's access to keyboards.
I hereby proclaim the Kings... exiled.
Yes, Manowar are the Kings of Cheese (Rhapsody being a close second). Yes, Vikings are a much over-used theme in metal. And yes, one would not find it hard to ridicule this album to death. However, all of this aside, I still strongly believe that this album absolutely slays.
It's quite easy to nitpick with "Gods of War"- too many interludes, not enough metal, it's too long, etc. But c'mon, this is fucking MANOWAR we're talking about. It's their job, their duty to take metal to the next level and kick ass and poser-dispose every second of the way!
"Gods of war" is thus far the best metal album of 2007. Manowar bring everything that's great about heavy metal to the table on this release, from grandiose choirs and over-the-top lyrics to epic songs that are so catchy they will be stuck in your head for centuries (the songs "Sleipnir" and "King of Kings" immediately come to mind).
Compared to their other albums, it would not be a stretch to say that the band took a few chances with this release; obviously, Manowar are pretty conservative when it comes to their style and are never going to do anything drastically different, but it's clear that "Gods of War" is an attempt to push metal to new heights of epic-ness (and cheese).
This is definately an album that is perfect for doing something. What I mean by this is that it's probably not the best album to just simply sit and listen to; it's a much better experience to work out to, or drive around to, or drink beer with your buddies to.
Like I said before, this album kicks ass, and as I've noticed that this album has been received with some negativity, I think it's clear that they just can't handle the sheer heaviness that this album exudes. With this album, Manowar prove that they are still the Kings of Metal, so go out and give this release a spin, and prepare to be crushed by "Gods of War."
A new Manowar album finally! Five years after "Warrior of the World" the Kings
of Metal return for the most epic effort.
"Gods Of War", dedicated to Odin, has lots of orquestral and spoken tracks that
help to build all the epic atmosphere in this album. The "real" songs are great
and some are among the best ever written by Manowar. Expect great battle themed lyrics.
I already knew "King of Kings", "Sons of Odin" and "Gods of War" from previous
releases. Here, these tracks sound better. "King of Kings" is a typical fast song featuring the Manowar riffing we all know and a excellent way to start the album.
"Sons of Odin" and "Gods of War" are heavy mid-paced tracks that blow me away everytime I listen. This last one is my favourite of the album. Fucking amazing and glourious track! Great lyrics, great solo, great feeling!
We have two songs with more rocking feeling such as "Loki God of Fire" which has a very catchy riff in the chorus and "Die for Metal" that'll make the listener think of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir, but still a good metal hymn nonetheless.
There are a couple of skip button worthy tracks here tough - Army of the Dead Part 1 and 2. The lyrics are good but the music is very boring.
I have to say that I felt a bit disappointed when I heard this album for the first time
because of the numerous orquestral and spoken parts but, after so many listens, I got used to them. I still think this album could have more heavy metal and speed. Let's just hope the next has more "rockers".
I love when bands take the epic direction and throw orchestral bits and concept albums into the mix. "Gods of War" is the first in a series of albums that will tell the tale of the Gods of War. This album focuses on Odin. This wouldn't be a good introduction to Manowar, so start with the other stuff first if you were thinking of introducing yourself to Manowar with this album. Thats a job for the first four, Louder Than Hell, or Kings of Metal.
If you dislike the orchestral aspects and/or spoken sections of bands such as Luca Turilli, Rhapsody, Symphony-X, and Nightwish among many others you most likely won't be a fan of this. Being a big fan of orchestra stuff, this is, overall, one of my favorite Manowar albums. The first three songs are EPIC. I like the way it flows a lot, sounds like a film score. Triumphant yet foreboding. A nice way to kick off the album. The spoken bits are kinda taxing, but once Eric Adams starts singing all is well. He sounds better than ever.
There are three songs on this album that have been rerecorded. King Of Kings, for example. It sounds better on the album; the solo has better reverb and is more crisp. The chorus is one of many. Another song rerecorded for this album was Sons of Odin. That one sounds far more epic; the outro chorus has a choir thrown over Eric Adams and it sounds incredible. The other was the title track.
