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Solidly epic when it gets going - 70%

UltraBoris, March 24th, 2003

This is certainly a pretty good Manowar album, with a few great songs on here. However, it's not 100% excellent, with a few plodding songs that just don't quite sound right - managing to sound like a bad doom band - a Black Sabbath but without the crushing heaviness.

But first, the good. Warlord - this is a fun little song. It's the fastest song on here - Hell, it's the only song on here that sounds anywhere near fast. The intro is silly as fuck... but then we get into a solid banging number. This one sounds like a Battle Hymns track - comparable to the first few on that album. The rest of the album is completely different.

Gloves of Metal is a solid riff-based epic number. The intro riff and then onwards, this just fucking crushes. This is epic heavy fucking metal the way it is designed to be - something that Manowar would try to get to on albums like The Triumph of Steel, but then just never quite do. It's a midpaced crusher of a song with some solid headbanging riffage.

Then, Gates of Valhalla is even better. It starts with a little intro passage which then turns into a song that sounds like Iron Maiden, slowed down a bit, but made 100 times heavier. The galloping is definitely there, but it's more of a Children of the Grave type song. In the middle, they throw in about two minutes of soloing. Excellent stuff. This is what makes Manowar have any sort of a claim towards the title "Kings of Metal" - none of their later pretentious bullshit. This is just solid epic stuff that fucking rocks.

Revelation (Death's Angel) is the last great song - it sounds like another rejected Maiden number turned really dark. "Hear the rime of the ancient mariner..." Excellent, with solo after solo.

Then, the rest of the album isn't quite as strong. Hatred just kinda plods along after that monster Diamond Head style opening riff. (Lightning to the Nations) It never quite gets out of intro mode, though the solo is pretty nifty. Secret of Steel is utter crap that really doesn't do anything other than sound like they used too much LSD. March For Revenge is pretty long, but what's with that random instrument in there? Is that the triangle? The most metal instrument ever?? Then there's a really silly passage in the middle that is a chilling reminder of silly Manowar interludes to come. Oh dear. "When we march, your sword rides with me." This is really fucking pretentious here, and you can clearly hear the sound of a shark being jumped.

Overall, this is a pretty decent album, with some great tracks on here. It's not 100% good all the way through, but when it sucks, it still does not suck as much dripping donkey cock as other Manowar albums will do. There is no An American Trilogy here, and for that I thank them. Furry loincloths and all, they are forgiven.