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Admittedly, Manowar are a hugely influential band on modern power and epic heavy metal, with various bands, such as Enchanter, Wizard, Twisted Tower Dire, and Valkyrie, drawing influence. Releasing the epic metal anthem "Battle Hymn" in 1981, there is no denying the fact that they were quite groundbreaking in their early years. However, groundbreaking does not amount to excellent, which is something they certainly weren't. Generally putting out only two or three good songs an album, they were more than likely successful because the vast majority of listeners are only interested in hearing one or two great songs and then singing the band's praises. I mean, take a look at Painkiller, one of Judas Priest's most successful albums. Fans listened to the fantastic opening track and then started unabashedly jerking off to the album, unaware that the rest of the songs were mundane mediocrities. I won't go into even more popular bands, such as Metallica, because that would in fact be unfair to Manowar, who, despite being overrated, do have a small collection of quality songs.
However, thankfully, this album was something of an exception to the rule; while far from masterful, it manages to contain less filler than most of their albums, instead bringing in the useless drivel in more conservative doses - but don't be fooled, it definitely still has a presence here. It's just overshadowed by the more solid numbers.
The best thing about Manowar is unequivocally Eric Adams. In the '80s he was at the top of his game, and this album his no exception. His strong, clear, slightly screechy tone is only outmatched by his absurdly impressive range. A common comparison is one between Adams and Virgin Steele frontman David DeFeis; however, I don't really see the similarity. While both of the respective bands play epic heavy/power metal (at least at, they did at some point in their career), Adams' screechy belting is quite different from any of DeFeis' various styles of delivery, which range from barbaric roars to sensual croons. Both are talented, but quite different from each other. In truth, Adams' delivery is actually pretty unique - I haven't really heard that screechy quality in any other metal vocalists, although if you remove it he sounds pretty similar to Brian David Osborne, of the relatively obscure band Enchanter, who, as I mentioned earlier, took quite a bit of influence from Manowar. For the vast majority of you who probably haven't heard Enchanter (although you should, as they're excellent), the closest comparison I can make is to combine the more raspy, aggressive performance of some of your earlier heavy metal and NWOBHM vocalists (David Potter of Cloven Hoof, for example) with the range and clean operatic style of Geoff Tate and his many, many imitators. It's not a great comparison, but Adams is, as I said, pretty damn unique.
The first complaint here is the production. While not fuzzy or buggy at all, which, for 1984, is something of an accomplishment in itself, the guitar tone is fairly tinny and low in the mix, while the most prominent instrument is the bass. I'm not sure why that is, as the bass lines are pretty simple and the songwriting definitely puts the emphasis on the guitar riffs, but that's how it is. Still, the album is far from unlistenable, and it's more of a slight annoyance than a real hindrance to the album's enjoyment. The second complaint is, of course, the songwriting. While more consistent than anything else they've done, they still manage to put in two mediocre songs ("Kill With Power" and "Each Dawn I Die"), as well as one pile of steaming dog shit (aka "Black Arrows").
However, for a band so mired in utter mediocrity and pointlessness, they have managed to progress their sound quite a bit over only three albums. The debut was traditional hard rock/heavy metal, Into Glory Ride was a more epic, doomier affair, while Hail to England incorporates quite a bit of power metal - in fact, I'd call it predominantly power. Glorious, catchy, and midpaced, it's a style of power that would be often imitated - and, in this case, just as often surpassed. Okay, I was half-joking there, as highlights like the excellent title track, complete with rousing chorus, and the mysterious, desperate, slowly building "Blood of My Enemies" are certainly pretty difficult to compare to. "Army of the Immortals" is pretty good, too, with solid riffs, if a bit oft repeated, and Adams' equally repetitive vocal lines get annoying after about the first go-round. However, the good qualities of the song outweigh the annoyances, so I guess you could say that this song is pretty representative of the album as a whole - annoying at times, but decent.
Of course, there are other songs here that quite a few bands have already succeeded in surpassing; "Each Dawn I Die" starts off with a shitty riff accompanied by equally shitty harsh vocals, and doesn't improve much from there. There are a few decent sections, but not enough to save the song from utter mediocrity, while "Kill With Power" does manage to be slightly better, although the intro and chorus are quite awful. "Black Arrows" is in a realm of its own, with a stupid attempt at a cool intro that just descends into completely abysmal guitar wankery that a 12-year-old in his bedroom could surpass without trying to (not in technical skill, obviously, but certainly in the level of enjoyment I could get from it).
"Bridge of Death", on the other hand, is an interesting album epic, that is in fact quite good, although a bit different from the other songs presented here. It opens with a tremolo riff, which, combined with the Satanic lyrics, could be argued to be a precursor to black metal. Now, I'm not sure how many black metal bands were actually directly influenced by this song, but it does make for an interesting juxtaposition; while probably more influential on the black metal scene, than say, Mercyful Fate (I'm still not sure why so many people claim it was such a huge influence on BM), I'm sure it wasn't nearly as groundbreaking as Venom's Welcome to Hell. Even so, it's definitely an enjoyable song, and in '84, a bit darker than the norm for heavy metal bands, with the long, progressive structure resembling a descent into Hades itself (the spoken word part is especially cool). The Christmas-themed bells at the end are a little bit of a head-scratcher, but ultimately the song is quite good, keeping the listeners attention despite being nine minutes long.
