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Overrated - 75%

The_Ghoul, July 20th, 2008

Hail to England is often "hailed" (hur hur hur) as Manowar's greatest album. Which baffles me, because Sign of the Hammer is so much better in every way. What we have here is a collection of songs barely passing the 30 minute mark that doesn't even have enough riffs to fill the time. Sure, the riffs that are there are good, and I'll be damned if I don't sing along to the chorus to "Hail to England" or "Blood of My Enemies". But for every great riff, there's a bunch of mediocre riffs, aimless songs, and passages that, quite frankly, don't go anywhere. Take Army Of Immortals. That song could've easily been a 2 minute song, 3 tops. But it was padded enough to be four and a half minutes long, and in the bridge, it's nothing but a minute of Eric Adams shouting "Metal makes us stronger makes us metal makes us stronger etc..." which is good, I suppose, but it comes off as repetitive. Another example is the part in Bridge of Death right after the breakdown where Eric adams professes his love for satan. In that part, it's nothing but the verse riff repeated ad nauseum for around 2 minutes. And now that I've mentioned the breakdown, they could've easily cut that in half. Again, with all the repetition. There is no need for all the repetition in all these songs; one unfortunate carry over from Into Glory Ride is the extreme repetition, and the idea that the surefire way to be epic is to take a normal verse-chorus-verse song, and repeat the riffs over and over again until there's the necessary extra minutes.

Also, there's the matter of the production, as another fellow reviewer said. The snare and bass have been pushed to the top, and the cymbals cannot be heard. As well, it's as if the drums were recorded in a hermetic void; there's no space, the feel of the drums is very claustrophobic. The bass casts this muddy mess over everything, ensuring that nothing can be heard clearly in this mess. I've never liked DeMaio's bass, and it's only when he can tame the ridiculous sound and even out the mix that it gets tolerable. Because the bass is so mixed high, and with such a muddy, indescript tone, the guitars are utterly buried, which is a shame, because METAL IS ABOUT THE FUKKEN GUITARS FGSFDSFKL:Jk''ljk. The point I'm making is that the thing that usually defines a metal song (especially in a genre like Manowar's) is the guitar riffs. And on Hail to England, there are few, and they cannot be heard well. So as a result, it can never be great. So, even though there are some very interesting melodies, as Hail to England does have potential, it never reaches its potential. Pity.