MANOWAR


"Gods of War" (Magic Circle; 2007)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Gods of War" is going to cause some real division in the legions of Manowar fans the world round. Why? Because it's split between orchestral, almost Andrew Lloyd Webber-ish tunes and pure metal rockers, both of which the band is well-known for.

Starting out with a stunningly long orchestral piece that sounds like it could have come from a "Lord of the Rings" film, "Gods of War" sets the stage early for what the listener is in store for. In fact, it isn't until two songs later that any electric guitars kick in at all. For a brief moment, you're almost afraid the entire album is going to be spoken word pieces, epic film score-like material and show tunes from a musical based on the life of Conan the Barbarian. 

There are considerably more of the above-listed types of tracks than pure metal tracks and some fans will no doubt find that disappointing. "Gods of War" is a concept album, however, and -- when listened to as such -- it's a damned ambitious one at that. It may not be the kind of CD you'll listen to often (those spoken word pieces sometimes seem to go on forever!) but it's the kind of CD that if you sit down and follow the lyric sheet, you'll get a more rewarding experience. That is, if the lyric sheet wasn't printed in what looks like Gaelic.

Those looking for a heavy metal record with "Gods of War" will definitely not find what they're looking for. There's some great metal tracks on this CD (especially "Loki: God of Fire" with its tasty riff ripping throughout) but they're few and far between. Those looking for a concept album that tells the same kind of story as Frank Miller's "300," will find plenty to enjoy here, assuming they have the patience for it.

For more information visit http://www.manowar.com


"Hell on Earth Part III" (SPV / Steamhammer; 2004) DVD

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Manowar have done a good job of taking the term "heavy metal" and applying it liberally to themselves. The band virtually defines "heavy metal" in its purest form - it's loud, it's fast, and it's packed to the gills with testosterone.

"Hell on Earth III" is two discs of pure Manowar. Disc 1 consists of excerpts from the band's performances throughout the world, and includes live performances, audience interaction, interviews (with lots of stories about sex) and more. My favorite parts of Disc 1 were the final segment, in which various guitar-slinging fans (men) take the stage with the band and various topless fans (women) display their assets for all to see. The biggest annoyance here is that you don't get to hear many complete songs - the focus is on the countries toured and the fans therein - not the actual band performances.

Fear not! Disc 2 is a complete performance of the band live in Germany and it's a hell of a show. Yeah, you'll suppress a giggle here and there as the band goes through their over-the-top heavy metal posing but - if any band has earned that right - it's Manowar. At the end of disc two is a collection of the band's videos, the older ones which look like "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" video by The Darkness, and later ones which take up the band's "heavy metal masters" creed in spades.

Overall, "Hell on Earth Part III" is a very entertaining double-DVD set. And, with Part III of their "Hell on Earth" series, Manowar seem to be getting the long-form video format down pat.

For more information visit http://www.manowar.com


"Warriors of the World" (Metal Blade; 2002)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I'll admit the true metal appeal of Manowar has escaped me lo these many years. It's easy for me to admit that because I quickly dismissed the band after having seen a few of their videos on MTV Headbanger's Ball in the mid-80s (first impressions are important and Manowar did not make a good first impression). However, I've always been impressed by the band's legion of fans. Unfortunately, I’ve always lumped Manowar into the same category as KISS, the common link of course, being that both KISS and Manowar are decent bands that I never really cared for.

In all honesty, I'd have to say that "Warriors Of The World" is my first real opportunity to listen to Manowar without interruption. Although I've become more familiar with the true metal style and sound over the last few years I never did listen to Manowar even though I wasn't intentionally avoiding them.

My first impression of "Warriors Of The World" is that there are more 'ballads' and slower songs than I expected. I figured a band of Manowar's true metal reputation would be more of a head-banging experience. At times the band is damn near operatic ("Nessun Dorma"), classical ("The March"), and ballad-like ("The Fight For Freedom"). But there is plenty of old-fashioned metal: "Call To Arms" and "Warriors Of The World United" are two particular tracks that rock and met my expectations of what I though Manowar would sound like.

