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Gods of Thunder, Tearing Asunder. - 86%

hells_unicorn, February 10th, 2008

For twenty-seven years Manowar has unapologetically sent the balls of the whorish mainstream through their eye sockets with the iron boot that is heavy metal. Not one to shrink from the task of diversifying the barbaric slaughter that is their sound with some epic interludes, what you often get is a middle ground between a very melodic and cheesy speed metal and a quasi-symphonic film score with keyboards and narrations blazing away. In spite of being seasoned veterans of their craft and sometimes derided as old timers, they have not relented, as can be heard on this triumphant single.

Although a bit longwinded for a single, I can see the point of a prelude of this magnitude to kick off a full length album that is quite ambitious musically. The featured track that follows the prelude “King of Kings” is classic 80s speed vintage with no apologies to a musically dead mainstream outside of metal’s bounds. Although keyboard heavy throughout, the thunderous rhythm section and pounding guitar give this track an equal dose of adrenaline that is comparable to the blazing fury of such classics as “Black Wind, Fire and Steel” and “Blood of the Kings”.

Things do slow down a bit for a keyboard driven and narrated interlude, but for those who understand Manowar’s history, this is something that has always been present in their music. I hope that the critics who obsess over the interludes here were consistent with older Manowar classics such as “Defender” which sported similar narratives. But afterwards we get an amazing methodical solo display on the part of Karl Logan, who bests a good deal of Ross the Boss’ work with the band.

This is a song that will no doubt satisfy the prolonged desire of the Manowar faithful who have seen a slowing in the band’s output since “The Triumph of Steel”. It is a pretty good indicator of the musically ambitious nature of the full length release “Gods of War”, which is heavily criticized for being too book-on-tape oriented. If you happen across this single in a bargain bin somewhere and you don’t have the full length, it would be worth picking up, but real fans of Manowar get the whole experience on the LP with the volume maxed out.