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A Gift from the Gods - 95%

Harvester_of_Storms, September 26th, 2002

Its seeing what Manowar done in a single year, releasing "Hail to England" and "Sign of the Hammer" that makes me cry out in desperation over their latest releases.Forget about the 4-6 years hiatus between records, forget the one-song-a-anthem filosofy, i just wished they could make something as massivelly, ground-breaking, astoningly good as these two albuns again.
Please,PLEASE, Joey, lock yourself in a sensorial chamber for a year and listen only to these two records.I want to listen to that old Manowar again!
Its not as if you guys arent flamed for doing the same musics over and over again,then, for Odins sake, do the really GOOD ones over and over again!
But enough of my christmas wish list.Onto the album.

This is the Manowar Album most likely to win the "Where the bloody hell can i get it i cant find it anywhere" award.Released by the small independent 10 Records, there are scarcely a few hundred copy still available throught out the world.This his a record that trully benefits from the "Silver Edition".

The abum starts off with the classic Manowar Anthem of the Record, "All men play on Ten", a tribute to their new Label and also to the statement that Manowar where becaming the Loudest Band in the World.As usual the driving bass riff and Eric Adams vocals pushes the song forward, aligned whit some clever critic lyrics about the music industry.As unbelievable as it may seem , Manowar where knowed then by not only writing lyrics about fight, steel and swords, but by also writing lyrics with meaningfull criticism to the American society and to the music industry.Damn it joey!I want it back, I want it ALL back!

"Animals" is a straighforward pound-them-and-bang-them song, probably the weakest moment in the record, which is not to say that it isnt a good song.It is , it just his'nt up to the standart defined by the other songs in the album.Ross Friedman guittar work comes above the rest here, along whit some tongue-in-the-check lyrics (yes, they DID have them).

And from now on, history was being made...

"Thor(The PowerHead)" his EPIC.Not just epic, its EPIC.From the bombastic entrance to the crushing bass riffs, from the raging lyrics to the briliant guittar work, this song hits you like a blow from Mjolnir.

"Mountains" Never has Manowar acomplished such perfection.This is THE song of the Album, a beautifull balad crafted whit mastery and talent, its melody lifting you away.But fear not, for this is not one of those power-metal balads resembling Thunder or Poison.This is the real deal, about the greatness inside ones heart, the power inside one man.The dueling between the Bass and Guittar crafts the tapestry for this amazing song, complemented whit the best vocal performance yet by Eric Adams.

"Sign of the Hammer" is the straighforward metal hymn, once again whit unbeliavle bass vs. guittar duels, Columbus tight and solid druming blasting away through all of the music.

"The Oath" has probably the best guittar solo of the entire album, Ross Friedmans works excel in this one, another Metal Hymn.

"ThunderPick" is the trademark Bass-solo,DeMaio showing all is prowess on the 4-string, but it is somewhat more than that, its the unoficial intro to "Guyana..."

"Guyana(Cult of the Damned)" is, along whit "Mountains" the finest moment in the album.Focusing on the mass suicide of the cult of Reverend Jim Jones, the song his beautifully constructed around the bass line, joined progressevelly by the guittar work.The vocal line is well builded, complemented in the end with massive choirs (well, for the time, anyways) and Eric Adams vocals shines as always.

One final note for the perfect production, although recorded in the same year, and in fourteen days, "Sign of the Hammer" presents a completely diferent sound than that of "Hail to England"

Along whit "Hail to England", this was Manowar´s finnest hour, where unsarpassed talent mixed whit originilaty and creativaty to create a master piece in the history of Heavy Metal.Wether you like or hate Manowar, this album is a must have for every metal fan.