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Pounding onwards, riding into glory??? - 68%

Eisenhorn, July 16th, 2007

Um no, in a word. Manowar certainly were pounding into glory on the whirlwind created by their earlier releases but it seems that for this release they must have dismounted their horses/bikes/whatevers and started shuffling forwards very slowly. Oh sure there are some points where the band clearly started running and I think they must have caught a high speed train for Mountains but otherwise this is a release clearly lacking in power, might and above all any semblance of glory.

Most of the songs are either dull and forgettable like The Oath which always makes me head straight for the "skip" button on my CD player because of its dull vocals, subdued guitar and boring solo; or just plain bad like Animals which has terrible sex based lyrics, a boring chorus and really, really quiet drumming. Even Thor (the Powerhead) and the title track fail to interest me after just a few plays and those are the type of song that I so enjoy on other Manowar albums, those being the cheesy, fantastical epics.

This time around Joey's solo piece is the vaunted Thunderpick and besides being far too long for its own good and having possibly the lamest name for a track ever it mainly falls flat due to it being so mundane. It really is just wankery with no real direction or catchy rhythm unlike the great William's Tale.

The album does however feature two songs that manage to partially pull it out of the cess pool of it's own existance. These being Guyana (The Cult of the Damned) and Mountains. The former dazles with it's immaculate guitar and bass lines and sumptuous vocals but the albums real centrepiece is Mountains. A beautiful pseudo-ballad that contains great bass work from Joey, inspiring lyrics sung with real emotion and obvious talent from Adams and although the guitar is not up there with Ross' performance in Guyana; Scott Columbus gives a great performance on the drums during the heavier parts of the song.

The main thing that manages to keep the album afloat and still worthy of the Manowar name is quite simply those two songs. The best part is however that those songs are the longest two on the entire album, both coming in at over seven minutes. So thats 14 minutes of sheer musical bliss and about 25 minutes of tat. Considering that it's still 14 minutes of great Manowar and you can pick this album up for a fiver (I did at least) I would still say that this is an album you should own but don't expect to get blown away.