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So first off, we have a new guitarist, Karl Logan. Ross the Boss left the band in '89 and was replaced by David Shankle, who left in '94 after playing on "The Triumph of Steel". Secondly, Scott Columbus is back in the band on drums. This line-up is in my opinion inferior to Shankle and Rhino for the previous album, but with that being said, I still really love this album, and I'm going to tell you why.
Stylistically, this is as straight-forward and as to the point as you can get. Though it's not the most musically adept album in terms of complexity, that is the very thing that makes it so enjoyable and awesome. What you get with this album is pile-driving rhythms, steady, straight forward bass lines, clean and simple, powerful guitar riffs, and most importantly, strong, powerful, and melodic vocals. I would say that this is probably Manowar's greatest "sing along" album, because the vocals are the forefront of every track. The first 3 songs are all in generally the same vein, and the message in the lyrics is also very similar. They are celebrating true heavy metal in it's most straight-forward form, basking in the glory and the awesomeness its style. As I said the style they play in is relatively simple, putting most of the focus on the singer and the power of the message they are trying to deliver. Certain lyrical lines really are passionate and meaningful, pulling no punches and making it clear that this is what they do, and if you don't like it FUCK YOU. They make no apologies about enjoying the heavy metal lifestyle and they are in fact quite proud of it.
Most of the guitar riffs are basic eighth-note strumming, usually on the open E string. The drums pound along in suit, and this forms the basic backbone for this album. It's a very driving, fist pounding feel, the way that heavy metal should be played. Some of the choruses are really epic, especially "Brothers of Metal", where the passion and the power is taken to the ultimate extreme. Every true metalhead who believes in this music and is willing to fight for it will love and relate to this album and what it stands for.
"Courage" is a beautiful ballad and one of Manowar's best songs ever written. The first half is played by piano, then the heavy guitars kick in and the rest of the song rocks. It's a beautiful message, and it shows that Manowar truly care about what they're doing and can express their love for metal in a sensitive way as well as an aggressive way.
Though Logan is not as good of a songwriter as Ross the Boss, he is at least as good of a lead player. His tone is like nothing I've heard before, and it matches perfectly to Joey's bass amp. The two of them I think were meant to play together. Some of his solos are actually really good, two that come to mind are the ones in "The Gods Made Heavy Metal" and "Number One". "The Power" is also an incredibly kickass song, in terms of speed, energy, aggression, and technical skill. Joey plays bass just as fast as Karl plays guitar, and the two of them shred the fuck out of that track.
Really, the vocals carry this album and without Eric Adams as a singer I'm not sure how good this would turn out. He sings like a God. He has great tone, great expression, and a very masculine, muscular style. He's unique and a very fantastic frontman.
So, that's pretty much the just of it. The only downside to this album is that there isn't much variety, as I mentioned earlier the first 3 tracks all kind of sound the same. They really are all basically the same song, but they're really fucking good so that's not necessarily a bad thing, haha. I think you either "get" this album or you don't...It's certainly more over the top than anything they've done before, but that's just why I love it so much. It is Manowar doing what they've always done, just even more extreme in their beliefs than ever before. To the general public, this is probably not much of anything, but to real, serious, true heavy metal fans, this is one of the greatest things ever. Not everyone will understand, but I do.
You will get people praising Manowar to the high heavens, when really the only good thing they ever did was Battle Hymns. Oh, okay; their other 80s shit was good too, and there are quality tunes scattered all throughout their discography – just listen to the face-smoldering ownage of “Black Wind, Fire and Steel” for example, or “Hail and Kill.” But mostly – and I hate when people say this most of the time – Manowar doesn’t really deserve most of the praise they get.
I know, I know – that’s a cliché worse than anything else you could say about music besides “generic.” Usually saying something is “undeserving of praise” is worth about as much as a three dollar bill. But from what I can gather, Manowar are popular because of a few things: (a) their early work is good and (b) they were just in the right place at the right time. Some bands get lucky with just the right pinch of influential sounds necessary to blow up and become a big hit. Manowar contributed massively to metal’s image and lyrical standards – aside from Priest, I don’t think any other band quite molded the looks and lyrics of their followers quite so much as Manowar. And on Into Glory Ride and Sign of the Hammer, they provided the blueprints for Viking metal. All of that is fine and well; I would be foolish to deny that.
