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Simpler... - 82%

Sinner, February 9th, 2003

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.