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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.