But seriously. This album fucking sucks. Louder than Hell is a woeful piece of work with about as little work put into it as possible. This is the basest, most low-intelligence wrestling music you could ever imagine. Just a bunch of vapid shout-along tunes to serve as background music for an overweight spandex-monkey paid in a shady back room to go down in the 5th. Sometimes like on “Number One” they vary it up a bit – that one sounds like a shitty sports anthem for a high school football team.
Okay, okay – let’s just try and actually review this seriously. The basic ethos here was probably supposed to be ‘back to basics,’ just some solid, rockin’ tunes to jam in the car or while working out. Except it fails even as that, because the songwriting here is just too bare bones. This kind of riff-rocking approach only works when you have a meaty guitar sound and actually good, headbangable riffs – neither of which this has. The guitars on here sound like they were recorded in a cardboard box; while the production is mixed professionally, it just sounds weak and neutered really. And the riffs are about as interesting as wet toast. I can only even barely call them riffs. They're really the kind of dullard dad-rock plunking you hear in movies whenever a character enters a sleazy biker bar; barely any melody to it and no heaviness to speak of.
It's just a matter of degrees. There is playing simple, rocking riffs and then there is just not trying – this album is the latter. When they’re not phoning it in with piano balladry about as poignant as what you’d hear on an elevator, they are busting out very similar-sounding, very banal riffs that don’t really have good enough songs to wrap around to actually work towards the album’s sole purpose, which is to get you pumped up and ready to rock out on a motorcycle while wearing black leather clothes. It's not that erudite of a goal, you hacks. The bar is set low with this kind of music and still Manowar try to limbo underneath it anyway.
The songwriting is just deficient. These songs repeat and repeat with nothing interesting about them, no real catchy motifs except a few places like “Return of the Warlord” and “The Gods Made Heavy Metal.” But really that’s about it. Eric Adams is a great singer, but he sells himself short with this. Just listen to him try to make “Brothers of Metal Pt. 1” engaging – to say the least, gruff heavy metal wailing does not work when the music sounds like something you’d play at a geriatric asylum to calm the patients down.
It’s difficult to review this at all, because the music is so empty of meaning or real feeling in any capacity. The riffs are boring and the songwriting is one dimensional. Normally there are deeper reasons to give an album a score this low, but there really isn’t much here. For a band of Manowar’s stature, this is just unacceptable – they are one of the biggest metal bands in the fucking world. They have to have better material than this. And when you consider the fact that this band is so huge despite recording like five albums in the last 30 years, it just becomes so sad it’s not even funny anymore. As good as Manowar can be at times, they’re washed up has-beens – pretty much the definition of it. Fuck ‘em. Pay attention to bands more worth your time.
The 90’s were hard on a lot of 80’s metal bands, but few were hit harder than Manowar. While most bands would make alterations to their sound in order to fit in with the growing wave of crap pouring in from Seatlle, Manowar admirably declared “Fuck that!” and put out even more epic power metal in the form of the very true, yet interminably boring The Triumph of Steel. Not a band to abandon their hardheadedness in the wake of a shitty album, Manowar continued to write music in the same vein as pretty much everything they’ve ever done, resulting in 1996’s Louder Than Hell. And it really makes you wonder if, maybe just this once, a little change might have done the band some good.
