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Manowar's moment of glory - 95%

NotGlib, April 24th, 2009

One of the earliest power metal bands around, Manowar has it's fair share of both fan and detractor. Sometimes hailed as a band who refuses to compromise their brand of "true metal" and sometimes mocked for their overt seriousness towards ideals of being true and their often over the top lyrics. I'm a major fan of the band and view the lyrics and presentation as part of their charm. While I don't particularly about true-ness and slaying falses (though it is fun, don't get me wrong!), Manowar wouldn't be Manowar without the tales of metal conquering all or their often hilarious apparel.

What we have here is Manowar defining themselves. Battle Hymns is an awesome album, but not really representative of what the band would come. The Manowar style was hinted at in the third to last and very last track on that LP, but here on Into Glory Ride we see them embrace the epic nature of those two songs. Aside from the silly, but fun Warlord, all of the songs are often mid or slow paced with with an emphasis on atmosphere. Topics range from Valhalla (an major influence on mid-era Bathory even though Quorthon downplays it), warfare, revenge for slain comrades and family and mystical artifacts and quests. I enjoy all of the tracks although as noted in earlier reviews, Hatred tends to drag during the instrumental section and I consider this the weakest song on the album. Out of the seven tracks, only one falls under 5 minutes with most exceeding that with the finale, the magnificent March for Revenge, being the longest.

The production is perhaps the biggest handicap. Though relatively clear, Eric Adams' vocals especially, there is a certain muddiness to the guitars. Sometimes overpowered by DeMaio's bass, this isn't too much of a problem as Joey often plays interesting basslines. The riffing is there, it's just a little hard to hear at times. Solos ring loud and clear, though. Ross the Boss may not turn in his best performance here, but the leads are good and enhance to the songs they appear in. Songwriting is strong and Scott Columbus, making his Manowar album debut, turns in a powerful performance crushing his drums with pounding rhythms.

As highly as I view this album, I would not recommend it to a person trying to get into Manowar for the first time. Kings of Metal or Fighting the World are much more easily accessible if not as strong in the songwriting department. Those looking for an epic adventure, however, would do well to purchase this album. Strong songwriting with excellent performances fill the album along with an intense atmosphere. I view this as being Manowar's finest hour with Hail to England only trailing due to it's unneeded bass solo. Pick this up and embrace the metal warrior in you!