However, the oddest inclusion is "An American Trilogy" which I believe was made popular by Elvis. But a second listen reveals that the lyrics fit right in with the theme of the disc which is fighting for what you believe it or die trying. Even after listening to the entire CD for a second time I still get the sense that Manowar were affected by the events of 9/11, but then again the band's overall approach and lyrical themes on "Warriors Of The World" may not differ too much from what they've covered in the past.

While Manowar's "Warriors Of The World" hasn't converted me to fandom, I'll admit that I did enjoy the disc all the same, clichés and all. I won't hesitate to put "Warriors Of The World" in a rotation of discs by bands including Edguy, Sacred Steel, Hammerfall, Witchfyde, and Vyndykator.

"Warriors Of The World" was produced by Manowar. The sound is phenomenal - everything is crystal clear and balanced. 

Manowar is Eric Adams on vocals, Karl Logan on guitars and keyboards, Joey DeMaio on bass and keyboards, and Scott Columbus on drums.

For more information visit http://www.manowar.com


"Hell on Earth Part 1" (Metal Blade; 2001) DVD

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"2 1/2 hours of pure metal debauchery!" raves the press release accompanying this DVD from the undisputed metal kings, Manowar. "Warning," reads the box art, "This program contains drinking, fucking, partying, nudity, explicit lyrics, obscene language, and more sex than most people will  ever dream of. This video is for true metal animal audiences only. Not recommended for losers, wimps, posers and all other assorted assholes." 

So how can you not like this video which - with a wee bit of stretching the truth - lives up to its advertising and its warning.

"Hell on Earth Part 1" is a history of the resurgence of Manowar, a band who have taken the word "metal" and defined it as meaning themselves. 

As promised in the box art, there's tons of really loud rock'n'roll (most of it pretty damn good, too),  nudity, partying and obscene language. The part about "more sex than most people will ever dream of" may be a stretch, but there's some of that here, too. 

You also get a step-by-step history of the band's "Hell on Earth" tour with great live footage, fantastic backstage footage, rare homevideo footage and more. Fans of Manowar are going to eat this video up. Fans of metal are going to eat this video up. Fans of Britney Spears or N'Sync will run screaming from the room with blood shooting out of their ears and eyes like cranberry juice from a surgical tube.

Yeah, it's that good.

MANOWAR is Eric Adams - vocals; Karl Logan - electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards; Scott Columbus - Drums and percussion; Joey DeMaio - 4, 8, string and piccolo bass guitars, keyboards. 

For more information, please visit http://www.manowar.com or http://www.manowar.org.  


"Hell on Stage Live" (Metal Blade; 1999)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

When you look up "heavy metal" in the dictionary, you should see a picture of Manowar's "Hell on Stage Live."

This double live CD, recorded throughout the world during the band's 1998 tour, may be the purest live metal recording in a decade. It's filled with towering, almost pompous, heavy metal epics - themed everywhere from "Guyana: Cult of the Damned" to "Outlaw" to the appropriately titled "Metal Daze." Each song is a masterpiece of black leather/long hair/loud guitar heavy metal. There are guitar solos, screaming vocals, thundering drums. And throughout the CD the crowd can be heard screaming for more, more, more!

It's pure, unadulterated rock'n'roll pomp and circumstance. And - as if the fact that this record rocks so hard weren't enough - it's the bands second live album ... in a row.

The band explains in their liner notes: "'This is very unusual. Why make a second live album? Nobody makes two live albums in a row. Why are you doing this? This has never been done before' Why? Why? Why? This is just some of the shit we heard while making this album. Some fucking assholes even told us not to make this album! For Manowar, those words alone were enough to go ahead and make this record, but there is one reason above all others why we did, and that is you. Every single one of you. Who as we have said before, are THE BLOOD IN OUR VEINS. You wanted these songs recorded live so here they are. Anybody who does not like that - FUCK YOU! So welcome to the album we were told not to make!"

Thank goodness they didn't listen. "Hell on Stage Live" is one killer CD ... make that two killer CDs ... both filled with chest-pounding, unapologetic heavy metal. Even the album and CD covers feature glorious artwork that could adorn the cover of ... you guessed it ... "Heavy Metal" magazine.

For more information, please visit http://www.manowar.com or http://www.manowar.org.  


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright © 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 15 Mar 2017 23:33:43 -0500.