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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.