The Army of the Dead songs remind me of "The Divine Wings of Tragedy" by Symphony-X, what with Eric Adams singing with a bunch of other vocalists. The ending falsetto is fucking epic in all three. Both part 1 and 2 of these songs feature the same bit as in the outro to Odin. Not to take away from the orchestral tracks of the album, I love most of them. I could do with a lot less spoken narration, but regardless the album listened to in full is quite the treat. Most of the orchestral writings make me feel nostalgic for Manowar; it reminds me of their past efforts.
Thats not to say the album is void of heavy stuff. The aforementioned rerecorded tracks, Loki God Of Fire, and Sleipnir are nice rockin' songs. The chorus in Sleipnir has some of the best melodic hooks Manowar has ever written, they'll get stuck in your head for days.
"Carry we, who die in battle
Over land and sea
Across the rainbow bridge to Valhalla
Odins waiting for me!"
This album flows very well from one song to the next, telling an epic tale you can't not listen to in full. This isn't an album meant to be listened to in pieces, it's definitely a more enjoyable experience if you set aside an hour to listen to it in full followed by 20 minutes or so to reflect on its greatness.
At last Manowar have released a new album. A long time has passed since Warriors of the World, and even though some of the songs on there are silly and pretentious, the album includes some of the band’s strongest material as well. I like Warriors of the World, and I like Manowar. Therefore I had very high expectations when I noticed that a new album was on its way. Those were raised even higher when I realized that it was a concept album about the Norse Gods. (I got that sort of feeling you receive from listening to Falkenbach, which inspires you to sit and bawl alone in a dark room because everything is so wonderfully, pathetically epic.)
Yes, I am a sucker for epic stuff. I know that it often gets over the top, but I can’t help liking it anyway. This time however, Manowar have succeeded in being too epic, even for me, and that is pretty astounding. I think the problem is that being epic must be the icing on the cake; you cannot take away the actual cake. This is what Manowar have done. Only a few of the tracks on this album are real songs. It is crammed with symphonic intros, symphonic interludes, overlong spoken parts and soft music.
King of Kings is a metal song at least, and it is also one of the best. Then there are a couple of songs which are decent but a little too soft, for example Sleipnir and the ballad Blood Brothers. As a whole I think that the guitars suffer from a lack of distortion, as well as, how shall I put it … a lack of existence. By that I mean that they have lost their dominance on many tracks, and merely function as background to the vocals and drums. That is a pity, because Manowar’s greatness has always relied upon the cool riffs and solos. On this album, they have forgotten that the metal must be the basis, upon which the epic elements can be built, and without it, the music loses much of its quality.
Of course there are a couple of metal songs on here, but many of them are either much less heavy and speedy than Manowar’s usual material or contains long slow parts with sound effects and a narrator. And let me remind you, I like such things normally!
I would say that this album can be separated in three equally large parts: one with symphonies, and other non-metal music, one with spoken parts, and one with metal. Generally the songs are mid-tempo or even slower than that, but that does not have to be a problem. Many of the songs also rely upon a massive, and often repeated, chorus. Manowar do handle these things with skill, as usual, so there are no problems to be found concerning song quality.
The best songs on here are King of Kings, Gods of War, and Hymn of the Immortal Warriors. Especially the last one is good, and if more of the songs had been like these this album could have reached a more equal position compared to the rest of Manowar’s song material. However, this album lacks peak quality as well. There are no moments when I actually bawl straight into the air because of pure perfection.
As a last point, I would also like to comment the story. One thing that is annoying for a starter is that the lyrics are written with some, probably German, rune-alphabet in the booklet, with the key to solve it provided in the end. That is to be too epic and ambitious, even for fans of Manowar. The lyrical content is, as I have mentioned earlier, circling around the Norse gods, and especially Odin. I think that Manowar have either made an innovative, own interpretation of the myths or don’t know that much about the subject. Something tells me that the latter is correct, but what the hell. I just hope the next album is less complex, and … ehh … better.