Louder Than Hell is just as brazenly metal as The Triumph of Steel, only here they’re defying the growing nu-metal trend instead of grunge. Unsurprisingly, it’s almost as generic and boring as its predecessor. Opener “Return of the Warlord” throws down just about every cliché possible, from the “revving” guitar noises to perhaps the worst lyrics the band has ever penned, even going so far as to rehashing themselves. I swear this band hasn’t written a new riff in the better part of a decade: riffs and words blend together into one tasteless stew of mediocrity. Despite Eric Adams’ ever-powerful vocal attempt, this and most of the other songs on Louder Than Hell just plod along lifelessly. The only thing worth listening to is the guitar solos and you have to sit through several minutes of “song” just to get to them, some more difficult to survive than others (“The Gods Made Heavy Metal” for instance, never seems to fucking die. They recycle the ‘endless outro’ concept that was fresh on “Blood of the Kings,” to less-than-thrilling effect). I can’t understand why this band can’t just write quick, simple songs like they used to instead of the limping snore-fests they’ve been writing since the turn of the decade. Apparently the 80’s Manowar had a natural songwriting chemistry that the 90’s reincarnation (with mostly the same members) has been unable to recreate.
Need proof? Let’s keep looking at the track-list.
“Courage” is one brief stab at something different; different being a churchy sounding power ballad that couldn’t hold a candle to “Heart of Steel.” “Number One” has a nice groove to it, but the lyrics are dumber than hell (“We have come for the number one, not the number two”…….uh….they’ve come to piss, but not to shit? Is this a GWAR cover?). “Outlaw” tries to pick up the pace but fails, having adhered to the standards of Manowar style-speed metal (i.e. one note tremolo picking until the listener dies of boredom). Then there’s “King,” which is actually a pretty solid song, but it’s too little, too late. “Today Is A Good Day to Die” is the super-mega-epic-atmospheric instrumental masterpiece to end all masterpieces, which of course ends up being merely okay. This segues into “My Spirit Lives On,” which begins like it would be a pretty fucking ripping power metal tune, but the drums never come in and you quickly realize it’s just a guitar solo (it’s technically solid, but I want to hear a fucking song already). Finally….that song comes in the form of “The Power,” which is the only truly great Manowar track from their entire 90’s career. This and “King” are the only songs I wouldn’t be ashamed to be caught listening to, something that I can’t say about the rest of this tripe.
Manowar faithful will probably have an easier time digesting this one, so accustomed to mediocrity and disappointment are they. But yeah, this blows. Buy Into Glory Ride instead.
After hearing this one, it's very clear that Manowar doesn't want to change anything of their classic and 'true' sound. They will keep playing loud and epic heavy metal, till the day of their death. And it's great to know that. Manowar is stuck in the sound of the "Kings of Metal" album, with heavy anthems against false metal and epic power ballads, which always remember to that beautiful song, "Heart of Steel". Yes, here's nothing new, the same old Manowar, but the band is so great that it doesn't matter, although Manowar is releasing albums just like an excuse to play new songs live... they still are the same kickass band.
When I say that there's nothing new here, it's applied to the whole album, including the musicianship. DeMaio and Columbus, still fucking great. Karl Logan, the new guitar player, does it great, he's OK for Manowar. And if a guitar player is OK for Manowar, he's outstanding. Adams' voice, great. A perfect voice for heavy metal, a voice that stayed through the years as one of the classic voices of heavy metal music.
The songs are classic Manowar, again, nothing new, but still in a high level. "Return of the Warlord" is the first one, that makes reference to the first song of the "Into Glory Ride" album. This one is the classic metal anthem, about riding motorcycles and wearing leather. The rhythm is catchy, with nice guitar, bass and drum playing. "Brothers of Metal" is another of those metal anthems that Manowar often plays. It goes on mid-tempo, and it's good, but just that. "The Gods Made Heavy Metal" goes with the same formula, but this time faster and better. Great song, very catchy. Then we have "Courage", a beautiful power ballad, with a nice piano playing. We could call it a 'Manowar ballad', epic and heavy, with slow rhythm. "Number One" is another classic Manowar's heavy metal song, with their characteristic style, about winning competitions. "Outlaw" is a fucking great power metal piece, at full speed, with nice riffs and drum playing. With "Outlaw" starts the best part of the album. "King" is another great song, it starts slow with great piano playing, then with a faster and metal rhythm.