Ultimately, the album definitely isn't bad, and if the only comparison to make were of Manowar's other albums, it would be a masterpiece. However, there are many, many other bands out there better than Manowar, and as it stands, this is not among the most impressive of albums, though, it does do well for the most part, and, if you skip the three shitty songs, it can be quite enjoyable (just listen to "Army of the Immortals" in small doses). Up to this album, Manowar had been consistently improving...if only they had improved some more, perhaps they would have been worthy of the praise they constantly receive.
Manowar’s third album, “Hail to England,” was apparently so named in honor of the country where they were most warmly received. Power metal was always more popular in Europe, so it doesn’t really come as a surprise to me that the US ignored them (even though they were an American band), especially considering the poor quality of some of their material. Particularly, the poor quality of this album.
I wish I could hear what everyone else is hearing, because this has got to be the tamest Manowar release around. The only thing that really rules is, as always, Eric Adams’ vocals. From the moment you hear the opening shriek from “Blood of my Enemies,” you know this guy is going to give the same insane performance he always gives. The lyrics on this album are among the band’s cheesiest, but who cares? The vocals rule. Similarly, Ross the Boss provides some mean guitar solos to awe and inspire and such. Otherwise, this is pretty weak. Songs are by-the-book Manowar mid-paced chuggers; bland riffs running amok and the super-loud bass guitar long outliving its welcome. Nowhere is this more obnoxious than in Joey DeMaio’s mandatory bass solo “Black Arrows.” Silly spoken intro leads into what is actually an initially impressive chunk of wankery that becomes entirely boring about a third of the way in (it’s no “Eruption”). Yeah Joey, we know you can play, quit filling up the albums with this bullshit. A piccolo bass is virtually a guitar. Give it a rest. But anyway, the production is also kinda weak, lacking the punch of their earlier albums, as well as that of some of their later ones. Plus the album is really short.
A couple of rad songs do manage to squeeze through, however. Finale “Bridge of Death” is the king of these, sporting a chilling intro and being perhaps Manowar’s finest epic number. “Blood of my Enemies” is pretty effective as an opening track (and a down-tempo one at that), with great sing-along potential and a sweet solo. Eric Adams is particularly insane on this one: you’d know it even if you were deaf. Everything else is pretty dependent on personal taste.
Overall, it’s a soft effort from the so-proclaimed “loudest band in the world” and a poor tribute to a country that many of metal’s most important acts call home. Skip it unless you’re a fan.
Hail to England is often "hailed" (hur hur hur) as Manowar's greatest album. Which baffles me, because Sign of the Hammer is so much better in every way. What we have here is a collection of songs barely passing the 30 minute mark that doesn't even have enough riffs to fill the time. Sure, the riffs that are there are good, and I'll be damned if I don't sing along to the chorus to "Hail to England" or "Blood of My Enemies". But for every great riff, there's a bunch of mediocre riffs, aimless songs, and passages that, quite frankly, don't go anywhere. Take Army Of Immortals. That song could've easily been a 2 minute song, 3 tops. But it was padded enough to be four and a half minutes long, and in the bridge, it's nothing but a minute of Eric Adams shouting "Metal makes us stronger makes us metal makes us stronger etc..." which is good, I suppose, but it comes off as repetitive. Another example is the part in Bridge of Death right after the breakdown where Eric adams professes his love for satan. In that part, it's nothing but the verse riff repeated ad nauseum for around 2 minutes. And now that I've mentioned the breakdown, they could've easily cut that in half. Again, with all the repetition. There is no need for all the repetition in all these songs; one unfortunate carry over from Into Glory Ride is the extreme repetition, and the idea that the surefire way to be epic is to take a normal verse-chorus-verse song, and repeat the riffs over and over again until there's the necessary extra minutes.
Also, there's the matter of the production, as another fellow reviewer said. The snare and bass have been pushed to the top, and the cymbals cannot be heard. As well, it's as if the drums were recorded in a hermetic void; there's no space, the feel of the drums is very claustrophobic. The bass casts this muddy mess over everything, ensuring that nothing can be heard clearly in this mess. I've never liked DeMaio's bass, and it's only when he can tame the ridiculous sound and even out the mix that it gets tolerable. Because the bass is so mixed high, and with such a muddy, indescript tone, the guitars are utterly buried, which is a shame, because METAL IS ABOUT THE FUKKEN GUITARS FGSFDSFKL:Jk''ljk. The point I'm making is that the thing that usually defines a metal song (especially in a genre like Manowar's) is the guitar riffs. And on Hail to England, there are few, and they cannot be heard well. So as a result, it can never be great. So, even though there are some very interesting melodies, as Hail to England does have potential, it never reaches its potential. Pity.
