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What a "cheesy" title one would think, but this title makes a perfect sense. From 80's in the USA where rock (hard rock mainly) bands were labeled as heavy metal (classic heavy metal), where suddenly thrash metal bands started to take control, and call everything that is not part of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement and thrash metal gay, where mallcore bands started to forge new "groove" trends in 90's, it's truly a triumph to put pure heavy metal record, specially if it belongs to its sub-genre power metal. Joey, Eric, David and Rhino didn't bow before the trends, which means no shitty drop tuned guitars, no growls, shouts, not mainly slow songs. This studio album is done not just to piss off the posers, but to continue the unique Manowar's style, and to carry on the flame of heavy metal music, which was infected by this mallcore disease (Pantera, Sepultura, Exorder, and all 80's thrash metal bands in general like Anthrax, Annihilator, Overkill and Sacred Reich which turned into "groove"). This release (just like Manowar itself) is far ahead of its time. The production, distortion, power, song's structures, everything sounds like it was made in 200(enter number).
Last year, when I played Achilles, Agony And Ecstasy In Eight Parts (The Glory Of Achilles part) in front of my friend, he he asked me: "Is this from their new album?". That just confirms this fact. That song is a wonder of heavy metal music. 28:38 minutes in length, that explains everything. Of course length doesn't mean a shit if we talk about quality, but this one simply kicks ass with its amazing structure. It's made of 8 lesser songs, and each part fits this song. The whole song perfectly pictured Homer's Iliad, both musically and lyrically. Other bands can only wish to write lyrics like that, so myth about Manowar's cheesy lyrics is not true at all. This is really complex progressive metal package filled with power metal. So, music just fits these lyrics, when Achilles mourns his loss, you have epic slower part with choir, organ and some symphonic arrangements in order to complete epic atmosphere. When Achilles' armor is being forged comes the drum solo, where Rhino kicks some serious ass. When battle moments come, starts fast tempo, blazing riffs, insane Eric's vocals etc. Also, it has Joey's bass guitar solo (call it piccolo bass, I don't give a shit as long as he is awesome and unique), although it has some painful moments to listen.
That part is Desecration Of Hector's Body: Part 2. It's very simple: if you are not man enough to enjoy some loudness, heaviness and noise, combined with fast, technical, and tasty playing, you won't like Joey DeMaio. But even me, as a big fan of DeMaio, I think that part was too much. It's totally fine when he rapes his bass guitar while preforming live, because he wants to have some fun, but on studio release he had to be much more serious. I know he wanted to shred the fuck out of that instrument just to create picture of Achilles ripping Hector's dead body, but in a wrong way. Metal Warriors is kick-ass anthem-like anti-poser party heavy metal song. Anti-poser because of its lyrics, which are really well written. "Every one of us has heard the call, brothers of True Metal proud and standing tall. We know the power within us has brought us to this hall, there's magic in the Metal, there's magic is us all". What's cheesy about this part? It's simple, they announced show in a town, fans (brothers of True Metal) found out about that, and went there, the show starts inside the hall, magic is referred to their kick-ass performance. I could go on until tomorrow explaining the meaning of their lyrics to brainwashed hate-boys.
Spirit Horse Of The Cherokee shows Manowar's ability to make a song about Native Americans, not just Vikings. Excellent lyrics, drum rhythm, notable bass guitar sound, slower raw riffs give excellent Native American ambient. The most amazing thing is when Eric starts to scream like a bad-ass Native American ready to rip off white man's heart and eat it up raw. With The Power Of Thy Sword they proved once again that they are really masters of making epic, long, intense songs with insane amount of power. Fantasy lyrics are right here in this song, not in other songs from this release, since others are based on historic events, literature, hellish dark forces and heavy metal brotherhood. In fact, there's one more song with fantasy lyrical content, it's called Ride The Dragon. Unfortunately that song is nothing special. Ride The Dragon and The Demon's Whip are the weakest songs from this studio album, and they belong to Manowar's repertoire of very few mediocre songs. Besides huge amount of power which comes from intense drum work Rhino did, Eric's fierce vocals and David's savage riffs, there's nothing actually special to make these songs excellent.
Ride The Dragon and The Demon's Whip's ending part have structure like Death Hector's Revenge and The Glory Of Achilles (from Achilles, Agony And Ecstasy In Eight Parts). Drums and riffs tend to make the same feel, but it didn't work well. And constantly repeating the same thing isn't much exciting. Because of this, this studio album can be easily classified as Manowar's weakest effort. Burning and Master Of The Wind are really unique and amazing songs. Nothing I've ever heard of before. Burning's mysterious ambient which consist of mid tempo and some slower parts where Eric talks with eerie tone, ending screams, raw, heavy riffs, nice rough bass lines, solo full of shredding, squeals and sweeps and great drum work take you to the depths of Hell, where masculine demons wait to feast with sinners' souls. Master Of The Wind stands at the end as the most tranquil song. It's full of lyrical wisdom, nice acoustic ambient, and Eric once again showed his amazing vocal performance.
Good sides of this release:
Once again excellent job done by this the most heavy metal band ever. All band members played very important role here. Joey's bass is very dominant, Rhino destroyed the drums, Eric did outstanding job, and David fits well here. I still prefer Ross The Boss over David Shankle, because Ross had more heavy metal feel than David, although David served Manowar well, specially on live shows. He performed live like insane. It's great thing that he was featured on this studio album only, because after him came Karl Logan who is like a mix of Ross' heavy metal feel and David's technical playing. So, this is another strong release, and it continued the series of excellent studio albums. It's recommended for every metalhead who wants to feel heavy metal fury unleashed.
