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Manowar's magnum opus - 99%

VampireKiller, March 11th, 2008

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