Manowar always puts a solo on their albums. "Today is a Good Day to Die" and "My Spirit Lives On" are the solos here. "Today..." is very long, slow and epic, with orchestration and stuff like that, and "My Spirit..." is fast and raw. Both of those solos are great shows of Logan's skill with the electric guitar. Finally, "The Power" is another fast power metal piece, like "Outlaw". A good song to finish the record.
If you want 'true' heavy/power metal, try to get Manowar albums. This would be nice to start, but "Hail to England" or "Kings of Metal" would be better for starting.
OK...by Manowar standards this is not quite their greatest effort. But it is still rock solid and still head and shoulders above most of what was out in 1996, since the 90s were a terrible time for metal in general. (I don't wanna hear anybody arguing that point, you WILL lose any debate you initiate with me on the subject.)
The production is better than "Kings Of Metal", in my opinion; much thicker and with more low end than that album. But it still is very clear, with a great drum sound and a meatier bass than before, but it still has that high-end clang you associate with Joey DeMaio. Unfortunately the guitars are not as loud in the mix as I'd like, at least the rhythm tracks are, but Karl Logan still has a damn good tone anyway, nice and crunchy with some subtle effects burnishing the edges. Scott Columbus' heavy handed style is accented perfectly by this big drum sound, making him sound like cannon fire. It's big and loud, but not as overdone as some 80s drum sounds were. Eric's vocals are surprisingly dry on this album with very little ambience, but a great vocalist like him doesn't need much in the way of assistance of that sort.
Performance-wise, I firmly disagree with the last reviewer, as I think Manowar sound like a well-oiled unit running on all cylinders on this album. Karl Logan really tears out of the starting gate on this album whenever solo time comes around, unleashing some pretty terrifying shredding to say the least, especially on "Return of the Warlord", where his solo threatens to spin out of control every second yet he reins it in like the pro he is. Only thing is, I'd like to hear more bluesy finger/wrist vibrato from him as opposed to whacky whammy bar vibrato.
Joey may not be as maniacal as he was on past albums, but he still authoritatively nails it down like few others--most metal bassists just plod along, but he throws in plenty of little fills and chords to show you he's there and he's not just sitting on his ass pedaling the changes. No bass solo, but I'll live. Eric Adams does just fine, injecting even more attitude and style into his inimitable vocals than before. Yes, he is a little more restrained too, but it works for this album, and he gets in his usual screams here and there like on "The Power", and the chorus on "Outlaw". And on "Courage" he sounds just as sensitive and heartfelt as he ever did.
However, for the most part the lyrics are not as inspired as past outings, I will agree on that much. "Return of the Warlord" in particular has some pretty silly and juvenile lyrics, and the following tracks, "Brothers of Metal Pt. I", "The Gods Made Heavy Metal", and "Number One" are not much better, laying on the cliches more than I'd like. I was slightly disappointed by that area of the album. "Outlaw" and "King" fare better, though, and "Courage", while not as inspiring as "Heart Of Steel", still relays its message effectively enough for me. And I could've done without the lengthy instrumental "Today Is A Good Day To Die", as it drags on too long, skilled as Karl is on the guitar front.
The music still shreds and pounds as only Manowar can, however. It still is waaaay better than most of what we call "true" metal these days. This is a more mid tempo album, but blazers like "Outlaw" and "The Power" speed things up a bit and provide some needed variety. I'd still recommend this to many nascent bangers over the latest Lamb of KillSwitch God Forbid clones any day, though "Kings Of Metal", "Sign Of The Hammer", and "Hail To England" will still be the first Manowar albums I recommend to the likes of them anyway. Still worth your time, this one is.