Bad sides of this release:
Lack of creativity in songs Ride The Dragon and The Demon's Whip, but they are still good (3/5) songs.
Achilles, Agony And Ecstasy In Eight Parts, Metal Warriors, Spirit Horse Of The Cherokee, Burning, The Power Of Thy Sword and Master Of The Wind.
This is one of my favorite albums and maybe even the best in the department of epic metal!
I like Manowar. They are not exactly my favorite band but I like most of their stuff and give their other albums a spin once in a while. But this is different. The album that comes closest to this in respect of epic feel is Into Glory Ride. But not only has this been released nearly ten years later and therefore has a much better production, but this is also so much better content-wise! Don´t get me wrong, I think IGR is one of the better Manowar releases, but this is just in another league. You won´t find any stuff like most songs off Louder than Hell or the first halves of Fighting the World and Battle Hymns on here. Just one track (Metal Warriors) falls in this department.
The production on this album has the effect to make the instruments seem rather physical. I don´t know how to explain this in a better way. This album is also the most extreme done by Manowar. In some parts it gets pretty aggressive, for example, in the finale of The Demon´s Whip...man, I think Manowar never did something this extreme on another record. The combination of the very epic feel, the aggressiveness, and the incredible voice of Eric Adams make this one of the or maybe the best album in its genre.
Eric sounds like a real warrior of ancient times in a fantasy world. This we know also from their other albums. But here he often screams in a very aggressive yet melodic style. I think besides Painkiller-era Halford, this is a voice that could be taken to define heavy metal. Unfortunately, these screams won´t be heard on any later records from the band. I think that maybe Eric's voice has just been used up while recording this album.
The drumming is great with a lot of use of the double bass drum that adds to the `warrior in a battle` feeling. The guitar solos are kind of unique on here. I don´t know a comparison to this. They are very confused yet not nontechnical. I think they fit in perfectly and contribute to the physical feel mentioned before. This feeling is also what separates this from other great epic albums like Virgin Steele's House of Atreus, Blind Guardian's Imaginations From the Other Side and Iced Earth's Burnt Offerings and makes Triumph of Steele more an actual journey through another world and not just a tale about it.
Highlights are the incredible screaming voice of Eric Adams and the great songs on here. These are Hector Storms the Wall, Hector´s Final Hour, Death Hector´s Reward, Ride the Dragon, The Power of thy Sword, The Demon´s Whip and Master of the Wind. The latter is a ballad and probably the best song on here as it conveys a really great epic feeling. In no way can Heart of Steel can compete with this!
BUY THIS!!! I you like epic metal, you at least need this. The absolute highlight of Manowar's catalog!
Manowar is the definitely the band with the most loyal fans but also the most fanatic criticizers, due to their attitude and the image of the true heavy metal warriors they created for themselves. The truth lies somewhere in between. They have always remained faithful to the spirit of heavy metal but their continuous statements that they are the only true metal band etc. can only amuse you. There is no doubt that they have given us at least two of the best albums in the history of metal and I’m referring to Hail to England and Sign of The Hammer. However, with their next two attempts they fell some steps behind. Now, The Triumph of Steel has come to silence all those who dared to defy them.
But has it really happened? Is Rhino fast enough on the drums to replace Columbus and can Shankle put himself in Ross the Boss’ shoes on the guitar? Was it worth the risk to compose a 28-minute song based on the Trojan War? In my opinion, not enough. Let’s take it from the beginning.
Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy is truly an epic, but by no means does it justify its 28 minutes. Thematically it is separated in eight parts. A simple introduction prepares the path for Hector Storms the Wall to explode. The excellent guitar riff and the pounding drums make it definitely the best part of Achilles... Then we have The Death of Patroclus and an amazing performance by Eric Adams. Funeral March that follows is an inspired two-minute theme. But the drum solo that comes next is a big mistake. Okay, Rhino is a good drummer, fast, with great technique, still after a point it sounds endless and boring.
Hector’s Final Hour is another fantastic performance by Adams as Hector lets out his feelings, knowing his death is at hand. That leads us to Death Hector’s Reward. This one is really good, with fast guitar and smashing drums. All is well until that self-centered, ego-maniac DeMaio delivers a completely useless bass solo. He is good but why does he have to remind us every time in the worst possible way? The Glory of Achilles is the part that completes this too long epic. I believe that twenty minutes would have been a lot better.
Personally, I find bigger pleasure in listening songs like Ride the Dragon or The Power of Thy Sword. The first is very speedy with razor-sharp riffs and an awesome finale. The second might be considered at first as just a typical fast track but it isn’t. The sword effects, its pompous refrain and the slow break at the middle make it simply magnificent. This is what I call Manowar!!
Up till now things work fine for Manowar. Unfortunately the rest of the songs are not that good. Spirit Horse of The Cherokee that refers to the Indians mistreatment by the white man and Demon’s Whip are good though they don’t come up to my expectations. Burning does not sound like Manowar at all. Basically it sucks. Metal Warriors is a poser song unworthy of their glorious past and the ballad Master of the Wind is no match for the one and only Heart of Steel. And by the way, Shankle’s solos throughout the whole album are uninspired and awful.