Manowar...true metal at it's very best. After nearly 30 years of epic masterpiece after epic masterpiece, Manowar has established themselves as being the metal band. No matter what else has happened in the metal scene, from the death of death metal, to the disappearance of thrash, to last year's destruction of all that was right with black metal, Manowar has always stood proud and true as the embodiment of true, unyielding heavy metal, and despite their laughably over-serious lyrics and image, it's often been said that Manowar can do no wrong.
...And then there was Gods Of War...
Their last album, Warriors Of The World, is often considered to be their weakest album, although is still heralded as a monument of true epic heavy metal, despite the increased frequency of interludes, spoken narration tracks, etc. In short, it was too much on the "epic" side and lacking in "heavy". But there was still enough actual heavy metal to make it a worthwhile, and spectacular listen. Considering the degree of criticism of the excessive emphasis on making the album "epic", and how much Manowar actually cares about their fans, it was widely believed that their new album Gods Of War would be a return to the Kings Of Metal days, and the release of the new album was looked forward to by metalheads the world over. But then February 23rd, 2007 came. A day that will indeed live in infamy...
When this CD finally arrived on my doorstep, I was quite literally shaking with excitement. I'm extremely into black and doom metal, but Manowar has always been one of my three favorite bands of all time. Suffice to say, I was extremely excited about this CD and immediately popped it into my stereo. Despite the lack of the word "metal" in the tracklisting, I was not at all deterred, and the six-and-a-third minute intro track was everything I had been hoping for, and so much more. Epic as fuck, the perfect intro to what I expected to be the perfect album. And then the second track, "The Ascension" came on. "Another epic as fuck intro," I thought. What a poor fool I was.
The symphonic instrumentality continued on for another 2:30, and then I finally heard guitars. Fuck yes. "King Of Kings" took off, and I was very satisfied. Everything we've come to know and love from a Manowar song was here - the wailing guitars, the excellent percussion, and Eric Adams' spectacular vocals. About halfway through the track, there's the odd spoken bit of wonderful faggotry that Manowar is famous for, and it stretches on a bit longer than is preferable, but then it's back to the heavy metal goodness. All in all, a great song, and I sat back as the song died down and waited for the next bit of brilliance to burst forth from my speakers.
And lo! "Army Of The Dead, Part 1" began. And...another overture? Fine. Surely the next track will be metal, right? Of course. And so "Sleipnir" began. Annnd...more spoken narrative bullshit? Fuck. Being a good sport and enduring, I let the track play, groaning when I saw that it was going to be a 5-minute ride. Fortunately, about halfway through, the guitars start up, and it begins to take the shape of an actual song. Tension mounted as the seeming introductory quietness continued on and on, hinting at an amazing crescendo as heavy metal goodness was surely to come in at full force at any moment. And I waited. And waited. And waited. There seemed to be a recurring chorus amongst the quietness, but surely this couldn't be the whole song, could it? While pondering this, the track apparently came to an end, and "Loki God Of Fire" began to play.
Despite knowing that Loki was the god of trickery/mischief/what-have-you, and not fire, I was still pumped for this track, because it also had guitars and everything. About halfway through the track, I was already convinced that it was going to be a repeat of the last track - building up with a lot of quietness and half-assed introductory riffs but never delivering - but it did. Oh how it delivered. A perfect Manowar track, in every sense of the word. I (foolishly) got my hopes up after this and expected the next track "Blood Brothers" to be another full-fledged song, but instead, I was greeted with what sounds disturbingly like a violin, and Eric Adams' voice, except in an unbelievably faggy tone, which it turns out is very fitting of the "song." "Blood Brothers" is, without a doubt, the worst track Manowar has ever put together, and possibly the worst metal song I've ever heard, period. The lyrics, which are all there is, besides a quiet, very slow guitar, and some Valentine's Day-inspired synth effects, are about (it seems) two gay lovers. I'm not even kidding. "Think of me, wherever you are, when it seems like you're reaching the end. Call on me, know in your heart, one who will always be there" - WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?! I actually shouted out in anguish. Refusing to hit Next, though, I endured it somehow and waited for the next track called "Overture to Odin." As the name implies, it is another useless overture. Getting quite fed up with this, I skipped to the next track "The Blood Of Odin."