I bought this release a while back, and was expecting something, well, louder than hell. I was expecting something that was outrageous, ultra-cheesy, ultra-ManOwaR, and just all-out. I was gravely disappointed. What I got was a rather average heavy metal album, and by ManOwaR's standards, a really poor album. The way I see it, there are 3 basic flaws with this album that prevent it from being good. I'll list them from least important to most important:
Songwriting: Really horrible. The songs are really uninspiring, and many of their songs on this album are just unmemorable, like "The Power", "The Gods Made Heavy Metal", and "King". The riffs here aren't nearly as heavy or as amazing as they were on such classics as Sign of the Hammer, Kings of Metal, or Triumph of Steel. The songs aren't anywhere near as epic, either, as the aforementioned releases, and overall fail. While there are 3 good (not great) but good songs (Brothers of Metal, pt 2; Courage; and Outlaw), the rest are really subpar, and even have horrid songs like Return of the Warlord and Number 1 that are so bad I can't even listen to them. Also, in addition to having really poor riffs in those songs, the traditionally epic, cheesy, but overall excellent lyrics ManOwaR are known for are just not there; on those songs the lyrics are unlistenable. However, those songs have other flaws, too, like their performance.
Performance: Really, really, simple. Unlike his performance on Kings of Metal, or Rhino's bone crushing performance on Triumph of Steel, Scott Columbus does a really lackluster drum performance here. It's always the same beats, no variation, no nothing, no sparkle, and nothing memorable here. Joey DeMaio has a similar plague; the bass here is really not what Manowar's bass is known for, it's more of a simple, subdued rock bass as opposed to his usual killer guitar-like bass performance. Karl Logan, while having some good solos, doesn't really deliver here. His performance, like the rest of the band, is totally without frills, and seems to be lacking any sort of inspiration. Even Eric Adams' vocals suck here, for the most parts. Gone are the dazzling falsettos and air horn like screams of the past; for most of the release it's Eric Adams talking, not Eric Adams singing. I didn't pay to hear him talk. The typically jaw dropping and dramatic performances he's known for are just absent here. Next flaw:
Production: Here the production is very, very, clean. Too clean. There is no echo, no reverb, no nothing. The drums are flat and listless. The guitars are flat and listless, plus being a.) WAY too mixed down, and b.) not enough tracks present. Eric Adams' voice is flat and listless. The bass is flat and listless. Hell, they should've named this "Flatter Than Hell." That would've been more accurate, as this is anything BUT loud; it's more flat, clean, and complacent. The production here, unlike the dirty and dramatic production of Kings of Metal, or the heavy as fuck production on Triumph Of Steel, is unmemorable and mixed wrong. Hell, the rating on this album would've been raised about 10 points if the production was more sparkly and less flat.
Hence, you can tell the basic flaw with this album: It is mediocre and unmemorable. There are 3 good songs, which I have already mentioned. There are 3 unmememorable songs, which I have also already mentioned. And there are 2 horrid songs. The other two songs are pointless. Today is a Good Day To Die is just too drawn out, and My Spirit Lives on is a pointless guitar solo. The problem that prevents songs like Brothers of Metal and Courage from being totally awesome is that the guitars are mixed too low. I want the guitars to be up front and, well, louder than hell in those anthemic songs; here it's listless and flaccid. Outlaw is really the only great, relatively unflawed songs. If they made all their songs that great, put more choirs and WAY more guitars in Brothers of Metal and Courage, we'd have a GREAT release. Another problem is King. It begins as if it's gonna be an epic song about kings and heroes and regicide. Instead, we have a lame rockish song. BAIT AND SWITCH! Not good at all. Plus on that song, the drumming's even WORSE than it was on the rest of the CD.
Get this if you're a diehard Manowar fan... else, get Triumph of Steel, Kings of Metal, Sign of the Hammer, Fighting the World, Hail to England, Into Glory Ride, Warriors of the World, or Battle Hymns.
Manowar. Yeah, loin cloths, swords and metal. I love a lot of Manowar's music, but sometimes the image is just funny. When I first heard Manowar, I thought it was just a big joke. Oh well, enough about the image... onto "Louder Than Hell".
The album kicks off strong, with "Return of the Warlord". This is a great track, with a very simple hard rock oriented riff. There are some awesome pounding drums, they just remind me of high speed chases for some reason, just pounding and chugging along. The vocals here are amazing, but Eric Adams always puts on a good show. The bass is pretty good; not as pronounced as before, but some really cool ideas are put to music.