Summing up I have to say that The Triumph of Steel is not bad. At least it is ten times better than the abomination called Fighting the World. It is not the masterpiece we hoped for but still it’s quite good as long as you don’t compare it with their best and truly epic things they did in the past.
After reclaiming a great number of fans with the release of 1988’s "Kings of Metal," Manowar sought another new direction for their seventh effort. The music became even more epic and complex, the lyrics feature more variety than before, and guitarist Ross the Boss and drummer Scott Columbus were replaced by the technically superior David Shankle and Rhino, respectively. Unfortunately, this may be the only album to feature the new recruits...
Musically, this album may be one of the band’s most eclectic and diverse to date. Songs such as "Ride the Dragon" and "The Power of Thy Sword" are some of the fastest that Manowar has ever written while mid-tempo tunes like "Spirit Horse of the Cherokee" and "The Demon’s Whip" stay interesting thanks to a menacing atmosphere and commanding performances courtesy of each member. Also worth mentioning is the album closer and sole ballad "Master of the Wind." After hearing all the slower songs on the previous album, I find it amusing how this song manages to be powerful than the rest of them combined!
Of course, I must give the band credit for composing the opener "Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts." At over twenty-eight minutes long, this remains one of the band’s biggest undertakings to date. It features many different tempo changes throughout that range from mid-tempo marches, fast paced raids, jazzy solos that showcase every member of the band, and even a theatrical melodic sequence that brings to mind "March for Revenge (By the Soldiers of Death)." Add in lyrics that closely follow the story of Homer’s "Iliad" and you’ve got a fairly interesting epic.
Speaking of lyrics, these may be some of the most interesting that the band has ever written. Don’t worry, the lyrics are still about war and true metal, they’re just about different wars and true metal. While Manowar’s other albums typically immerse themselves within the worlds of Vikings and Valhalla, this album deals with topics such as the Trojan War ("Achilles"), Native American conquest ("Spirit Horse of the Cherokee"), and the occult ("The Demon’s Whip"). Also worth noting are "Master of the Wind" and "Metal Warriors" with the former offering some particularly inspired lyrics and the latter featuring more of the metal elitist lines that we’ve all come to love (“If you’re not into metal/You are not my friend!”).
It is fairly tough to identify the flaws that are present on this album. The biggest problem I found was with the album’s track order. While the "Achilles" epic is a pretty strong track, its long length and extensive solo sections may prove to be a little too overwhelming for some and probably shouldn’t have been considered for the opening position. A song like "Ride the Dragon" would’ve been better in its place.
All in all, this may be my personal favorite Manowar album and one that I would recommend for listeners interested in the band.
1) Excellently diverse songwriting
2) Powerful performances by each member
1) The track order could be better
2) "Achilles" may make this album a little too overwhelming for some.
My Current Favorites:
"Metal Warriors," "Spirit Horse of the Cherokee," "The Power of Thy Sword," "The Demon’s Whip," and "Master of the Wind"
When I heard that U.S. power metal stalwarts Manowar wrote a nearly-thirty minute epic based on the story of Greek legend Achilles, I was stoked. I am of the persuasion that when a band sets out to write a long single piece of music, they really get their shit together and make it an all-out masterpiece (see: Rush’s “2112 Suite” or “Hemispheres”). This assumption, combined with my love of prior Manowar releases, resulted in what might be the biggest musical disappointment I have ever experienced.
The album begins with said epic, entitled “Achilles: Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts.” Generally one would reserve the epic track for the closer, but putting it up front can work. The song begins well enough with a little dramatic sounding part before busting into the main riffage. Typical mid-paced Manowar with little keyboard touches, then it goes into a symphonic segue part which lasts until the eight minute mark. So far I’m underwhelmed, but it would soon lead to disgust. I mean, there’s a fucking four minute studio drum solo in here. Listening to this is incredibly tiring and the reward for surviving it is more symphonic bullshit. At the sixteen minute mark (over half of the song’s total length), the first actual fast part rears its ugly head. Ugly because it’s just another generic speed metal section, serving only to lead into *surprise* a Joey DeMaio bass solo! This piece is, like his other bass solos are, a technically self-indulgent shitfest, only different from the others in that he starts acoustic before kicking the distortion in. At this point I’ve vowed never to listen to this song again for as long as I have the ability to hear, and the track isn’t even over. After some three minutes of this, the guitars and drums kick back in and its back to the generic riffs before the guitar solo begins, as it’s the only instrument left to not get its chance to show off. At this point, I considered vowing never to listen to Manowar again (this was soon repealed), the song is that fucking bad. And then, at its very end, as the guitar is furiously shredding away over the final riff, the song begins to fade out. After expending nearly thirty minutes of their time (and mine) telling the triumphant tale of Achilles, DeMaio and company couldn’t even figure out a good way to end the fucking song. The fade-out is the laziest fucking way to end a piece of music, as evidenced by its frequent utilization in pop music. There are some exceptions of musicians using it artistically, but these are rare, and never apply to a lengthy track. It’s actually quite ironic considering the lyrics: having killed their dignity with the first twenty-seven minutes of this horrific aberration, Manowar then chose to desecrate its body by robbing the listeners of an ending. All in all, it’s the worst song I’ve ever heard by this band and a massive, massive failure
After that nearly endless sequence of pompous bullshit, I actually forgot that there’s the rest of the album yet to listen to. Things pick up here, as its back to standard Manowar territory, but never at any point does the shadow of that first song cease to loom over the album’s remainder. Sure “Metal Warriors” is pretty cool in that typical, cheesy Manowar fashion (“If you’re not into metal, you are not my friend!”), but man, did you hear that thirty minute travesty that opened the album? “The Demon’s Whip” resurrects the darker sound of past greats like “Bridge of Death,” but how could you forget how fucking terrible that first song was? At no point during the rest of the album could I get over that fucking awful opener/centerpiece and it sucked out just about all the enjoyment I’d usually get from a Manowar release. New guitarist David Shankle pulls some ridiculously fast guitar solos out of his ass (his mastery of EVH-style artificial harmonic runs is commendable), new drummer Rhino is an absolute machine when it comes to his instrument, Joey DeMaio delivers yet another great performance on bass, and Eric Adams still puts his heart and soul into the music while screaming out his lungs, but The Triumph of Steel is nonetheless tainted. Once you hear how inadequate the band is at writing a thirty minute song, you can’t help but start to find flaws in their normal songwriting and what would otherwise be a decent (albeit generic) Manowar album degenerates into a full-fledged atrocity. Got riffs? Manowar apparently doesn’t.