A suitably badass name for what I hoped to be a badass song. But, in what is apparently typical of this disaster, it's just a 4-minute-long spoken narration of what is quite possibly something that Eric Adams read on Wikipedia. Ever-enduring and loyal to Manowar, (fallen) champions of metal, I waited it out and was greeted (at last) by guitars and some drums, albeit very slow and quiet. And then Eric's voice came in, whispering for the better part of a minute, and I sighed, assuming it to be another faggy narration. Eventually, the vocals come to a crescendo as he shouts some nonsense about the sons of Odin. But then the whispering and barely-audible drums resume...and persist until the end of this non-song.
The next track, "Glory Majesty Unite" is simply more idiotic narration about Norse mythology. Five long minutes of it. It turns out, Odin gave some warriors "THE BERSERKER RAGE", which, according to Eric Adams, makes the warriors no longer mortal. Despite the fact that, historically speaking, berserkers had the highest mortality rate of all Norse warriors...but hey, if you're going to butcher heavy metal, why not butcher history as well, right?
Following that abomination, there is more of the aforementioned leading-up-to-but-never-delivering nonsense, as the title track develops into a circlejerk of annoying chanting with a weak guitar in the background.
After that, there is the second part of "Army Of The Dead." Same as Part One but with different words, still an utter lack of metal, let alone music. After that is "Odin", which has the tempo of a slower-than-normal love ballad, but with more Norse-mythology-based lyrics. There are guitars, yes, and drums, yes, but this, my friends, is not metal.
Finally, the "concept" part of the album was coming to a close with "Hymn Of The Immortal Warriors." It would have been a suitably epic outro track...if the album itself had included something other than epicness. It brings the Norse tale to a close well enough, but again, it's just another gay interlude track that the CD is filled with.
And then, the "bonus" track (which is, incidentally, included on every copy of the CD) - "Die For Metal"! I figured I'd at least be getting one normal Manowar song from this CD, so I was happy. It starts out slowly, and then Eric Adams comes in quietly with "(I) Quit my job this morning//Said forever I would hold my head up high"...I was pissed. Similar wankery ensues until about 1:45, when the song itself takes some form, and it is indeed a typical Manowar track, albeit a below-average slow one. But it's good. The words "metal" "true" and "hall" are used in abundance, and the track is 5:16 long, so it ends the CD on a good note...perhaps to try to make the listener forget the other 1:10:00 of the album?
It does not work. At all. Gods Of War is an abomination unto the metal scene, and incredibly embarassing to even think of. I have no idea what the fuck Manowar was thinking with this, but perhaps they really are getting too old for this. Everyone I've personally spoken to about this CD agrees entirely with me. In the end, I'm not angry - they tried, very hard, and have also given me 27 years of brilliance before this - but I am extremely crushed. Later that night as I was going to sleep, I realized that this is it. Black metal died last year, with such bullshit as The Cult Is Alive and Now, Diabolical, but I always had Manowar to look to, to assure me that despite the death of the black metal titans, metal itself was alive and well. This CD destroyed that in me, and something inside of me died with it. Manowar could have called it quits and stopped putting out new music, and simply toured a bit and then retired peacefully from the metal scene after a final, epic farewell tour, but instead, they chose to do...this. With Manowar out of the picture, the future is looking very bleak.
I do not recommend this CD to anyone. It would be best if we all pretended that it simply had never happened, and that Joey DeMaio died in a motorcycle accident while running down some Hot Topic kids. Manowar is dead.