Despite being constantly regarded as a classic, I really can't understand why “Hail to England” is so loved. It is a good album, but far from a masterpiece. There are some good songs to be found here and the record is pretty consistent, featuring some nice short songs, all of them catchy and heavy, a bass solo and a relatively long epic song.
However, the big problem of the record is its production. The mix is incredibly bad, highlighting the bass, with the guitar being almost inaudible at times. There are tons of good guitar riffs, but, again, we can't hear them well in the majority of the times, which is obviously bad. Have I already mentioned that the bass is too high in the mix? Yes, I think so... Don't get me wrong, I love the bass guitar, I love bands that don't bury their bassists, but on this album, it doesn't work at all. I can imagine how better this album would be if the guitars were more audible. Jesus.
Anyways, the vocals are outstanding as usual, Eric Adams is a brilliant singer, great great performance. He also shows some versatility, as he can sing melodically throughout the record but he can also sound very aggressive at times, with his amazing high-pitched screams and shrieks. The drumming is very simple and mechanical, Scott Columbus uses the “kick-snare-kick-snare” pattern too many times, which can annoy you. Great drum intro on “Kill with Power” though.
As for the songwriting, all the shorter songs follow similar structures, but they are all quite competent and effective. They are all, as I've already mentioned, extremely catchy and powerful. The album begins with “Blood Enemies” which probably carries the best riff of the record.
“Each Dawn I Die” is pretty similar, with a fantastic chorus sung by an inspired Adams. “Kill with Power” is a personal favourite, great drum intro leading us to a crushing main riff. Again, Eric Adams is amazing on this song. The fourth tune is the title track, carrying another great chorus (have I already mentioned that Manowar knows how to write really addictive choruses?).
The second half of the record begins with “Army of the Immortals”, another catchy little song but with a more elaborated structure.
“Black Arrows” is the track number six, the obligatory bass solo, which also contains a really tr00 metal spoken intro (“Let each note I now play be a black arrow of death sent straight to the heart to all those who play false metal!!”). Yeah, the Manowar spirit!
Finally we reach the last tune, the epic “Bridge of Death”, which contains pure black metal poetry: “Lucifer is King, praise Satan!”, see where Gorgoroth and all those satanic metal bands got their inspiration? That's right, Manowar is that influential! Anyway, the first part of the song is pretty heavy, then there is a nice breakdown and another heavy segment closes the song. This is no “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” or “The Power of Thy Sword”, but still a decent and competent closer. Probably, for the afore-mentioned reasons, Satan's favourite Manowar song, so that's something.
So, all in all, a decent album, catchy and straight-forward. It also is pretty short and the whole listening experience is better because of that. Also, the album sounds better as a whole than individually. This piece would sound amazingly well with a better production and mix (and, must I add, with better drumming too?), “Hail to England” had potential indeed, but, meh, in the end it is just a competent catchy record.
If you need an introduction to this band try this, since this album is also pretty acessible.
Best Moments of the CD:
-the beginning of “Kill with Power”.
After the epic and quite long album "Into Glory Ride", Manowar did something very interesting. They decided to stick to the epicness established on the previous effort, but cut down on the song lengths which was a very effective decision since it made their music a bit more accessible to general metal fans. This is a very short album, clocking in at just under 34 minutes, very similar to the Slayer behemoth "Reign in Blood". The exception being that this album is a lot better IMO. This was also Manowar's first stab at being more of a power metal oriented band, as this is very much a proto-power/thrash metal album.
The production is very dense and metallic. Scott Columbus' drums have a very black metal-esque rattling sound, Joey DeMaio's bass is at the front of everything and Ross' guitar stays a bit more in the background, which is very unusual to say the least.
The album opens with "Blood of My Enemies" which is an instant Manowar/viking metal classic. It begins with a chilling bass intro by Joey, before the song turns into a slow thrasher with a pounding rhythm unlike anything I've ever heard before. Also worthy of notice is the background choir during the chorus.
"Each Dawn I Die" is a bit more rocky in its approach. It's a very bass heavy song that features some very distinctive bass notes courtesy of Joey. Eric Adams' vocal performance is once again top notch as always. I might as well also explain what the lyrics are about. They are about an ancient Indo European/ancient Greek myth in which men would be able to travel to the Isles of the Blessed if they reached some common ground with the gods. And the gods didn’t like people at all.
"Kill with Power" is pure thrash metal, and it has a pretty basic but effective thrash rhythm and main riff. Of special notice is Eric's evil as fuck vocals and his evil laughs. Although he would later perfect his vocal performance on this song.
The title track is perhaps one of the more epic tracks on this album, and it was this track that transformed me into a hardcore Manowar fanatic. Everything about this song is absolutely perfect. The mighty chorus with the church choir backing up Eric's vocals, the guitar solo, the verses, everything.
