without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
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.