The band’s newfound love for poorly-written symphonic sections is a bit confusing as well. The atmospheric numbers “Burning” and “Master of the Wind” sound horribly incomplete, while random synth sections show up in “The Power of Thy Sword” and long-ass intro sequences mar “Spirit Horse of the Cherokee” and “The Demon’s Whip.” Seriously guys, just play the songs already.
Never let it be said that I do not respect Manowar for flying the flag of true metal at all times, even when it was least popular. But as The Triumph of Steel clearly proves (and it pains me to say this), true metal isn’t always good metal. Manowar clearly over-extended themselves on this record; the mediocre second half of the album implodes under the weight of the bombastic opener.
As, most of us, know this album contains a song that is 29 minutes long. "Achilles, Agony, and Ecstasy In Eight Parts" does dominate the album. The song is, as the title states, in eight parts, and it chronicles the battle between Hector and Achilles. The song itself, is very jazz inspired. That doesn't mean it has a horn section, but the structure of the song is similar, with each member having their own extended solo. The drum solo in particular is very good, displaying an arc, where it builds and builds to fierceness.
So, what about the rest of the album? You may be surprised to hear that there are 8 songs on the album. "Achilles...", and seven others, and two of them are almost eight minutes long. This is a long disc, yet it is entertaining throughout, a flaw we find in many similar lengthed albums.
We, have Manowar as we all know them on this album, with massive riffs, signature vocals, and...everything else. The album is structured very well. However, there is one thing that annoys me. Almost every song begins with a narration. "Spirit Horse Of The Cherokee" doesn't start until a minute and a half into the song. We have to endure a minute and a half of two people talking at once, making it even worse than a normal narration because we can't even hear what they're saying, before we get to the actual song. The song itself is very good though with some plodding riffs and drum beats and the chorus is one of the best on the album.
The narrations really fill the album with a lot of crap, since almost every song has a minute of it. None the less, this is a great little disc and I'd like to begin on an high note by praising Manowar's sense of humor. In the Cd booklet they write, "Suffer and die slowly listening to our music." You know when a band writes something along the lines that they suck, they're good. Look at Primus, whose slogan for the longest time was "Primus sucks.", accompanied by fans chanting it at concerts. The sense of humor just makes me relate with Manowar better.
To conclude, this is a great album, with no weak tracks, and consistent throughout it's long run time. Manowar fans should embrace this album, even if they did not like it before, for it is a great display of Manowar just being an amazing band. I conclude.
After "Kings of Metal", a very successful record among the majority of Manowar fans, the band decided to head in an even more epic direction now that they had the advantages of digital recording and more money to spend on the production. And believe me, this is fucking epic! The opening song is 28 and a half minutes long, something that a metal band had never attempted before; and it works very well indeed. And now that Manowar had two new members in the band; guitarist David Shankle and drummer Kenny Earl Edwards, also known as Rhino, they were able to expand their musical horizons. Shankle and Rhino are undoubtedly vastly technically superior to both Ross the Boss and Scott Columbus, and this added a very interesting element to Manowar's already solidified sound
The production is very clean. The snare drum sounds a little flat, but it's alright if you crank it up as loud as you can. The guitar packs a lot of crunch, but still has a pretty clean tone. Joey's bass playing is pretty hard to separate from Shankle's guitar playing sometimes, but sometimes it becomes very audible. Eric is as divine on vocals as usual, but after "Fighting the World" his vocals got a bit dryer which also added an interesting detail to Manowar's sound
And so the album opens with the monstrous epic "Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts". This is probably one of the longest songs in all of metal, even beating the Venom classic "At War with Satan" to the punch. It packs a whole load of changing moods, and the different parts work altogether to create an amazing wholesome. It even features a drum solo from Rhino that's about 5 minutes long, and he puts most drummers, even the likes of Dave Lombardo and Charlie Benante (!), to shame. My favourite probably has to be part 6, which is a fast thrash part. If there's one thing that can't be said about this song then it's that it's supposedly monotonous
"Metal Warriors" is a midpaced banger about heavy metal. This song should deserve a status similar to the Helloween track "Heavy Metal is the Law", as this song sums up that quote exactly. Just listen to the line "If you're not into metal - you are not my friend!"
