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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.