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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!