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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.