Now, the next two songs are the reason why I can't give this album a 100% rating. "Army of the Immortals" is a pretty epic NWOBHM-esque number with a catchy main riff, but it doesn't get anywhere and ends up becoming a lot more repetitive than the other songs. And I don't think I have to mention "Black Arrows", which is just pure noise.
And then we come to an end with the Satanite epic entitled "Bridge of Death". It begins once again with a bass doodle by DeMaio. It then turns into a dark and pounding doom/proto-black metal number and shows why Manowar were and still are superior IMO to Mercyful Fate and Venom. Also notice the spoken part where DeMaio sounds like a fucking demon!
Buy this album if you like power metal and/or thrash metal. Or perhaps if you want metal of the highest order.
New York’s Manowar have always been quick to praise their European brothers of metal, the continent housing their largest fan-base and offering them headlining events at major metal festivals, compared to the lukewarm reception of their home country. Although later releases such as ‘Kings of Metal’ would attempt to balance out the praise for all European nations (it even name-checks Wales), their third album, or more specifically its titular song, is a celebration of the nation that created heavy metal and provided Manowar with the opportunity to hear the call. The country’s name is... oh yes, it’s in the title.
‘Hail to England’ is in some ways a disappointing follow-up to ‘Into Glory Ride,’ but this was perhaps inevitable, the band having all but exhausted their epic sound across its seven tracks. At a shorter thirty minutes of music, this third release at first seems to display signs of either laziness or a writer’s block, yet the release of ‘Sign of the Hammer’ later in the same year indicates that it was presumably more due to pressure from the record label, or for financial necessity, to churn these records out in quick succession. ‘Hail to England’ includes a couple of immortal Manowar classics, particularly the first song which still beats anything recorded by Scandinavian Viking metal bands in its short and simple piece of Norse mythology, but for the most part it seems to be a re-tread of the more successful aspects of the first two albums. Still, it’s only fussy people like me who will really be irked by this lack of progress, and for the average Manowar or heavy metal fan this is an enjoyable, if unremarkable and noticeably short, album, and one that can easily be dealt with track-by-track.
1. Blood of My Enemies
2. Each Dawn I Die
3. Kill With Power
4. Hail to England
5. Army of Immortals
6. Black Arrows
7. Bridge of Death
‘Blood of My Enemies’ is the primary reason that I still bother with this album, as it’s one of my favourite Manowar songs. Unlike the previous album, attention seems to have been made to keep the song lengths more acceptable, with the exception of the monster final track, and the shorter, edited style really works to keep this first song from becoming tedious. The chorus is a somewhat surprising mellow sing-along, but incessantly catchy, and Ross “The Boss” puts in some of his best guitar work in the album’s trademark Viking song. ‘Each Dawn I Die’ is less impressive, and begins something of a slump, wrongly placed as a slow song at this early point to suck the energy from the great opener and remaining largely unmemorable even after several listens. The main riff is cool and clanky in the Manowar fashion, accompanied by DeMaio’s bass which is more prominent on this album, but overall this has the unfortunate distinction of being the first Manowar song that can truly be regarded as filler.
‘Kill With Power’ is next, bringing back the speed and attempting to push the heaviness further than before as it approaches thrash metal, but on the whole I find this popular song a little unconvincing, and at times irritating. The customary ridiculous lyrics aside (‘Kill With Power?’), the song sacrifices strong development and interest in the pursuit of this harder edge that it doesn’t quite achieve, due to the slightly weak production values and the musicians’ incompatible playing style, but the greatest annoyance is the irritating whistling effect produced by the guitar after each line of the chorus. It was a nice intention for the band to try to keep up with their country’s thrashers, but ultimately their true home is in pure old British heavy metal, the subject matter of the fourth song, ‘Hail to England,’ which also seems to indicate that they wish to gallop to London Town (as with most Manowar songs, this is set in the past) and claim the throne. Relying on a traditional heavy metal style there really isn’t much that excites me in this one, but the verses possess the great energy of the band on top form, and the unison chanting in the chorus manages to be a vast improvement over that of the horrible ‘Metal Daze’ on the first album. Ross “The Boss” provides a great lead guitar riff that weaves its way around the entire song, and not once is there a rubbish attempt made to play ‘Greensleeves’ or some other song that American people might assume plays over England’s green and pleasant land; Manowar has too much respect.
As usual with Manowar albums, the final few tracks attempt something grander and more eloquent, though in this instance the results are less impressive, sadly forming the weaker half of the material. ‘Army of Immortals’ is the band’s tribute to their fans (they’re big on praise in this album), but only the chorus manages to rise above mediocrity in this re-hash of the previous album’s ideas. Things become really bleak with the return of DeMaio’s bass solo spot, avoided on the previous album but usually a staple of Manowar releases, and ‘Black Arrows’ has the distinction of being the least impressive of the lot. Beginning with a silly spoken word introduction distorted through some gadget or other that will resurface on the final song, DeMaio bellows that each of his notes will be as a black arrow sent straight through the hearts of all those who play false metal. It’s too depressingly awful to even be funny in the way the later ‘Kings of Metal’ album is hilarious, and the next few minutes of discordant bass masturbation should be confined only to the most hardcore DeMaio fan.