"Ride the Dragon" is probably one of the fastest Manowar songs. It starts off with a cool intro of dragon's bellowing out war cries, which is created by Joey on his bass using effects. One thing to notice about this track is the insane double bass and the Maiden-like guitar solo from Shankle
"Spirit Horse of the Cherokee" and "Burning" are both midpaced numbers. The former is a tribute to the Cherokee tribe for their bravery in battle, and Joey probably wrote this because he's half-Cherokee. It's mainly bass driven and features no guitar solo, but it once again features some insane double bass from Rhino during the chorus and at the end. The latter is the reason why this album doesn't reach the 100% mark, but it's still good. It's a very doomy and morbid song with some kvlt sound effects chucked in for good measure. The only problem with this song is that it doesn't go anywhere and doesn't seem constructed
"The Power of thy Sword" is one epic motherfucking number. This is most likely the kind of stuff that most new school power metal bands eat alive, but this song beats most of those bands. The string section in the middle is an interesting addition, and it doesn't get overlong. Shankle also rips out two solos to die for
"The Demon's Whip" is a slow and doomy song in the vein of "Burning". This is a good way of saying a loud and proud "Fuck you!" to all the narrow minded Christians who accused Manowar and all other metal bands of being Satanic. The main riff is pretty simple, but after a short interlude of some cool vocal effects it gets faster and goes complete thrash metal
And so the album ends with "Master of the Wind", probably one of Manowar's best if not THE best of their ballads. It's completely acoustic and features some interesting melodies that reminds one of Native American folk music. The lyrics are also very inspiring, and show why Manowar has one of the most loyal fanbases in all of metal
Buy this album if you like a good dose of a lot of metal genres. We can find power metal, doom metal, thrash metal among others on this album
It's not a bad CD. Really, it's not. It's just a sea of musical mediocrity, with cheesy lyrics. Not that we expect lofty things from Manowar... cheesy lyrics is their schtick, after all. "If you do not like metal, you are not my friend".
The vocals are sometimes mid-ranged, sometimes falsetto singing and screaming, and are very good. They actually work well with the cheesy lyrics--I can't imagine a guy with a death metal grunt singing this stuff. By this point in their career, the vocalist has a pretty good ear for when to stay low key, and when to turn the amp up to 11.
As far as guitars go, there isn't much that's memorable here. The guitar work isn't bad--there even some nice riffs and melodies--it's just not very memorable stuff. The production is fairly good, and the instruments do sound good, there just isn't enough instrumentation going on for the listener to hear. There's a lot of sustaining chords, dead air, etc.
The bass is good, as one might expect from this band. The drums, on the other hand, are a sore spot for me. I'm thinking especially of the drum solo. It's hard to make a drum solo interesting, but it's even worse to put it in a song that is already way too long at 28 minutes! What were they thinking? I guess if you're gonna bury a drum solo somewhere, though, that'd be the place to do it.
Again, this isn't a bad album, it just has a definite "been there, done that" vibe to it. There's nothing new here, it's just music playing, to be forgotten as soon as you stop the CD. If you're interested in the band, you'd be better off getting one of their older albums.
Here, we have a flawed work that clearly shows how Manowar have grown. The production, while being significantly cleaner than Kings of Metal, is wonderfully heavy, with a solid bass and gritty guitar, with wonderful licks courtesy of David Shankle. The drum sound is monumensious, and the performance is bone crushing.
Aside from that, what makes Manowar great? Is it the endless posturing on how metal they are? No, and that's the flaw that grew out of proportion on Louder Than Hell -- a belief that someone possesses a quality simply because he says he does. Manowar are no more metal here than they were on Kings of Metal, yet here, they seem to be more obsessive about it; even on the songs where the subject isn't metal. The lyrical content is matured, approaching other subject areas besides vikings, odin, and battle, like the Cherokee, for which Manowar were brave enough to admit they were pretty good fighters. But behind all that, what's really here? An album with lots of headbanging moments and plenty of anthemic songs, plus an outstanding drum performance. Isn't that what Manowar have always been about?
But, alas, there's the song "Achilles, Ecstasy, and Agony in 8 parts." This song would've been a wonderful, albiet schmaltzy, but overall very epic and incredible if it was a.) at the end, and b.) without the incessent soloing, and c.) not quite as jarring and abrupt. If Manowar had explored the idea enough, it would've made an excellent, albiet not as long song.
So, what we have here is a bunch of great, NEW ideas (that they would milk for another decade), but haven't quite been used correctly. Think of it as Manowar for the 90's. Sadly enough, it would end up being by far Manowar's best CD of the 90's, with Louder Than Hell, too inconsistent to hold much value to anybody who actually appreciates Manowar not for being metal, but for being epic and glitzy.
This album blew me away with the sheer amount of raw emotion, power, and musicianship that was present all around. The riders of the 4 winds, the kings of metal, have chiseled into the rock of ages a genuine magnum opus by which all bands in the metal genre should be measured. There is not a bad song on here, nor is there a good song on here, everything is just down right colossal.
The first thing to take note of is the individual efforts of each musician, as Manowar is one of those bands where there really isn’t a front man (though Eric Adams does steal some of the show when singing “Master of the Wind“), but rather each member is a king onto himself, standing from a mighty throne. Rhino lives up to his name with a barrage of thundering double bass pedal madness, along with some classic and simple rock drumming on some slower tracks. David Shankle’s guitar solos are like a raging tsunami, jamming in dozens of notes where one thought you could only fit 4 or 5. Joey Demaio breaks out his full arsenal of basses and gives us some incredible shredding, at times actually seeming to outshine Shankle’s whirlwind leads. And of course, Eric Adams is at the top of his game, belting out notes that defy the male gender, and also gives us some gut-wrenching masculine grunts.
