1. The Lord Of Steel 2. Manowarriors 3.Born In A Grave 4. Righteous Glory 5.Touch The Sky
6. Black List 7.Expendable 8. El Gringo 9. Annihilation 10.Hail Kill And Die
Eric Adams – Vocals ,Karl Logan – Guitar/Keyboard
Joey DeMaio – Bass/Keyboard, Donnie Hamzik – Drums
Manowar, one my favourite bands to exist in this or any other plane of existence, have just released their 12th studio album. This suckers been a long time coming, not counting EPs and a rerecording of their debut album, it has been 5 years since the last official album. This may not seem long but considering they scrapped the previous albums recording and concept to start fresh, the fans have been kept waiting with baited breath.
This review is going to be in a sort of compliment sandwich style, because as much as it kills me to say this, there is a hell of a negative to get by. First though, the positive; the songs are great. Total Manowar type tracks, from seeing the song titles alone I knew I’d be getting drunk and singing “Manowarriors,” “Expendable” and “Hail, Kill & Die” annoyingly down the pub. After listening to the album I can confirm this and more. Manowarriors especially is pure Manowar cheese, it’s a glorious slice of “Metal Warriors” reinvented 20 years later. Lyrics like..
In heavy metal we believe,
If you don’t like it time to leave,
Manowarriors raise your hands,
We fight for metal,
Manowarriors raise your hands,
Our fight is real
Are sure to be crowd pleasers live, as much as they are fan pleasers in the house.
As much as this pains me to say, it’s negative time. The main negative point to make here is the bass tone. Over the last decade Manowar have released some stunningly produced albums, the Battle Hymns rerecording in particular is amazing and the bass tone along with the drums stand out the most. Considering this range of awesome and meaty bass sounds of late, it makes no sense why it suddenly sounds like Joey has unplugged the bass amp and crammed the lead into a wasps asshole then recorded the resulting fury. The bass buzzes over the entire album, and over is the keyword; the vocals and guitars are sometimes drowned out by this incessant buzzing, killing otherwise brilliant songs. This is just my opinion, but considering the digital nature of the album so far, and the reception the tone has had online, they might consider a re-master now.
Joey’s tone isn’t the only down point in terms of sound, the drums suffer in production as well. I mentioned Battle Hymn MMXI, when I listen to the title track with my headphones up, the drums make my eyes shake with the deep powerful blasts. On this album they’re sort of just “there.” It’s not that they’re bad or anything, just compared to the previous sound they seem so hollow. Call me a wimp and a poser if you will, Manowar are better than this and even they must know it.
Back to compliments though, the choruses are fantastic, most are catchy as fuck. My bass issue also disappears on the completely brilliant ballad “Righteous Glory” which is one of the stronger slow tracks from Manowar since Louder Than Hell. While songs like “Black List” harks back to a sort of “Sign of the Hammer” era Manowar, “El Gringo” pushes them forward. It’s nothing ground breaking but it’s an interesting direction, one which I hope gets explored in future albums. “Lord of Steel” is a song I’d surely be breaking the speed limit to if I wasn’t such a raging pussy, and has some fantastic Manowarrian (I’m going to make that a thing) lyrics. This is my favourite song on the album under “Manowarriors,” though “Born In A Grave” comes close.
Overall, the negatives seem to overpower the positive in this review but that isn’t so much the case in real life. It’s a good album, at first I couldn’t get by the BUZZ but when I stuck my headphones on and heard the classic Manowar choruses, Eric’s powerful vocals, Karl’s solos, the crowd chant vocals and the keyboard lines in fresh, never heard songs I couldn’t stop smiling. It’s by no means a classic Manowar album but don’t let the fuzzy bass put you off, fuck about with your sound settings and (as lame as fuck as this line is, but I’m saying it), turn it to 10….Hail & Kill bitches!
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