Fortunately, ‘Bridge of Death’ brings the quality back towards the end as a grand finale, but doesn’t live up to the high quality of the previous two albums with its crawling pace and lack of real progression. Eric Adams is fantastic in the chorus, holding the high notes with even greater ease than in the last album’s ‘Gates of Valhalla,’ but the return of the distorted voice processor, which sees Adams invocate the power of Satan in an uncharacteristic and pointless move that will only have invited criticism, keeps this from being a truly enjoyable song. It also has nothing to do with Monty Python, which adds to the disappointment.
‘Hail to England’ is one of Manowar’s more well-known, but weaker releases, perhaps viewed as a classic for its fortunate production in the middle of heavy metal’s popularity when people worldwide seemed to crave the generic heavy rock that it offers. The more impressive elements of this album will have gone over such peoples’ heads, but provide the only real reason for me to keep listening to this otherwise forgettable album, contributing ‘Blood of My Enemies’ to the Manowar canon along with a number of comparatively worthless, but nonetheless enjoyable pieces. ‘Sign of the Hammer’ would be released later the same year, and effectively fills in the obvious gaps of this album while managing to be the stronger of the two releases, yet even though many retailers such as Amazon sell these early albums for incredibly low prices of around £3.99 – meaning that they could all be bought to compliment each other for the same price as a single album from another band – it’s still a largely weak effort when viewed in the proper historical context. That said, it’s a whole lot better than some of the rubbish they would release later...
There's always something to say about Manowar. From their humble beginnings, they always preach their will to kill poser metal and the wimps who listen to it. For DeMaio, this is even more serious than his own life, and sometimes it's so exaggerated, that generates self-parodies. Anyway, Manowar is like AC/DC or Motörhead: nobody thinks that they could ever change a little of their epic 'true' metal, but in the 90's they lost some of the power of the early albums, making some records just to mantain their crowd of fans.
Anyway, many people considers that "Hail to England" is the greatest Manowar album of all time. And it is... epic and 'true' metal is the formula here, with great and catchy choruses, and the instantly recognizable 'Manowar' element, the element that made Manowar unique: their musicianship. The vocals, the drums, the bass, the guitar, everything is Manowar's trademark, a formula thousands of times copied, sometimes good, but sometimes in a very bad way.
Eric Adams' vocals are the first 'Manowar' trademark. It's just impossible to imagine Manowar without Adams' shouting, as simple as that. DeMaio is the 'Boss' in Manowar, the one that keeps the band's spirit alive. He is a God of bass playing. "Black Arrows" is a prove of that. Ross The Boss' guitar playing is great. He is as good as the other Manowar guitar players after him, but the classic albums were recorded with Ross in guitars, so that is a huge point in favour to him. An we all know the force of Columbus' drums, he can play only with a 'metal' drumkit, because every normal drumkit cant stand Columbus' playing.
"Blood of my Enemies" starts the album. It is the classic Manowar anthem, epic and heavy, with a catchy chorus. "Each Dan I Die" follows the same patterns, but it works fucking great. "Kill With Power" speeds up the rhythm, with a great riff and a astonishing chorus... 'KILL WITH POWER... DIE DIE!!'... one of the highlights of the album. "Hail to England" and "Army of Immortals" are in the same style of the first two tracks, more epic and mighty choruses... more of the same, but in the best sense of the word.
Now, "Black Arrows" is the best solo I've ever heard in my entire life. An electric bass that sounds like a guitar, with tons of distortion... Joey DiMaio is a bass player. Everyone else, just wimps and posers. Just listen to this one, he didn't seems to be human. Finally, "Bridge of Death", another epic anthem of almost 9 minutes. It's the perfect summary of the true epic power of "Hail to England".
Is "Hail to England" the best album of Manowar? Yes. But there's some great albums as well, like any of the 80's era, even "Fighting the World". Mandatory for every metalhead.
Hail to England is Manowar's most glorious release, easily one of their finest, if not the best album they ever put out. Their newer releases suffer from the overload of worthless orchestrations and ballads, while as their earlier releases before this one, and even a few after this suffered from sounding a bit too -hard rock- like from time to time. This is really not the case with Hail to England. As some might say, this is when they got their shit together and put out something remarkable. This is Manowar actually playing some great epic heavy metal. Quite possibly their heaviest and most aggressive venture.
As always Eric Adams is brighter than the sun with his powerful performance and incredible vocals, but he really seems like he completely perfected his craft here. At the end of the album self-titled track "Hail to England", Adams unleashes a 20 some second wail that seems to carry on endlessly when you're submerged into it. Truly an incredible part on this album that stands out. On top of this, the lyrics come out so clearly, a lot of the songs stick to my mind after hearing them. Albeit Manowar was never one of the best in the lyrics department, but back during this time stuff like this wasn't already done millions of times, so its really not something to be too disgruntled about. Basically, expect some of Eric Adam's best vocals ever here with catchy lyrics to top it off.
