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This second album from the New York metal masters Manowar is one of their most epic works to date. Having shed their slightly rock 'n' roll-y primary skin apparent on "Battle Hymns", Manowar decided to head in the epic direction cemented by the title track and "Dark Avenger" on their first album. This was IMO a kickass decision since metal is supposed to be epic, although a few rockers here and there doesn't hurt. And, just like with "Dark Avenger", there is a tinge of doom metal here and there throughout the album, and most notably on "Secret of Steel". This album was also part of a transition between the rock 'n' roll oriented "Battle Hymns", and the thrash/proto-power metal release entitled "Hail to England"
The production is very bad. The bass is only really audible if you listen closely, but then again, Joey DeMaio is not a run-of-the-mill bass players. The guitars have quite a polished sound compared to the muddy sound on "Hail to England" and "Sign of the Hammer". The drums sound flat and quite lifeless compared to the massive drum sound featured in the video of "Gloves of Metal"
The album opens with the tongue-in-cheek song "Warlord", a fun little rocker with a catchy chorus. The problem with this song is that it doesn't fit this album, and perhaps would have been better off if it'd been featured on "Battle Hymns". But as I said, it's a catchy little number, and its inclusion somewhat adds a little bit more diversity to this album
"Secret of Steel" begins with a very distinctive drum intro courtesy of Scott Columbus, and then a small bass solo section appears where Joey displays his skills. Eric's vocals are for the most part very soft, and at times he almost sounds drugged-up
"Gloves of Metal" has that "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath"-like riff, except that it's more melodic and played in major-key. It has a somewhat galloping Iron Maiden-esque rhythm, and Ross' guitar solo also reminds me of Maiden
"Gates of Valhalla" starts off with a long bass doodle somewhat similar to the bass playing in "Dark Avenger", with the exception that this song is not a very doomy song. This was probably a huge influence for Bathory when Quorthon changed the direction of Bathory on their "Blood Fire Death" album from 1988. And this influence can only be a good one, because this song is one mighty motherfucking composition. You know what, go grab your sword and kneel before this song
"Hatred" is a song that you will most likely dislike or hate at first listen. It takes a while to fully be able to listen to, but the main problem with this song is that it really doesn't go anywhere. The keyboard parts are almost comical, but I have no idea what they're supposed to represent
"Revelation" is my all time favourite Manowar song. It reminds of Maiden's classic "The Trooper". It has the same galloping rhythm, soaring vocals and inspiring lyrics. I guess this was one of Manowar's attempts to jump on the "Satanite" bandwagon created by Maiden in the 80s, but those attempts (this also includes "Bridge of Death" among others) were successful. Eric's vocals are magical and the guitar solo is wonderful
"March for Revenge" is unfortunately a bit too long for its own good. The intro sounds similar to the intro of Metallica's "Phantom Lord", except that I don't think this is a synthesizer intro. The drums sound like a dozen horses carrying a chariot across a battlefield. The triangle used during the chorus part works amazingly well, even if the triangle is not the most metal instrument ever. The ballad part in the middle also works very well
This is an album that I recommend to everyone who wants a dose of true heavy metal