"Brothers of Metal, Pt. 1" is next, and man, is this a catchy song. The hard rock style riff starts it off, with some more excellent vocal work. A very epic, apocalyptic feeling is used with the drums... (drums of doom anyone?). That chorus is awesome! So catchy. But anyways, the guitar riffing isn't too great, but the power chord all seem to be in the right places. The bass work on this song is awesome. There are some higher bass notes that roll along, especially on the chorus. There is some really cool trem picking and tapping on the solo, very nicely done. This track is just so damn catchy!
Next up, "The Gods Made Heavy Metal". Once again, catchy as hell. The riff is really cool on the opening, and the chugging drums are back. The vocals are great on this track as well. This is another driving, pounding, anthemic song, that is just as catchy as "Brothers of Metal", if not so, then more.
"Courage". Man, I just can't really listen to this one. A ballad, I guess, but not a great one. The vocals are good, though a little too drawn out and almost whiney. The music is pretty simple, just some orchestra samples in the back giving an epic feel, with piano overtop. It kicks in with a rather simple drum beat and chord progression. There is actually a pretty cool solo mixed in there, but it's not good enough to want to listen to the song. The bass work is pretty good, but once again, not enough so to make this a repeated listen.
After the ballad, we have a pretty solid track "Number 1". By now the album starts to get a little samey, but if you take it track by track, this song is very good on it's own. A really cool riff and the pounding drums again. Eric Adams sounds fine once again, and the bass plods along with some nice fills. A very catchy chorus, but the vocals just get a little much, almost too whiney for such a powerful voice. A rather lackluster solo thrown in the middle, it's just not very exciting. This song is good, but it's not as good as the first three tracks.
"Outlaw" speeds things up, almost to speed metal levels. The drums almost sound like something Overkill would do. The guitar is pretty fast, and the bass is pretty non-existant. The vocals are excellent. A little too high pitched towards the end though. There is a nice segment in the middle where there are some church bells and slower drums, but then it picks back up, and has a really cool tapping style solo.
"King" starts off a lot like "Courage". Just really ballady (is that a word? you know what I mean). I don't really think Manowar's strong point is ballads, maybe they shouldn't write soft songs anymore. Right before I get ready to hit the track skip button, a nice 80's style guitar riff comes crashing in. Very nice! The pounding drums, the palm muting guitars, the rolling bass, the excellent vocals. It's all there. And it keeps going until the solo. Then it goes again. A good track, but a little samey once you get into the main portion of the song.
"Today is a Good Day to Die" is next. It starts off very epic sounding, taking nearly four minutes for a little, slow solo to kick in. It slows down into a piece with piano and orchestra again. But then it kicks in with some heavier riffs and drums. Then it's over. I guess some vocals wouldn't hurt, but as far as an epic sounding interlude (that last's nearly ten minutes) it's pretty good. Maybe a little too drawn out.
After such a slow epic track, it's nice Manowar picked things up with "My Spirit Lives On". This is bascially sting of the bumblebee part II, in my opinion. It's just two minutes of fast finger tapping and feedback. It's gets a little too high pitched and keeps climbing... a little overdone I believe. But it still picks up the speed...
"The Power" is the closer, and it starts off in an excellent fashion. This track definitely adds more depth into this album, it's just too bad they waited until the last track to change some things up. The drums still have that driving sound, the guitar is pretty cool, with some speed metal riffs and some really cool chord choices on the slower parts. The vocals are excellent. This track definitely shows that Manowar sounds much better when the tempo is faster. Once again a cool solo is played, then speed is picked back up to finish it off. Definitely a great way to finish off the album!
As with any other Manowar album, I find the lyrics largely amusing. I just can't take the lyrics seriously, especially on "The Gods Made Heavy Metal" and "Brothers of Metal". With lines like:
"The Gods made heavy metal / and saw that it was good / they said to play it louder than hell / we promised that we would" and "Our heart are filled with metal / and masters we have none / and will die for metal / metals heals, my son"
how can you go wrong? It just seems to me that singing about metal is a little cliche and humorous. Whether it's supposed to be a joke or not doesn't really matter. The music is expertly played. The songwriting is definitely a hit, especially considering the catchiness of most of the tracks. The vocals are amazing, except for the whiney parts on the ballads.