The production is a bit odd at times, when you look at the bass. At times its almost like the bass is the riff driving machine here. Sound wise, it reminds me of Omen's "Battle Cry" quite a bit when you look at everything else aside from the bass. The production does give this album its odd atmosphere that makes it even better, though. Perhaps its just me though.
Sound and style wise, this is truly what Manowar has always sought to sound like. Epic and glorious heavy metal. There's no hints of hard rock or anything like that hear at all. And with amazing chorus's and catchy themes, this blows their more boring efforts out of the water (Sign of the Hammer and Louder than Hell come to mind). Its an upbeat, aggressive, consistent, and mature adventure. However, there is sadly an inevitable downfall to all of this. "Black Arrows". Yet again, we must cover our ears to spare them from one of the worst solo songs you could possibly imagine, and its a whopping three minutes long. Maybe these were cool to watch live when Manowar would destroy their equipment or something while mindlessly scratching notes, but their solo songs have always been some of the worst garbage I've ever heard. Thankfully, the last track "Bridge of Death" treates us to a nice yet odd experimental ending to a wonderful album.
Sadly, this album is just downright short. If you took out the solo song, you'd have a 30 minute album, which could qualify as a longer EP for some bands. Its a shame, but then again unlike most of their releases there just isn't anything bad on here or out of place, except for the solo song, so there's not a whole lot of room for complaining. Overall this is perhaps Manowar's most mature release, and a must own for anyone who calls themselves a fan of the band. Its a shame they didn't really go on to put out anything remotely like this afterwards. But, we can dream.
I've always admired Manowar's gig. Their obnoxious macho "DEATH TO FALSE METAL!" and "other bands play, Manowar kills" attitude was always a funny thing to me. It shows a lot of wit and silly light heartedness into an otherwise mostly serious genre (with your list of exceptions you're thinking of as you're reading this sentence). Now on to the music: The production is fairly clean. The guitar has a nice metal fuzz, but still is clean enough to hear Ross the Boss's manical shredding, and the bass is well heard to a large extent. It's quite loud, and the drums sound real good for this album, in a "pump you up" sort of way. The riffs played are very catchy (the first five songs) and really can get you riled up (it did to me). Eric Adam's energetic low to high epic metal vocals, and his sing along choruses, just fit perfectly into the songs, and I think just work real well for Manowar. Here's a synapsis of the songs:
1. Blood of my Enemies- the intro is real strange, and slow, but then it gets thrusted into a heavy riffing session with Adams singing about killing people and blood and all that fun stuff. A pretty interesting solo as well, with a good ol' sing along chorus. Good song.
2. Each dawn I die- This song is really strange. The riff gives a real strange feeling to me whenever I hear, but it's how that riff earns its catchy badge. Another sing along chorus as well, and a nice falsetto note you can try to reach if you can.
3. Kill with Power- This song is, in my opinion, the best and most "Manowar" song on the album. The drum intro that speeds up just gets you pumped real big, then a single driving E5 chord played at high speeds with Adams serenading you about war and all that jazz (metal), with, once again, another good chorus (KILL WITH POW-WUH! DIEEE DIEEE!). It's just a high energy song.
4. Hail to England- Another catchy riff, with another sing along chorus, with another badass solo. The formula works. Hail to England!
5. Army of Immortals- I like how Adams is referencing the past albums in the first part of the song, then sings about metal kicking ass and such. A bit more epic than the first four, but it still has all the past elements of the other songs. Pretty good.
6. Black Arrow- This track is just fucked up, but not in a bad way. The beginning is a hilarious passage about "each note I now play being a Black Arrow of Death sent straight to the hearts of all those who play FALSE METAL!" followed by an obnoxious battle cry. What happens next is an indecipherable flurry of harmonics and distorted bass scales being churned out at an incredible rate by DeMaio. I imagine this track would fairly scary to those who don't know what the hell's happening, or if they play false metal.
7. Bridge of Death- Epic, yet completely ridiculous. Different, yet completely ridiculous. More instrumental display, yet completely ridiculous. Get the point? This is the best (funniest) song about Satan, ever. And moreover, it displays the peak of musicianship within the band. A fairly solid 9 minute closer to a fun to listen to album.
In conclusion, if you dig badass solos and energetic pump you up riffs, please listen to this. Hell, if you've just looking for a good laugh, listen to this album.
There is only one flaw in this album - it's too damn short! But the short period of musical greatness is one of metal finest hours! Every song here rules quite a lot, and the whole thing is an intense dark screaming piece of heavy metal.
