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One year after their amazing debut album Battle Hymns, Manowar release Into Glory Ride as the follow-up. Between these two, the musical style has changed greatly. The debut was generally balls-out straightforward heavy fucking metal, fast and catchy, although it did have two excellent epic tracks. On Into Glory Ride, they put alot more focus on the epic approach, and the songs tend to move on at a slow pace, with a rather doomy atmosphere, and I must say they do it really well. The raw yet well-defined production with the high bass also adds very much to the musical direction taken here.
But despite the big change in the musical direction, this is unmistakably the same band that recorded Battle Hymns. The bass assault of Joey DeMaio and the amazing ranged vocals of Eric Adams delivering loads of powerful midrange vocals and mindblowing high pitched screams, are both classic trademarks of any Manowar album. And of course, we have the punishing riffs and mental solos of Ross the Boss, who played with Manowar from Battle Hymns to Kings of Metal, and started the band together with Joey DeMaio.
And then the band has replaced the former Donnie Hamzik with Scott Columbus, which was undoubtedly a very good choice. Hamzik was a great drummer in his own right, but his groovy Les Binks-like style wouldn't fit well on this album, or any other Manowar album except Battle Hymns. Scott Columbus brings shitloads of power into the mix, hammering the drum kit with some of the heaviest drumming ever, and without overuse of the double bass.
This four-man lineup provides us with this album, which although sandwiched between two of the band's strongest albums, kicks a great deal of ass.
As already mentioned, the music on here is very epic, slow and doomy, but the opening track Warlord is a furious heavy metal track in the vein of the first five songs on the debut. While not quite as amazing as the Battle Hymns tracks, it does rock very well. Then we get Secret of Steel, which is the only really weak point of the album. It just plods along, and isn't very epic at all.
It's not until the third track, Gloves of Metal that this album really starts to own.
Gloves of Metal is an epic, midpaced monstrous banger about true fuckin' heavy metal. But this album's true masterpiece is the track that follows- Gates of Valhalla. A spinechilling, mesmerizing acoustic intro accompanied by a beautiful vocal performance singing the chorus opens up the song, before it turns heavier, into a truly epic, above midpaced masterpiece, with heavy fucking galloping under-vers riffs that would make Iron Maiden shit their pants.
And the solo is high quality classic heavy metal material, the way only Ross The Boss can do it.
Then we get the midpaced and devastatingly heavy Hatred, which starts off very nice but does get pretty boring for the instrumental section, with that fucked up random instrument sounding like a triangle more than anything.
The two last tracks Revelation (Death's Angel) and March For Revenge (By the Soldiers of Death) are more epic material, done in a great fashion. The former containing more badass galloping riffs and a really cool chorus, the latter being more powerful and emotional, but heavy as hell nonetheless - and really fucking good, too. Although it does feature more of that annoying triangle-sounding instrument that was also found in Hatred.
All in all a really excellent release by the Kings of Metal. Seven songs are found on here. Five of them completely fucking own, while one is pretty average and one is rather boring. So, it could be better, but they certainly did a great fucking job.
Into Glory Ride is definitely recommended, although it does take a while to get into it.