This is definitely a great album. Sure there are parts that aren't the best, but overall this is a good album. Seems to be more hard rock oriented than their previous efforts, but the roots of metal are still there. A good album by a great band! Manowar fans better already own this (since you can get it for less than $5). I would recommend this album to fans of traditional heavy metal, as well as power metal fans! Every metal head should own this album, if not for the music, then for the humor.
Louder than Hell is the album that should have followed Kings of Metal. Just plain old ass kicking heavy metal, not nearly as much filler and crap like what was found on The Triumph of Steel. Sure there are a few boring songs on here, this is Manowar after all. But all in all this is easily one of their best albums.
Like others have stated, the first 3 songs are all stellar. Return of the Warlords is my favorite, and possibly my favorite Manowar song ever. So simple, so cheesey, yet so awesome. That chorus is godly, probably the catchiest thing I've ever heard. "We do just what we feel, riding horses made of steel, we're here...To burn up the NIGHT!" Brothers of Metal is next, and is more of the same. Simple, catchy, fist pumping metal. "Brothers of metal! We are fighting with power and steel, fighting for metal, metal that's real!" The Gods Made Heavy Metal is, suprise suprise, more of the same. Great song, really really nice riff and a blazing solo.
Now we move on to Courage, and the album takes a big dive here. Going from 3 awesome heavy metal anthems to a ridiculously cheesey ballad. Adams sounds great, but this song is just boring, sorry. Luckily they pick things back up with Number One, it's a great song though it lacks the hook that the first 3 songs have. Outlaw is pure speed metal, catchy chorus and nice riffing. The only fault I have is Adams' screams sound weak in comparison to how he sounded on the previous albums. King starts off sounding just like Courage, but then turns into one of the better songs on the album. If they had knocked off that intro this song would fucking slay(it still does I guess, but I hate having to skip over that intro.)
Today is a Good Day to Die, well if you know Manowar you knew a song like this was coming. Can't blame them for trying. My Spirit Lives On is a 2 minute guitar solo, and it's pretty damn impressive. Power ends the album on a high note. It definetly has a Painkiller vibe to it, big time. Great song, one of the best on the album for sure.
This is the best Manowar album to date. It’s as if these metal kings went on a diet and dropped the fat. Before there were really good works like Kings of Metal, which almost intentionally fucks itself over with the spoken track, and don’t ask me why they did it. Review title taken from “Number 1” lyrics sums it up – this time they mean it.
The strength of this album is that its straight forward, catchy, has balls and anthemic. The lyrics deal with being true to metal and the life of metalheads that live free, ride hard and die young. Eric Adams hammers out vocal lines with conviction. The bass is prominent, the sound is thick, the pace is mostly mid-paced to fast. Remember “Hail and Kill”? If Manowar had it playing in the background while writing this album, I would not be surprised. One song “Outlaw” is particularly similar to that in its over-the-top bloodlust-infusing energy. “King” starts as a ballad as good as “Heart of Steel” and sounds similar, then midway it becomes an anthem with shout-along chorus.
As far as pure metal anthems, you know what you are getting with Manowar – an abundance of them. The opening three tracks are the 1-2-3 punch of the album. “The Gods Made Heavy Metal” being most memorable, it is a simple composition with galloping bass line and effective riff work. Then comes the solo, which is short and cuts away any remaining fat imagery that may have been left over from previous album experiences. God bless short solos, the same Gods that made heavy metal intended metal to feel like a 3-minute boxing round, not a marathon. Then at the end, Adams just rips his lungs inside out. An anthem worthy of the title.
If you are looking for music to work out to, or to run over some people to (don’t say I didn’t warn you) this will do great.