The first work of art that we have here is an epic retelling of a portion of “The Iliad” titled “Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts”. At a whopping 28 minutes plus, this crosses into the realm of becoming a true metal symphony, years before there was such a thing as symphonic metal. Though there is not a dull moment from start to finish, particular parts of interest are the crazy drum work on “Armor of the Gods”, the riveting electric and piccolo bass shredding on “The desecration of Hector’s body Pts. 1 and 2”, the triumphant harmonic chorale of basses and guitars that is “Funeral March”, and the monstrous guitar work on “The Glory of Achilles”. Eric Adams is consistently on point for the whole of his time at the microphone, tearing holes in the ceilings of the human vocal range.
The following work of “Metal Warriors” is a classic 80s metal song in the Twisted Sister/Motorhead vain, with that “screw you, I love metal and I’m proud of it” attitude. Although I live for the more epic and complex music put out by bands like Manowar, straight-forward rockers like this always get me singing along and raising my fist in the air. Heavy Metal is the Law, Heavy Metal or no metal at all!!!
“Ride the Dragon” is a fast cooker with tons of attitude. The intro sounds like a choir of dragons bellowing their songs of war (I think it was a series of talk-box/guitar or bass tracks). The chorus lyrics are quite inspiring, though fairly dark in it’s utilization of metaphors for standing one’s ground and bringing the fight to the enemy.
“Spirit Horse Cherokee” is another mid-tempo rocker with a historical subject matter, beginning with the sound of Cherokee drums and a man speaking in a native tongue of historical events, the English translation being read simultaneously by Eric Adams. The lyrics are the primary focus of this song, though there are some excellent riffs going on as well.
Very dark and in your face lyrics in “Burning”, matched with some very good riffs. I guess that if I had to pick a song that I like the least out of this bunch, it would be this one, though that takes nothing away from this classic track. It’s primary flaw is that it lacks a cohesive structure as most of the other’s do, and is a bit through-composed at times.
“The Power of thy Sword” is a classic Manowar track that rivals the likes of Iron Maiden and Motorhead. One of the most powerful choruses I’ve ever heard out of Manowar, combined with some raw and some musical notes out of Eric Adams at other points in the song. The somber string interlude in the middle of the song is a brilliant touch, as well as the insane guitar and bass work that dominates the louder parts of the song. And let us not forget the thundering drum lines that Rhino continues to beat out of his kit as if they were planets and his stickers were Thor hammers.
“The Demon’s Whip” is another slower rocker like “Spirit Horse Cherokee” that relies heavily on lyrics, this time with some rather dark and mystical ones, that almost seem to be intended to poke fun at many of their critics. Most of the bands that came out in the era that Manowar did faced a lot of opposition from the religious and the politically active amongst the masses. I myself am a Catholic whom regularly attends mass (to give a sense that there has been some progress since then) and this song seems almost comical to me, hardly threatening at all. If Christians really wants something to fear, try listening to some Mayhem, there is some true evil for you.
“Master of the Wind” is the lone ballad (minus “The Death of Patrocles” from track one of course) and a departure from tradition for the band, but ironically possibly the best track on the album. The lyrics are so inspired and moving that they can almost bring one to tears. There are no drums or basses or electric guitars in this one, only a grand orchestra and a couple of acoustic guitars, and Eric Adams’ powerful voice, but it makes a grand noise louder than most thrash metal tracks. Unbelievable.
In conclusion, this is the album of albums for the fan of classic metal, and also a treat that fans of speed and thrash metal can also appreciate. Although they are more renounced for such grand opuses as “Battle Hymns” and “Kings of Metal”, do not overlook this album. It is grossly underrated and underappreciated, and I consider that a genuine shame.
Well well well... what to make of Manowar? If I was writing this review five years ago I'd probably have given this album somewhere around a 35 because track one is so fucking long and unstructured. Since then I've worked at a local Jazz festival to pay the bills, and low and behold I now understand what the hell Manowar was trying to do. Track one was Manowar's attempt at a jazz improv style song with a theme that each musician solo's off from. Kudos to them for trying, and fuck anyone who complains about drum solos! First of all if you appreciate the technical aspects of drumming or bass playing for that matter and understand something of metal's roots (all rock's roots for that matter) you'd understand that an artist soloing well is a beautiful thing whatever instrament they play. That being said there is nothing wrong with song structure or songs sounding good the first time through either and its alot easyier to go wrong with solos and freeform songwrithing than more conventional methods. So as I said before, good for Manowar trying something diffrent.
Now for what they did wrong...
First of all "Achilles..." is too much like alot of live jazz shows: long and meandering. What it shows in ability to go off from a theme it lacks in theme. To explain there is nothing "Achilles..." returns to after each solo and while there are parts of the song that seme to be building up to something in the end it goes nowhere.
Secondly "Achilles..." Manowar shifts to the catchy chorused "metal warriors" which is a useful tune in a dorm room when your roomate is playing too much whiny college shit music, but has no place coming right after what can only be described as an attempt at "high art" metal. After this jarring dichotomy, Manowar settles into a bit of a rut with some very inconsistent and mundane songs untill...
