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Manowar is a special band. There is no metalhead has never heard of them or heard anything by them. They're pretty much a staple band in metal. So, what makes the band so special? They could make epic music with a computer generated lyrics that have the combination of words such as metal, warriors, brothers, kill, blood, war,and glory. Their early albums range from great to enjoyable silliness that works. Then comes... Kings of Metal.
Every member of Manowar is talented and capable of using the instruments but sometimes, the Manowar cliches along with strange songwriting hinders the music on the album rather makes it exciting. "Hail and Kill" is a very recognizable song and pretty much a fun simple song that works and get the album some recognition but once you start listening to the whole album through, you'd notice some stuff that feels so odd and makes you go "What the FUCK?"
Let's just say, the album is sort of split into 3 parts. The first part starts of with "Wheels of Fire" which is a decent opener starts off with motortcycle engine sort of like the opener of Battle Hymns with Death Tone which we already heard that before and the main comes in with some cunchy riff and the song is on. Honesty, it's an okay song and the chorus is pretty catchy and fun but nothing really spectacular but the verse transition into the chorus is pretty inconsistent which it does not flow well. The second and the title track is next and this is a pretty fun song. It's Manowar over-the-topness but still enjoyably silly and despite the lyrics with "kick your ass" in it is somewhat badass and works fine and puts a smile on your face. "Heart of Steel" is a nicely piano driven ballad with impressive vocal performance by Eric Adams and a very soothing and well-written song. It's Manowar's better ballads and works fine. But you know, when you read a title like "Heart of Steel", you'd expect a very heavy riff filled song but if you're listening to this for the first time, a ballad would just throw you off but eventually, you'd get over it and the song plays nicely and the best track on the album. The first part ends with "Sting Of The Bumblebee" which is nothing but Joey DeMaio's bass wankary with drumming interlude. Joey DeMaio is an accomplished bassist but is it really necessary to halt the flow of the album with this? Not really. I, personally, don't like interludes. They just cut off the flow and it does take awhile until the second part kicks in (I'm just saying this generally with a lot of albums not just this one.)
The second part of the album opens with "The Crown And The Ring" which is another softy, huh! Kings of Metal, my ass!!! Look, it's a very nice song with choir, orchestral, and church organs. I, personally, like it but seems very odd having another ballad after a ballad and an interlude. It just makes the whole "metal" imagery which the band tried to convey is pretty deceiving and weak. I know, metal is diverse and whatnot but if the tracks between "Kingdom Come" and "The Crown And The Ring" is switched, it would have been a bit better. It just slows the album between tracks 3 to 5. By the way, "Kingdom Come" is forgettable track, isn't it?
And now, the first big strike that killed the album with the abomination known as "Pleasure Slave". This has to be the worst Manowar song of the 80's. It's even a bonus track and somehow shoved midway of the album. Why not at the end of them album? It wouldn't had a horrible effect later on. So, the song opens up with an orgy Christmas party and the lyrics are just disgustingly terrible. I know, I've heard black metal and death metal songs with more disturbingly weird shit lyrics but this one is just terribly written on top of that. Someone suggested in the earlier reviews that this isn't meant to be taken seriously. Okay, I do agree on that but what makes it worse is that the music is just fucking bad. It's slow, plodding, and annoying sound riff that makes the whole experience so unpleasant. At least, with black and death metal songs, yes, they are not meant to be taken seriously but at least the music is good. Here, it's neither the lyrics or the music. Eric Adams wailing does get fucking annoying with the moaning sounds just fucking kills it. Even on the guitar solo section, the moaning doesn't fucking stop and it is fucking annoying as hell. The song falls into the unfunny and pathetic attempt as a humor. And what makes things worst is that "Hail and Kill" is next. "Pleasure Slave" effect is still on the back of your mind listening to a great song like "Hail and Kill" which makes it feel really bad. So, I think the earlier edition to the album was better because it has "Kingdom Come" and after it "Hail and Kill" and the flow wouldn't have been butchered by "Pleasure SUCK!!". My suggestion either find the older edition or program the CD player or something to skip over this horse-shit of a track.
So, if "Pleasure Slave" was the first strike and then "The Warrior's Prayer" demolishes the album into stupidity. This is the third part of the album and it's just a stupid track is about some kid asking his drunk grandfather to tell him a story for FOUR AND TWENTY FUCKING MINUTES INTERLUDE!!! Really??? This is on a Manowar album? And let's be honest, do you even care on what this old fuck rambling around. "I was a warrior slitting throat with "hek!" Peter Pan and we fought giant "hek!" robots because we looked "hek!" metal and shit like that!" It's also funny is that the grandfather asks the kid if he liked his insane stupid story. I think the kid just made up his appreciation to him of fear that his grandfather would go more coo-coo on him. Jeez!!! I mean, this track takes out all the seriousness and the "metaness" out of the album.
However, Blood of the Kings does close the album on a good note after several shitty moments. It's an epic song in which the band has decided to put all the album titles and track titles in their lyrics making silly yet awesome at the same time, the last part of the song which seems a pre-Judas Priest Painkiller moment. It's a great closure to a subpar album.
I think the album would have worked better if it has a different arrangement to the tracks by removing and replacing them around for something like this:
1. Wheels of Fire
2. Kings of Metal
3. Heart of Steel
4. Sting of the Bumblebee
5. Kingdom Come
6. Hail and Kill
7. The Crown And The Ring (Lament Of The Kings)
8. Blood of the Kings
In conclusion, it's not Manowar's best album despite having some strong tracks especially in the beginning but declines as it progresses. "Pleasure Slave" and "The Warrior's Prayer" are the reasons that I gave the album such an average score. Is it worth listening? Yes, it does because it is still a Manowar album but could have been better. Still, Manowar's best albums are from Battle Hymn to Fighting the World and the decline had started from this album.