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Here we are. The first studio release from Manowar in six-years, and the first Manowar album I was able to purchase as a new release since becoming a fan three years ago. Naturally, I had stratospheric expectations for this album -- so perhaps, I am as much to blame for my disappointment as the songs themselves.
The track-sequencing of "Warriors of the World" sets it apart from other Manowar releases. It's also my biggest complaint. After the heavy-handed opener, "Call to Arms," the listener must sit through four consecutive ballads, along with two mellow instrumentals. I enjoy the instrumentals, myself; to me, they are much more listenable and musical than those filler Joey DeMaio bass solos that blemish some of my favorite Manowar albums. And while I like ballads, the ballads on this album are not very memorable. I don't mind the surprisingly faithful cover of Puccini's "Nessun Dorma," but I could do without the half-baked 9/11 tribute, "Fight For Freedom," or "The American Trilogy," a coma-inducing cover of three patriotic oldies songs. Of the ballads, only "Swords in the Wind" gets me singing in the shower, but that probably has more to do with its Odin-worshipping, Norse lyrics than the strength of the song.
It's not until Track 8, when the band starts to build on the foundations laid down by "Call to Arms," my favorite track on this album. "Warriors of the World United" is one of the catchiest songs in the Manowar catalogue, probably because of its singsongy chorus and a simple, infectious riff that the band repeats over and over. The next three tracks (the last three) are the album's heaviest. However, they suffer immensely from the album's polished production -- Manowar's most polished to date. The versus and choruses of these songs aren't very memorable either. In fact, they contain some of Manowar's simplest and most recycled lyrics to date (eg. "Tonight we strike, there is thunder in the sky / Together we'll fight, some of us will die / But they'll always remember that we made a stand / And many will die by my hand).
I am being pretty harsh. This is not a bad album, by any means; it's just not what I expected from DeMaio and crew. I will still listen to it on occasion, especially when I want to hear "Call to Arms" and "Warriors of the World United." However, there is no guarantee I will listen to it as much as 1996's "Louder Than Hell," or any Manowar album for that matter.