The third thing they did wrong: "Master of the Wind" this song has several flaws:
1. It does not fit on this album
2. It does not belong on any album by any metal band
3. Its a whiny fucking ballad with shitty lyrics, cheesy guitars, overdone effects, and well, to be blunt, it is a giant peice of shit I wish I had never heard.
4. I'm supprised Lar$ didn't cover it on $t. $hit
That one song and the overall inconsistency of the album force me to give "Triumph of the Steel" a 60. At times writing this review I bumped up that rating to as high as 74 and as low as 45, thats exactly the kind of album this is. To go from the ludicris and enjoyably bawdy "if you're not into metal, you are not my friend" to "fly away, on a rainbow in the sky" and oh yeah that whole "Achilles..." thing in there too, is just too hard to give a real numerical review. Some of "Triumph" is really interesting some is utter shit.
I can see why some of the more impatient sorts out there got bored with "Achilles, Agony And Ecstasy in 8 Parts", but it makes a great album starter in my opinion. It features everything that makes Manowar great: outstanding vocals ranging from clean to scream from Eric Adams, jaw-dropping musicianship, blisteringly heavy riffing and dynamics to the max, it's all good here. Rhino earns his nickname with an amazing drum solo that builds from quiet cymbal tickling to full-on double kick massacre and an amazing ambient drum sound that took some getting used to, as I thought he was triggered at first. Joey, naturally, gets his solo space and impresses as always, as does David Shankle, a more technically advanced player than Ross, if not with quite as much character as Ross had. I actually really like this piece, and it took guts for Manowar to do what their muse called them to do. They have my respect anyway, and this tune cements that.
The rest of the album follows suit with a series of the usual metal anthems they are best at, like "Metal Warriors (Brothers of Metal Pt. II)", fantasy-based lyrics like "Ride The Dragon" (AWESOME bass work in this, including what I am certain is the only instance of a bassist using a talk box in the intro and ending for a chilling series of dragon roars and snarls) and "The Demon's Whip", more diversified lyrical content like "Spirit Horse of the Cherokee" (another nice intro with American Indian language dialogue over Eric's menacing spoken word part, and you gotta admire a white guy like Joey writing pro-Indian lyrics and respecting them as the strong fighters that they were), and "Master of the Wind" ends things with an emotional appeal to follow your dreams as only they can pen. I give Manowar credit for always trying to give their fans a positive message in some of their songs, and this is one of the reasons I respect them as I do. I really like this album, and I wish people would give it more of a chance.
I was shocked when I saw the average rating of this album and I thought "I have to write a review of this!"
I think this is Manowar's second best album, next to Kings of Metal. It has some great stuff in it. Everything in the band fits with each other so well that it's hard to believe. It seems like Eric Adams was born to sing in this band.
It seems like most people don't like Achilles Agony And Ecstasy In Eight Parts, and I can understand them, but I like the song. It's got so good parts in it that it would have been a shame if it hadn't been on the album. Hector Storms the Wall starts the album with power. Other good parts in it are Armor of the Gods (a drum solo), Death Hector's Reward (A fast and furious song) and The Glory of Achilles (another fast and heavy song). The other parts are not bad either. Funeral March is a slow part with only guitars in the beginning. It has a very heavy ending and it's one of my favourite moments of this album.
After the first 28 minute song comes Metal Warriors. I first heard this song when I was 5 years old and my brothers had the pleasure of hearing me singing it. It's only natural that I like it. It's got the metal-attitude ("Brothers of true metal, proud and standing tall!) and the lyrics are good.
Next is Ride the Dragon. It's one of those Manowar's faster songs. I don't like most of Manowar's fast songs but this one is quite good.
Spirit Horse of the Cherokee is great. The drums, vocals and the feeling in the song are all great. The heavy bass drum pounding in this song is one of my favourite things of the album.
Burning is a good song in it's own way, though it seems like many don't appreciate it. It's got some parts where there is only Adams speaking and some ambient sounds. I love the vocals on the song.
The Power of Thy Sword is great, fast and hard hero-metal. Great lyrics and great feeling. The silent part on it is a bit boring but after that comes "They will know the power of my sword!" and the great feeling is back.
The Demon's whip is my favourite song on this album. The first guitar riff is great and I love the lyrics. Later from the beginning the song gets faster and heavier. It ends with Adams screaming "Feel the demon's whip!" a couple of times (I love Adams' screams).
Master of the Wind is a slow song and not at all heavy, but it has good vocals and is a very beautiful song. Somehow it always gets me to a good mood.
Favourite parts: The screams in Power of Thy Sword "With blood in my voice I SCREAM AS YOU DIE!" and in Burning "Crawl to the silence!"
Worst part: I can't really decide but it's probably Hector's Final Hour in Achilles Agony and etc. It's not a bad part though. This album doesn't have bad parts.
"The Triumph of Steel" starts with a 28 minutes song which ranges from speed metal passages to the calm parts. You'll hear some classical elements too: a choir and an orchestra. Also, each instrumentalist of the band has a chance to play a solo on this track. It's just a display of virtuosity I think. The solos don't do anything for the song.
Honestly, there's nothing special on "The Triumph of Steel" except for the good production. Almost every track has a intro: horses running, dragons roaring and stuff like that. What's this for anyway? The intros are too long! Besides, they're useless just like the spoken parts on "Burning". On "The Power of Thy Sword", things get really really bad. The choir singing and the swords hitting remind me of a band that I hate: Rhapsody. It can't get any worst really.
The lyrics don't do anything for me. I hear the words "fight" and "spill blood" in almost every song. Simply annoying as hell.
