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The sound Manowar should have stuck with - 80%

Xeogred, March 13th, 2007

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.