It begins with five songs which just seem to go along extremely well together. It's impossible to say which of them is the best, but it would probably be the screaming fast Kill With Power or the dark atmospheric Each Dawn I Die. They all have a strong clear yet very deep sound, with a touch of darkness, and with Hail to England being the lightest track with an enjoyable fast pace and perhaps the best solo on the album. Blood of My Enemies is a great opener, dragging you slowly yet fiercely into the album before it decends into the heavier Each Dawn I Die. The fifth track, which closes the main sequence of five track, is a song dedicated to all of Manowar's fans and is even named after their fan club. It is a great rocking song with very powerful riffage and beat. After that comes a bass solo, with a cool intro speech, which features Joey's extraordinary bass-playing skills, but is a bit, well, blurred. It devides the album into it's two parts, the opening five tracks and the final epic masterpiece, which alone is enough to balance the album. It is one of Manowar's darkest, most epic songs, with great vocals and an exellent flow. It closes the album perfectly with Eric's evil laughter, making this one of the finest metal albums ever to be released.
If you don't have this yet, buy it, it is a classic masterpiece.
Highlights:all of the songs.
At last, a Manowar album where the riffs are clear-as-day! They definately stand out, despite being ever-so distorted. Also, this is the first album where the drums really sound well done on accompanying the guitar.
The vocals and lyrics are still as big and cheesy as ever, but by now it's what you should've come to expect. The bass stands out a lot more on this album, not being just a distorted metallic noise, like on the previous two albums.
The solos on here are excellent, and feature better playing than the first two albums, but the riffs on some songs are really quite disappointing. The stand-out track is the title track, as it is catchy as Hell. You could almost imagine barbarians marching on their way to English lands singing the chorus to this song, ready for war.
Black Arrows has a fucking strange introduction clip, with the strangest scream I've ever heard, and then a strange but amazing guitar solo. The entire song shows off the pure skill of his playing, but is slightly let down by being distorted still.
The last song is the typical Manowar epic finisher, and does its job just fine, but isn't really that impressive. Nice riffs and a great solo, though.
Manowar did a good job here, they finally got everything present, but it's a shame about some of the songs they played, otherwise it could've been so much better.
"Raise sails! Head for the o-pen sea!" What an incredible album! As some have already commented, Joey's bass is hugely prevalent here, (luckily I'm a fan of Manowar's various bass solos), but the guitar solos are to die for! The album is also a fine example of Eric's vocals, particularly with 'Blood Of My Enemies', "Strong winds, magic mist! To Asgard the Valkyries fly!", also 'Kill With Power' and 'Bridge Of Death'. All in all, the album is more 'wicked' than 'Into Glory Ride', I can't think of a track on here that possesses the same kind of beauty as say, 'Secrets Of Steel' or 'Gates Of Valhalla'. If I had to criticise the album I would point to the fact that because it was recorded along with the mighty 'Sign Of The Hammer', those who dislike 'Black Arrows' and 'Each Dawn I Die', could feel cheated when they are left with only five tracks. But those five are pure gold, trust me. Did I mention that Hail To England is among my favourite album covers? I know it's the music that's important but that cover kills! A further reason I have for liking this album, (regarded as trivial by most), is that it carries more of a theme? Obviously it's no concept album, but album titles such as 'Hail To England' and 'Sign Of The Hammer' are a lot better than for example, 'Warriors Of The World'. Incidentally, the album carries the staple 'one for the brothers' track, in the form of 'Army Of The Immortals', incredible song, incredible album. Oh and the Silver Edition has the details of a Manowar drinking game on the inside cover!
Wow, that bass is fucking loud. It's an interesting mix, but not altogether a bad one... also, the songwriting is top-notch, making this one of the Manowar albums worth having. As mentioned in previous reviews, it's pretty uptempo, compared to the slow and crushing Into Glory Ride - this one is more of another Battle Hymns, except cheesy in a different way. Instead of the completely over-the-top late-70s style Death Tone, we have songs like Army of the Immortals, which is the companion piece to Manowar from the first LP.
The vocals aren't quite so loud in the mix as on Battle Hymns, but the riffage is similar. So is the album structure: there's a bass solo, and the last song is by far the most epic. There is only one epic number, though - not two. Oh well. It's also sort of completely over-the-top in cheese factor.
Anyway, the overall quality... the first five songs are all top-notch headbangers. Each is around 4 minutes in length, and each is epic and tr00 without tripping over itself in pretentiousness. This is the simple, effective Manowar that they are very good at, more so than the epic stuff, which is up and down. You can't lose, though, with a bash-it-out number like Kill with Power or Call to Arms or Return of the Warlord or Fast Taker or Hail and Kill, etcetc.
All 5 songs are excellent... the highlight is probably the aforementioned Army of the Immortals, or perhaps the opener Blood of my Enemies.
What of the last two songs, then? Well, there's the bass solo. "Let each note I play be..." some pretentious bullshit. At least it's not 12 minutes long like a certain bootleg I've heard from '84. Yeek.
