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A different path for a superior band - 96%

The_Ghoul, June 2nd, 2006

This, despite what I said about Kings of Metal, is Manowar's best CD. I was wrong about Kings of Metal; this new approach to the "Manowar" style is probably the most effective and, well, the best. Though there are bad songs on this album (Fight For Freedom, An American Trilogy), they are easily ignorable. The rest of the songs have the viking passion, Wagnerian intensity and theatre, and overall dramatic, coldblooded vigour not seen in other Manowar albums, which seem like something as flippant and happy as DragonForce in comparison to this beast. This is the album where Manowar became much more serious, with less light-hearted anthems like King, Number One, Return of the Warlord, The Gods Made Heavy Metal, Metal Warriors, Kings of Metal, Wheels of Fire, or, hell, about 90% of Manowar's entire back catalogue.

Though I am reviewing in context of a bootleg that combines "The Dawn of Battle" with "Warriors of the World", both are great. The opener, Call To Arms, floored me with the darkness that I had never expected out of Manowar. Though I was a bit unimpressed by the rather tepid and flaccid, and to tell the truth, boring, Fight For Freedom, I was instantly brought back in by the song Nessun Dorma. Now, most people hate that song. I don't. I love it. As a fan of classical music, I've always loved Manowar's more classical dabblings, like Master of the Wind and Crown and the Ring. This one floored the rest; Eric Adams impressed me, and the combination of opera and metal at the end of the song was probably the most moving and incredible moments Manowar have ever achieved. The next song, Vallhalla, which is a symphonic intro to Swords in the Wind, would've been better if it weren't so short, but eh, it has the same melody as Swords in the Wind, and still is a crushing intro. Swords in the Wind is a tribute to the Viking raids on France and England, on the Viking side, and is Manowar's best power ballad, beating out the beloved Heart of Steel. 1 more symphonic track, a narcopaleptic cover of 3 patriotic oldies, and 3 solid fast, crushing, yet darkly symphonic songs later, the album ends, with a magnimonious bang not heard in other Manowar albums. The sheer impact of this album, combined with the surprising darkness, makes this release far more impactive, and, to tell you the truth, less lighthearted, and the best of Manowar's catalogue.