Another 4 years between albums and finally a new Manowar release - and just like "Triumph Of Steel" this one is actually slightly underrated - and doesn't deserve a lot of the slagging it received from a lot of people.
In essence - Manowar somehow ditched a lot of the "we're trying very hard to sound epic" spirit in favour of a more back-to-basic rock & roll album - and succeed quite well at that. The first three tracks - although they somehow overdid it in my opinion - are quite decent "metal anthems" - and in case of opener "Return Of The Warlord" it's a direct follow-up to their original "Warlord" song - not bad at all - and they make great live songs, that's for certain.
"Courage" tries hard to come across as a "Heart Of Steel"-type-song, and fails a bit at trying to stay on par with that song - but certainly isn't bad and a decent change from the first few songs. "Number 1" is probably the albums weakest song - not really going anywhere and easily overlookable - again - it's not bad - but certainly nothing special either. "Outlaw" is the usual "speed" track - and does quite well - and "King" is this album's attempt at trying to perform a "Hail & Kill" - and again - while this isn't as strong as the song it's mirrored after - it is performed very well - and belongs to my favourite tunes on the album.
We also get an overlookable guitar solo (nice change from a bass solo) to introduce new guitarist Karl Logan and which ends the 10 minute instrumental ("Today Is A Good Day To Die") - which makes a nice and atmospheric song.
Closer "The Power" reminds a lot of "Black Wind Fire And Steel" and is an excellent speedmetal track.
All in all i'd certainly not shy away from this release either - as it holds up pretty well - and no matter what - Manowar deserves all credit for not wimping out and doing a grunge album or suddenly coming up with "we never were metal" or "metal is dead" one-liners - which seemed to be so popular during that period. Not bad at all.
"Return of the Warlord" indeed!!! Return to the fine 1982 form of "Battle Hymns" with great heavy metal anthems that, for the most part, don't sound forced or pretentious at all. There is only one crappy ballad, and one overlong "epic" number that really isn't all that bad. In other words, only one song that really demands to be skipped, while the rest features a fearsome intensity not seen in any previous Manowar studio album.
The first song, "Return of the Warlord" is definitely one of the best songs they've ever done. It just fucking WORKS - unlike so many of their other songs that fail to be catchy or utilise riffs correctly, this one just grabs you by the throat and kicks your face in several times. Next, "Brothers of Metal" is a bit less effective, but it sure beats the "part II" of the previous album. This song isn't as fast or constantly driven as some of the others on here, and thus it's a more "typical" Manowar song - but still, not bad.
Then, "The Gods Made Heavy Metal". Really damn simple riff under the verses - pretty much the same note over and over again, but hey, that's catchy as fuck, and it WORKS. Yes, Manowar are going with metal ideas that work here - a lot of people blasted them for this album, but ya know what, sometimes you gotta just shut up and rock. And this song does just that - it's almost thrash in parts, and rules.
"Courage" is justifies the existence of a skip button. Manowar ballads suck, except when done live, then some are great. Moving on, "Number One" is also very nice, as is "Outlaw", which is practically speed metal, and then the break in the middle ("shot through the heart, in the blink of an eye") provides a really effective counterpoint to the rest of the song.
"King" starts off slowly, but then turns into a midpaced riff-oriented headbanging monster. Nice groove here, just a very cool headbanging song.
Then, "Today is a Good Day to Die" - well, this IS Manowar after all, so they do have to put in their gratuitous pseudo-psychadelic interlude - lots of bass soloing and whatnot. This is kinda questionable to skip or not, the only real problem is is that it's nearly 10 minutes - very overlong.
Then, "My Spirit Lives On" continues the previous song and then turns it into an introduction for "Power", which closes the album off in incredibly good fashion. Pure fucking speed metal here - the riff work is total Judas Priest, and there is a really great guitar solo in here too. Another highlight.
So what we have here is Manowar not afraid to sound like Judas Priest at times - before they were so intent on being "tr00" and whatnot, that they just forgot to scream metal like there's no tomorrow, and put out boring product after boring product. Here, they hit upon a real winner. The best Manowar album, hands down.