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This is a very hard review for me to write. I love Manowar, as I have said before, but this is just unacceptable. Yes folks, this is worse than Fighting The World, Kings Of Metal, and Gods Of War. But the main problem with the album, isn't because it's just flat out terrible, but because it's flat out BORING!
Now, I am one of the relatively few who consider the previous album The Triumph Of Steel to be a masterpiece. It had variety, great guitar playing, outstanding vocals, and never bored me for a second and that's a 70 minute album! So i figured, the followup can't be that bad. Well I was wrong. This is just insulting and as Andre Matos rightly said, this is "metal for little kids".
The main reason for this is the lyrics. They spend most of the album throwing out the same tired cliches they've always done, only this time more emphasis on the "bikers and metal" image then the "barbarians and steel" image. It's completely and utterly stupid. Sung by the once brilliant Eric Adams who has now stooped to the levels of Weird Al Yankovic, in the way he sounds so over the top you swear he was laughing like crazy reading these lyrics! And, as with every Manowar album, we are treated to the so called "bass" playing of Joey DeMaio that really just wants to be a guitar(this worked good in the past but it sounds so tinny here).
Kicking off with the snooze worthy "Return Of The Warlord", we are treated to the most generic "riff" in the world, and the lyrics that were essentially written as a tribute to all the people who think Manowar are silly. I mean look at this:
"Had To Punch My Teacher Out Now He's Chilled
I Might Stay In School Or Die In Prison
Either Way It's My Decision One More Beer And Heavy Metal
And I'm Just Fine"
So the message is, don't care what anybody says, do whatever you want even if it means breaking the law. Well, that's just silly.
The rest of the song is equally boring and forgettable other then the great guitar solo by Karl Logan. After this we're treated to more "true metal" with "Brothers Of Metal" which features more generic riffs, generic lyrics, and a semi-catchy chorus. Nothing special, if this was supposed to be the followup to "Metal Warriors" then it failed. After that we get "The Gods Made Heavy Metal" which is THE song people are thinking of when they make fun of Manowar. There is however, an INSANELY godly solo in the middle.
This is basically the album. Boring riffs, boring lyrics, boring(and incredibly generic) drumming, goofy vocals, and godly guitar solos. Really, Karl Logan just might be the best Manowar guitarist when it comes to solos, but that's about all that can be said about this album. Well, almost. We are then treated to "Courage", which is a nice recovery from the previous bore fests. The song isn't amazing until you see the acoustic live version which brings the song to new heights of awesomeness. With lyrics that actually have a MEANING, and, for a change, fantastic vocals. It also has Karl Logan's most emotional solo. But then, it seems like Manowar realized they just made the mistake of having an actual good song and needed to go back to tired old cliches. So we get "Number 1" which.... FITS THE SAME DESCRIPTION AS THE REST!!!
You know what? There is no point in pointing out everything that's wrong with this album. What's right with this album will result in a much shorter answer!
Other then the pretty good "Courage", we have "Today Is A Good Day To Die". Which is a REALLY boring song for the first 6 minutes, but then we are treated to a mildly interesting acoustic part with some very nice keyboard melodies on top of it, which serves as a nice break from the rest of the generic crap on this album. But the song gets boring again about a minute later and ends with the listener in immense glee that this 10 minute fiesta of almost NOTHING is finally over!
The only other good moments on the album is the intro of "King" which sounds absolutely fantastic, but the rest of the song is the same as the rest. But the intro proves that, for some reason Manowar can easily write great clean/acoustic passages but always seem to struggle with the actual metal(at least post 1992). And, of course "The Spirit Lives On" is a fantastic guitar solo that represents Karl's talents greatly. And finally we have "The Power" which has the same obnoxious vocals as the rest, but the instrumentation is extremely epic!!! Great solo, awesome bass playing, and a pretty catchy chorus.
So what you may have noticed is that none of the songs actually manage to be "great". Unless you count the live version of Courage, all you get out of this album is about 37 minutes of generic, snooze worthy troll dung, and 13 minutes of great clean sections(that only last about a minute a piece), godly solos, and 2 songs that qualify as "good". So in the end, if you can, avoid buying this album. It's the reason why Manowar are made fun of and although it can provide some entertainment every now and then(to be fair, the good stuff I mentioned is all worth listening to, and if you're in the right albeit strange mood it can be fun), it's generally the definition of generic, boring metal.
So yeah, skip this and pick "The Triumph Of Steel" if you want to hear 90's heavy metal done right, or "Warriors Of The World" if you want to at least think there might be some hope for present day Manowar.
-Clean section of "King".
-Clean section of "Today Is A Good Day To Die".
-All the guitar solos.
-And if you want to be really, REALLY generous, the chorus of "Brothers Of Metal".