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Play from the heart today - 88%

StillDeath, November 9th, 2004

This is the best Manowar album to date. It’s as if these metal kings went on a diet and dropped the fat. Before there were really good works like Kings of Metal, which almost intentionally fucks itself over with the spoken track, and don’t ask me why they did it. Review title taken from “Number 1” lyrics sums it up – this time they mean it.

The strength of this album is that its straight forward, catchy, has balls and anthemic. The lyrics deal with being true to metal and the life of metalheads that live free, ride hard and die young. Eric Adams hammers out vocal lines with conviction. The bass is prominent, the sound is thick, the pace is mostly mid-paced to fast. Remember “Hail and Kill”? If Manowar had it playing in the background while writing this album, I would not be surprised. One song “Outlaw” is particularly similar to that in its over-the-top bloodlust-infusing energy. “King” starts as a ballad as good as “Heart of Steel” and sounds similar, then midway it becomes an anthem with shout-along chorus.

As far as pure metal anthems, you know what you are getting with Manowar – an abundance of them. The opening three tracks are the 1-2-3 punch of the album. “The Gods Made Heavy Metal” being most memorable, it is a simple composition with galloping bass line and effective riff work. Then comes the solo, which is short and cuts away any remaining fat imagery that may have been left over from previous album experiences. God bless short solos, the same Gods that made heavy metal intended metal to feel like a 3-minute boxing round, not a marathon. Then at the end, Adams just rips his lungs inside out. An anthem worthy of the title.

If you are looking for music to work out to, or to run over some people to (don’t say I didn’t warn you) this will do great.