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After the mediocre Fighting the World, Manowar turns their shit around and releases this metal monstrosity. It has all the pieces of a great album; epicness, atmosphere, diversity, talent, catchiness, and absolute heaviness. The only problem with this album, like most Manowar albums, is rather than filling the album entirely with the classic songs that they most certainly are capable of writing, they always throw in a couple useless instrumental or interlude tracks that seriously detract from the album. Kings of Metal is no exception, but they're a little less glaring then they could potentially be.
The best songs are absolutely obvious. The moment you hear any track on this album, you'll immediately know one of two things: 1. This song is going to absolutely rule or 2. This song is unbelievably gay. The only case this doesn't apply is the Joey DeMaio bass solo where he obnoxiously apes "Flight of the Bumblebee." That one is entirely dependent on whether you think its brilliant or wankery. The rest are very easily divided into classics and shit. "Wheels of Fire" is a furious speed metal powerhouse that never lets up. "Kings of Metal" is the band's most self-glorifying track, but they do it well enough to make up for it's OTT arrogance. "Heart of Steel" is an amazing piano based power ballad, one of the band's most well-written songs and arguably the best song here. Very moving. "Blood of the Kings" is stirring and epic, with some cool solo work. "Kingdom Come" is a pretty upbeat, but has some cool vocal hooks. "Hail and Kill" is the other song arguable as the album's best, a masterful composition that's both heavy and melodic. These songs are the reason for this album's greatness, each one makes you want to take up your sword and head off to battle.
Now on to the shitty ones. "The Crown and the Ring" is drawn out and boring, and mostly choir based. "Pleasure Slave" is fucking retarded lyrically and too slow musically. "The Warrior's Prayer" is a four minute spoken story. I don't see how anyone could listen to these song's more than once, if at all. Why put them on the album at all?
Joey DeMaio is an overrated bassist, but his playing is good here, as is Ross Friedman on guitar, whose solos and riffs are impressive throughout. The drumming is fast and technical, probably their best up to this point. The highlight of this album, like most of their albums, is Eric Adams on vocals. Nobody screams like that guy does; he's pretty much inimitable. His voice makes the lyrics come off not as cheesy but just plain cool.
This is an impressive album, if you can ignore the worthless filler tracks. The classics on here more than make up for them.