Look, I'm getting tired of reviewing this album. "Master of the Wind" is actually the only track I fully enjoy. The rest bores me to death. If Manowar cutted out the useless parts of their music, they would do a big favor to mankind.
"Triumph Of Steel" is - as far as i'm concerned - very much underrated by a lot of people - it sure as hell isn't as good anymore as any of their first releases (and has one huge mistake) but overall the band does what it does well - more of the same - and especially Eric Adams carries this record from beginning to end - with some superb vocal performances.
Let me start from the beginning with their "main" mistake - the overly long (27 minutes !) "Achilles, Agony & Ecstacy in 8 parts" - honestly - this could have been 4 parts shorter and noone would have even cared - there are some absolutely gutwrenching and boring moments on that song alone - like the overly long and rather unspectacular bass & drum solo's - which lead nowhere at all - on the other hand though - there ARE some excellent, speedmetal bits on there which are absolutely awesome - just next time you guys do something like this - shorten it by 20 minutes...that would suffice more than enough...
The rest of the tracks - I must say - are not bad at all - featuring one of my personal favourite Manowar tracks of all time - the excellent "Spirit Horse Of The Cherokee" - a superb basher. In fact the only "weaker" song is "Metal Warriors" - which is one of their now standard "metal anthems" - nothing special, although not bad at all either. The rest of the songs are well up to standard - with "Master Of The Wind" being the first "real" Manowar ballad - and succeeding very much at it - "Power Of Thy Sword" & "Demon's Whip" being two excellent longer songs, "Burning" a nice mid-tempo doomy song and finally "Ride The Dragon" an excellent speedmetal track.
All in all it might not be the perfect Manowar album - but the production, Adam's vocal's and a number of great songs certainly keep it up to a decent level - now if only they would have shortened that "epic" track in the beginning - things would have been a lot better.
It took Manowar four years to release the follow-up to Kings of Metal, but it sure as hell was worth the wait. The Triumph of Steel is yet another classic in the Manowar catalogue, and although not quite as amazing as the likes of Sign of the Hammer or Battle Hymns it sure does kick ass quite heavily.
The production stays as it's done for the last few albums with a very punchy and straightforward sound, but this one is much darker than Fighting the World and Kings of Metal, and the bass is unusually loud heavy, and Joey puts up some of his greatest bass performances ever.
The Triumph of Steel also features the amazing drumwork of the man known as Rhino, who replaced Scott Columbus for this album only. And he has probably the tightest double bass attack I've ever heard, and uses lots of it on this album- but never too much. Rhino fucking owns, end of story.
The general mood of this album is darker than any of their previous releases, featuring songs such as the crushing midpaced anthem Spirit Horse of the Cherokee, featuring lyrics about the Indians and a mighty fucking singalong chorus.
While most of the album owns to no end, there are a few lower points to be found. The opening track Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy is a huge epic divided into eight parts, and is awfully inconsistent. It features lots of annoying bass and drum soloing that gets in the way of making one hell of a masterpiece. Cause aside from the dumb solos, there are also some monster fucking speed metal numbers to be found (Death Hector's Reward, The Glory of Achilles!), together with a few mesmerizing ballads (The Death of Patroclus, Hector's Final Hour) that together could've made one of the greatest Manowar tracks ever. But, it is overlong and features too much unnecessary crap.
The other weak moments of the album are the doomy, midpaced Burning, which is just frankly boring and doesn't get anywhere, and the first half of The Demon's Whip. It's doomy, midpaced, boring as hell and doesn't get anywhere. It's not as bad as Burning, though.
The rest is all kickass shit. Metal Warriors is a classic metal anthem with that mindblowing chorus - and check out that insane falsetto towards the end. Ride the Dragon is more heavy-as-fuck speed metal with some of the most insane double bass ever. Master of the Wind is a beautiful emotional ballad with an incredibly memorable chorus. The second half of The Demon's Whip increases in both speed, falsetto and ownage level- badass stuff. And finally, the ultimate highlight: The Power of Thy Sword- complete fucking ownage. A mighty cool buildup featuring memorable backing choirs just explodes into an epic speed metal monster. Definitely one of the greatest Manowar songs ever.
With The Triumph of Steel, Manowar delivers more incredible ownage, just like you'd expect them to. And while there are a few lower points on the album, the good parts are all really fucking great and easily overweigh the bad moments.
My goodness this album is terrible at times. They just cannot find any sense of consistency in the songwriting department. The first song, Achilles, in many many parts, is just a complete mishmash of pretty much every possible heavy metal idea that Manowar have ever tried - lots of gratuitous soloing (there's a fucking cymbal solo) and the actual song doesn't go anywhere or do anything.
"Metal Warriors" is just boing as fuck. Imagine the really really straightforward and completely incident-free construction of a song like "The Number of the Beast". Now imagine something even more so. There's nothing to drive the song forward, it just kinda plods.
The highlight of the album is probably the second half of "The Demon's Whip"... it finally gets around to doing something. Also, "Ride the Dragon" is decent too, but then the album closer is a hideous ballad, "Master of the Wind". In general, Manowar does not do ballads that come of well in the studio. Not even "Heart of Steel" is good in the studio, even though it's godly live.
Yes, Manowar are far better a live band than a studio band - for the most part, the studio songs lack life and inspiration, and just go through the motions. This album is probably the most accurate example of that - just questionable ideas thrown over songs with no biting or catchy riffs.