Oh dear, god, why ME? I suppose the masochist in me, was seeking some kind of punishment, probably to make amends for whatever crimes, I may have ever done, so I sought out the task to review the latest Manowar album. Now to some this might have brought joy, while to others it might have seemed dismal, but I must say that in the past, I did indeed enjoy, Joey De Maio & Co’s works, however simplistic and cringe worthy they might have been, since they were both pretty honest and actually catchy, in their simplicity - but above all else, because Eric Adams, was able to just “cough” - and make it sound EPIC.
The guy, had some amazing pipes and a very unique style of singing, that elevated the rather simple straightforward songs of the band, to amazing heights of ecstasy and euphoria. You could almost be forgiven for beating your chest and assuming macho postures in front of the mirror as long as you didn't have a sock over your pipi, while doing so!
At any rate, a little more than a quarter of a century after their debut, the band is back with yet another album, a good number a number of years after the last one. With a bizarre “extra-long play” double EP and an aborted album, as well as the loss of one of their brethren, the drummer Scott Colombus (R.I.P.), having taken place in the meantime, I must say that I was more than a bit intrigued about the direction of this new album. Also the fact, that the band, was going to release the album initially only online and then by using as a vessel, a magazine, by a UK publishing company, that in the past made fun of them comparing them to the Flintstones, but now hails them without end, made me scratch my head as well as various other parts of my anatomy, quite hard... but if the album was going to be any good, all would be forgiven and forgotten in a jiffy. Alas, It was not to be so...
The title song, that opens the album in grand fashion and is pretty standard Manowar fare, a staccato pretty quick, typical heavy metal song, with all the band’s trademarks, but without the traditional “Adam’s”-wails. While, it’s not bad, that particularity, made me a little apprehensive.
“Manowarriors” had me cringing slightly, just by looking at the title, but I was initially taken by its rather simple riff and build. Yet once the chorus hit me and the gang vocals set in, I thought, oh dear....this is going to be messy! The lyrics are more cliché and cheesier than anything you’ve ever heard before and the umpteenth combo of the same words, is by this point in time, making me question both the bands sanity as well as their inspiration, or lack thereof.
“Born In A Grave” has one of the weirdest riffs you’ve ever heard by the band and a bass that totally dominates the living shit out of it, and while Adams, never breaks into the trademark wailing screams, the song carries itself in a rather dignified way, without however being some sort of a highlight, whatsoever.
“Righteous Glory” is a slow, ballad about the passage of a warrior, from the kingdom of the living to the kingdom of the dead and it indeed is quite majestic and certainly one of the better moments of the album. “The Crown and the Ring” this is not, but it’s a nice piece nonetheless.
“Touch The Sky” has one good idea, that’s recycled from the band’s past (“Mountains”), but apart from that and it’s early chorus build, the track is amongst the most boring Manowar songs ever. Same goes for the next one “Black List” which I initially thought to be an instrumental. The lyrics are toe curling at best, but they hardly seem to belong together with the song, so partially spread throughout its duration... it's just plainly embarrassing!
“Expendables” that seems to draw inspiration from the Stalone-flick, is another bad, uninspired mess, with a chorus, that’s well “an excuse for one”. It's worse than, Rocky V! A little before, the third minute mark, Eric decides to let rip, a scream, that actually, makes it plainly obvious, how absent that style of singing of his is from this album. Maybe age has finally caught up with him and the band wanted to be able to replicate the songs on stage quite faithfully, but still, the result is rather disappointing.
The infamous “El Gringo” which will be featured on some weird indie adventure movie, is somewhat better, but I cannot say it made the hair on my head stand, really! My initial reaction to it was lukewarm at best and repeated spins - didn’t change that!
“Annihilation” could have been a nice tune, but it kinda veers on and on, with a super simple rhythm on the drums, trying to drive it along with a generic as f.a.q riff on the guitar, so it doesn’t quite hit “home” ever.
“Hail, Kill and Die”, reprises all the album titles by the band and to put it quite plainly is just boring, at best. But just by looking at the title, you can well understand that inspiration levels have fallen below zero a while ago...
Guys if this is how it’s going to be, you better put all the swords away. It was good while it lasted, but now, you’re beginning to embarrass yourselves, so either prove me wrong and make me eat these words, soon, or I will in my mind, consign you to oblivion and the metal pantheon, on the strength of your glory days... Alas...