Then, the last track. Manowar goes Black Metal? Not really... a decent song, in the middle of the pack of the 'epic numbers that work' by Manowar. Pretty much something they haven't been able to do since the first four albums, but when they were good at it, oh they were very good. The opener is a balladic part, sort of reminiscent of Heart of Steel, before it explodes into something that would make Black Sabbath proud. It is, however, a bit overlong... the last three minutes or so are completely forgettable, though it probably more than anything else inspired the middle section of Victim of Fate. Still, really fucking silly. "Drink my blood, as I drink yours." Does Satan even have blood? A question for the theologists, I presume.
In any case... older Manowar is far less a self-parody than new Manowar. This is a recommended album to get, for both those that have heard other shit by them, and those that need an intro to the band.
After the mindblowing debut album Battle Hymns, which remains one of my top five albums ever, and the more epic Into Glory Ride, Manowar brings is their third studio album, titled Hail To England. It was given that title because the American critics completely ignored Manowar in the early days as they were "too radical", while the English critics praised them to no end. So the band decided to name the album (one of the songs) Hail To England, as a tribute to the country.
Hail To England takes the epic feeling and raw production of the previous album Into Glory Ride, blends it with the classic heavy metal feeling of debut album Battle Hymns, and ends up being the third amazing album in a row for Manowar.
We begin with Blood of My Enemies. This song, as well as the entire album takes a while to fully appreciate, but when you do it's fucking killer.
The opening basslines are spinechilling, and when Eric kicks the song going along with the heavy-as-hell midpaced main riff, you can't help but getting up to headbang.
The chorus is a classic, with atmospheric choirs in the background and a raw but at the same time melodic vocal performance. And the solo is bloody amazing too.
Each Dawn I Die is the album's weakest song (except for the hideous bass solo) but it still rocks quite well. Heavy, slightly above midpaced bass riff over an evil vocal performance complete with weird but mighty cool "aahAAH" parts. This is a very good song, but somewhat lacks the intensity and atmosphere displayed in the others.
Kill With Power. Fuck yeah, this rocks. The drum intro starts slow, then speeds up, before crashing into in-fucking-sanity. Total speed metal guitar/bass riffwork, explosive drums and a wicked vocal performance, along with Hail And Kill-style chorus: Kill With Power, DIE DIE! Yup, this is as classic as it gets.
Next up we have the title track. The bass- and guitarwork and vocal lines are the standouts on this song. Excellent driving riffwork build a strong spine for the song, and the guitar solo is insane. The vocal lines are catchy and uplifting, and the chorus is singalong based and incredibly powerful.
Army of the Immortals is Manowar's tribute to their fan club, with the same name. The lyrics stand out here, they are well written and makes me proud to me a Manowar fan. The riffwork is excellent as usual; somewhat simple but very powerful, and works excellent with the vocals.
The bass solo Black Arrows is, aside from the cool spoken intro, a pile of feces. It's just a blur of random noises, and will make your ears bleed. In a bad way.
The final song Bridge of Death is a true masterpiece of epic proportions.
It starts out as a ballad, with a mesmerizing atmosphere and a beautiful vocal performance, with spinechilling guitar melodies underneath. Then it changes smoothly into a dark and catchy, midpaced bridge while still maintaining the epic atmosphere created in the beginning. It stays at about the same pace, maintains the atmosphere and remains just as dark and evil throughout the entire song, reaching above 7 minutes, and ends up as one of my top 5 Manowar songs of all time.
So, aside from Black Arrows and Each Dawn I Die, this album rocks pretty fucking well. Highlights? All songs except the two I just mentioned.
Yet again - even though the first two albums certainly were not bad - Manowar manages to top those two with the release of "Hail To England" - a real classic if there ever was one.
Although the sound in itself is slightly less "heavy" than on "Into Glory Ride" - the production certainly remains excellent and perfectly fits the collection of songs on offer here - some of which rank amongst the best the band ever did (and probably will ever do). Also very notable is the fact that this is probably Manowar's "darkest" album ever - if the mood on a song like "Hatred" was black - they managed to equal and top that with songs like "Bridge Of Death" or "Each Dawn I Die". Needless to say btw - that this probably is Eric Adam's finest hour as well - with some of the best vocal lines he ever spewed forth - brilliant.
The album starts off with the mid-tempo basher "Blood Of My Enemies" - an excellent anthem with one of my favourite Manowar chorus's ever - is followed by the slightly less spectacular (but still very good) "Each Dawn I Die", only to result into Manowar's fastest song to date "Kill With Power". "Hail To England" is an excellent anthem. Then we move on to "Army Of The Immortal's" - another typical Manowar anthem which is pulled off extremely well on here as well - and unto sadly the only couple of minutes that aren't really worht mentioning - the obligatory bass solo "Black Arrows". Luckily the album closes on an incredibly strong note with the mighty "Bridge Of Death" - Manowar's darkest and most "evil" song - and a firm fan's favourite.
If there is one Manowar album which belongs in every Metal collection out there - it certainly must be this one - a true classic release and one of Metal's finest hours as far as i'm concerned.