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When I was first getting into metal just before I entered high school a friend of mine really hyped up Manowar. I had heard about them...well, mostly Joey Demaio's ego. I bought this album to get a taste of Manowar.
I put the CD in and I heard the sound of a motorcycle being fired up and all I could think was "Oh shit..." I was expecting some mediocre piece of crap song about Harleys. However, I was surprised, "Wheels of Fire" is a good song, one of my favorites on the album. After hearing quite a bit from Manowar over the years, I appreciate this song even more because this is one of the few moments where Manowar really plays fast, something that they really need to do more often. This song showcases Eric Adams' pipes, something that I always enjoy, Ross the Boss rips through a nice solo, and the drums keep up nicely.
Up next is the title track, "Kings of Metal" and I knew right after I read the title that this would be one of those "We're the REAL metal!" songs that Manowar has become notorious for. I think that musically, this song is spot-on. Eric Adams' voice is still awesome, Ross the Boss and Demaio are still superb...but Manowar has a knack for writing cheesy lyrics, this is one great example of that. They have an ego that they like to showcase, it is part of their style. I find it kind of funny and draws me to them. I think it's fun, however, it does get dull. They really must stop beating the horse corpse.
"Heart of Steel" is a great ballad. One of my favorite Manowar songs. The piano intro, then chimes in Eric Adams (who loses some of the harshness to his voice and sounds like a choir boy), the empowering lyrics, the heavy guitars...I like everything about this song. This song always cheers me up when I am feeling inadequate.
Ahh...yes...Joey Demaio. Great guitarist, talks a lot of shit, has a big ego. I can see why he has a big ego, he's a damn good bass player. He showcases his skill with his rendition of "Flight of the Bumblebee" (dubbed "Sting of the Bumblebee"). Although this rendition is great, there are moments where it seems that Demaio will take the song to new heights and improvise a bit, seems as though he is going somewhere and then disappoints me. I wish he would use "Flight of the Bumblebee" as a vessel for a bit of improvisation...but that is just my personal preference.
Next my ears were confused. Rather epic-sounding organs assaulted them, along with a choir. What the hell? "The Crown and the Ring (Lament of the Kings)" is not what I expected from Manowar. This song shows that they do have variety. I like this song a lot, the chorus of manly-men makes me think epic...and melancholy thoughts.
"Kingdom Come" is one of Manowar's "LET'S BE POSITIVE!" songs. I'm not the biggest fan of the song. Not a bad solo. Lyrics irritate me. This whole song is just kind of "Meh."
"Pleasure Slave" assaulted my ears with the sound of women's orgasms. What the hell. This whole song irritates me, mostly because I like the riff used at the chorus...but that's bad because the whole meaning behind this song irritates me. I know Manowar should not be taken seriously...but...WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SONG?!
At least all of that was redeemed with "Hail and Kill", another of my favorites from this band. Tje guitar work is all catchy and very, very good. The intro...the chorus (more manly-men!!!!!), the verses, the solo...it is all good. This is quality song-writing (even if the lyrics are typical of Manowar). This song makes me grab my short sword and run around outside screaming like an animal...no really...sometimes I have to talk to authorities about it and convince them that I'm no threat and in quite healthy mental condition.
"The Warrior's Prayer" might not be a song. It might be cheesy. But...to quote a good friend of mine after listening to it, "THAT IS AWESOME!" Enough said.
"Blood of the Kings" ends the album nicely, smacking you square in the face after the narrative track. I find the majority of this song rather average, but the chorus is very catchy...and that makes up for most of this songs misgivings.
All in all...I like this album. This caused me to purchase more Manowar albums, which weren't as good. I still like Manowar, though. I love their cheesiness for some reason, and I still think they are great musicians, they just need to showcase it on their albums more. Of course, you can't take them seriously, but that is part of the fun that is being a Manowar fan.