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Weak - 57%

DawnoftheShred, August 26th, 2008

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.