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Unusually weak for a Manowar release - 80%

VampireKiller, February 27th, 2008

"Louder Than Hell" is by many one of Manowar's more uninspired moments, and I partially agree with this. They didn't seem very focused on creating an album that really has the Manowar sound, and in the end it sounds almost more like a Judas Priest/Iron Maiden album than a Manowar album. Their slight lack of inspiration can be understandable given that the 90s were an awful time for metal

The new guitarist Karl Logan had also arrived on board, and his guitar playing is very good, but not as good as Ross' or David Shankle's, and I find it sad that Shankle had to leave as he shredded, and still shreds, like no one else! Rhino had also left the band being replaced by Scott Columbus, the Warlord himself. I also think this was a shame since Rhino was far more technically skilled than Columbus is, but Columbus plays with somewhat more heart. Joey DeMaio's bass sound is more noticeable than over as there is a good sound separation between the guitar and bass, something not very apparent on "The Triumph of Steel". And finally we have Eric Adams, and on this album he has, by far, his most dry vocal performance, and at times he sounds like he's trying to imitate Bon Scott or Brian Johnson from AC/DC. This album has a more rocky feel to it than other Manowar albums, save for perhaps "Battle Hymns", whereas most Manowar albums tend to be very epic

The album starts off very nicely with the little Maiden-y/Priest-y rocker entitled "Return of the Warlord", which is a lyrical tribute to Scott's return to the band. This song just reeks of Priest and Maiden, which is a good thing. Adam's vocals are the most dry on this track and Karl rips out a catchy guitar solo. This is also the first time that Manowar has swear words in the lyrics

"Brothers of Metal" is meant to be a continuation of "Metal Warriors" from the previous album, and it's quite a worthy successor. The opening bass line is a good indicator of what the track is going to be like, and the chorus is one of this album's most anthemic ones

"The Gods Made Heavy Metal". Now this track has Judas Priest written all over it! The main riff sounds like a variation of the "Breaking the Law" played in different key and also being significantly heavier. This song's only shortcoming is that the chorus is pretty repetitive near the end

"Courage" is a beautiful ballad which starts off with some nice piano/keyboard playing and Eric giving us an inspired vocal performance. The outro is also probably one of Manowar's most epic ones to date

"Number 1" is a midpaced NWOBHM banger with some pretty interesting lyrics about winning competitions. The chorus is once again very catchy, and this is one of the album's more forgotten songs

"Outlaw" is pure thrash/speed metal, and it showcases some incredible double bass drumming courtesy of Columbus. The symphonic interlude is very interesting for a thrash/speed metal song

"King" is one of the more mediocre songs on this album. It has a somewhat nice piano intro, but the metal part of this song is just built around a mediocre main riff and sounds totally uninspired compared to other Manowar songs

The next two songs don't really make this album any greater. "Today is a Good Day to Die" has some interesting melodies, but it's too long for its own good IMO. And "My Spirit Lives On" is just a boring guitar solo that I won't talk any more about

And then the album closes with yet another thrash/speed metal song entitled "The Power". This song has some pretty wicked and groovy melodies compared to Manowar standards. The lyrics are also great

Only buy this album if you're a hardcore Manowar fan like me, or if you want some very good traditional metal/NWOBHM in the vein of Priest or Maiden