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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.