Manowar - The Lord Of Steel

Manowar - The Lord Of Steel

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(CD, Magic Circle Music, 2012)

What we have here is the highly anticipated new MANOWAR album that saw the light of the day as a digital release and as a special edition with a well-known magazine (the physical format will follow). The ‘highly anticipated’ characterization came for the clever (as always) marketing by the band but most importantly by the passion and love of MANOWAR’s solid as steel fanbase. This band has managed to polarize the Metal scene into two parties: the first one follows the band almost blindly praising whatever is being released with the trademark logo on the cover artwork, while the second almost hates everything MANOWAR do or has just paying attention after Ross The Boss had left. Well, the truth is somewhere in between, but as usual, metalheads either love or hate bands like this one.

So, what “The Lord Of Steel” is offering? Can stand next to the rest MANOWAR albums? Is it epic? Is it 'true'? These are some of the questions the average metalhead is asking while waiting for the first track to kick in. Personally, I have stopped waiting for something stellar by this band since there is no way to match or even approach the quality of the first 4 albums. If one accepts this fact, then he can move on and maybe find some peace of mind whenever a new MANOWAR album hits the stores. Something that I still consider of high level are Eric’s vocals even if they have lost some of the spark and power of the past (but this is expected, you know). I think that his singing maintains the MANOWAR sound, since in song composing terms, the band has been in still waters for more than a decade and I don’t know if there is something able to change this. I don’t think there is a single pair of Metal ears out there that is not aware of what is about to follow after pushing the play button having a MANOWAR album in the player. And that is a couple (or maybe more) good tracks and a bunch of fillers following the trademark MANOWAR recipe with the ultra-predictable lyrics, the sing along chorus and fist pumping grooves. So, let’s see if my gut was right once again...

The guitar riff opening the album with the self-titled track was a nice surprise, while I did enjoy was the different than usual bass distortion, even though during the guitar solo, it sounded rather unbalanced. Everything you love (or hate) is here: awesome singing (I love those high-pitched screams), simple drum work and minimal keyboard work, keeping the Epic meter at high levels. And then comes “Manowarriors” to spoil my appetite; I know that songs like these are kind of expected by MANOWAR but haven’t we had enough of those? Come on, it has been a long time for an album by the Metal Kings and songs like this one sound like a failure to me. The same goes for “Hail, Kill And Die” despite the nice guitar groove in the beginning. Once more the album flows without surprises and without climax moments with a couple of songs to remember after a couple of years from now. And if you think a little bit, this is what hurts the most all the MANOWAR fans who see past the nice but outdated true, brothers, fight and hail and kill mottos. It’s about time to get a couple of tracks that will withstand the passing of time. How many song titles can you remember from the last 5 albums? ‘None’ is the most probable answer and this album (sadly) is not an exception. Of course, and I liked “Touch The Sky”, “Black List” with the awesome bass work in the beginning and the galloping “El Gringo” with the hair-raising singing by Eric. But apart from those moments (yeah, moments, not songs), there is nothing worth of revisiting or requesting in a future live show. Indeed, I’d prefer to listen again and again to the old hymns and not waste my time with songs like “Annihilation”...

I am sure that the album’s production will be an issue for further discussion but I will wait a little bit for the physical release (on vinyl) and see if this unbalanced sound still exists. This album will be the center of many disputes by the metalheads all around and I hope that some of those will reach DeMaio’s ears and decide to really work on an album and deliver something worth of the band’s history. I hate to believe that one of the best voices in Metal is being wasted in simple-structured song with cheesy choruses.

PS: The low rating reflects my love for this band and my –still– high expectations. No, this is not the MANOWAR I met more than two decades ago.

4/10 


Links:

www.Manowar.Com
www.MySpace.Com/ManowarOfficial
www.FaceBook.Com/Manowar


Tracklist:

01. The Lord Of Steel
02. Manowarriors
03. Born In A Grave
04. Righteous Glory
05. Touch The Sky
06. Black List
07. Expendable
08. El Gringo
09. Annihilation
10. Hail, Kill And Die


Lineup:

Joey DeMaio - Bass, Keyboards
Eric Adams - Vocals
Donnie Hamzik - Drums
Karl Logan - Guitars, Keyboards