Finally, the new Manowar album! The warriors from Auburn, New York, sure took their time. Having listened to it around seven times, I can say right off the bat that I’m not disappointed and it was well worth the wait. Some important things to note: Gods of War is easily Manowar’s most ambitious album, as it's a concept album featuring some orchestration and some of the most grandiose and advanced arrangements the band has written. It’s also their most epic album, even surpassing Into Glory Ride and The Triumph of Steel, which the sheer length of some tracks indicates. People expecting the cheesiness of Fighting the World and Kings of Metal will be sorely disappointed (or grateful) though as this is some serious work, reminding me of their early days.
Is it their best album though? Not really, but it’s among their best. It has the same problem that virtually every Manowar album has (well except Hail to England of course), which is consistency problems. There are a lot of first-rate songs on such as ‘King of Kings’, ‘Sleipnir’, ‘Sons of Odin’ and ‘Gods of War’ but a lot of “dead” time too, i.e. intros, overtures and narration which may or may not bore you. There are quite a few mediocre songs too such as 'Loki God of Fire', ‘Blood Brothers’ and ‘Hymn of the Immortal Warriors’. There’s a notable difference to other Manowar albums though: there are no truly awful songs. Every song on here is pretty well written actually, which in the past was not to be expected when you listened to a Manowar album.
Though Gods of War doesn’t have the jaw-dropping energy, attitude and songwriting of Hail to England, it comes pretty darn close in overall quality… I would say it’s a slight step below Into Glory Ride and Sign of the Hammer, making it their fourth best album. Hence, a recommendation comes naturally, especially to those who like the band but don’t appreciate when they bring forth the cheese, because they will definitely not find any of that here. A good album, I hope to hear more from these US metal warriors in the future.
Manowar come roaring back into the metal world with their long awaited album, Gods of War. Gods of War is full of epic writing, power chords, symphonic elements, and spoken stories. This is both a blessing and a curse depending on which part of Manowar a listener likes.
I for one was massively disappointed with Gods of War. When I listen to Manowar, I prefer more fun, cheesy, and attitude filled music. Gods of War is almost none of that style. Gods of War is a concept album about Odin. And being Manowar – it’s not just a concept album – it’s an epic concept album.
Musically, it’s full of symphonic elements. It does start off with a 6 minute symphonic intro to the album. The spoken parts are interesting as it tells of various stories and myths about Odin but the spoken parts are a little too long and a little too often for my taste. The symphonies are a nice addition to the mix but again when Manowar does something – they never do it half assed. A good half of the album is just symphonic instrumentals with either spoken word or choral singing overlaying the symphonies. Even the traditional metal sounding songs have symphonies in the background.
Now for the more traditional Manowar sounding songs, it does sound like Manowar…just a lot slower and more…epic sounding. The guitar work is mostly power chords with solos thrown into the mix. And the drum and bass work that structures the songs is minimal and foreboding. The guitars are good just not what I expected – especially after some of the fast songs found on their previous albums.
Vocally, the singing is mostly Eric Adams doing is lungs of leather thing. This is great when considering that there are a lot of spoken parts and choir elements found on Gods of War. I appreciate him not trying too hard to change his voice to be more epic as the rest of the album seems to have done.
Lyrically, it’s still Manowar – but more focused on storytelling than previously. Like before, it’s a concept album about Odin and one will find a lot of Norse tales of wolves, steel, Valhalla, and battle on here. Not that it bothered me so much but there is a lot of repetition of stories present. Blood of Odin and the song Odin are basically the same lyrics just one is from a third person perspective and the other is from a first person perspective. Not all that different.
Overall, Manowar will always be Manowar. This album has great fluidity and it is seamless from beginning to end. It is however a little long and repetitive in its conception. Fans of the fast and fun Manowar may not like this album as much (this is me – I absolutely loved the song Die for Metal – its not part of the concept album) but other fans are just going to feast on it (like the review previous to mine).
Songs to check out: Die for Metal, King of Kings, Loki God of Fire.