In the beginning, Joey DeMaio was working as a bass/pyro tech for Black Sabbath. When Sabbath played a show at Newcastle City Hall in England, he hooked up with original Manowar guitarist Ross The Boss, who at the time was playing for Shakin Street, a Sabbath support band. As both shared an all-consuming love for in-your-face-metal, it was not long before they struck on the idea of Manowar. Later, having recruited the ultimate voice of heavy metal, Eric Adams (and drummer Donny Hamzik), Manowar recorded their debut album, Battle Hymns.
Manowar - Battle Hymns (Liberty) 1982
This album opens with the roar of a motorcycle, a Harley no doubt. How appropriate is that?! Manowar cram more heavy metal clichés into this one album than most bands could have done in a career. But isn't that what Manowar is all about? Die posers! One of the albums best tracks "Death Tone" has been covered by Overkill on their "Coverkill" album. Orson Wells provides a dramatic narration in the middle of "Dark Avenger". And bassist Joey DeMayo shows off his bass playing ability on a version of the William Tell Overture, "William's Tale". Overall, a good, if not great, Manowar disc.
Hail! All ye soldiers of metal, pick up thy swords and the metal conquest shall continue with disc number two for our conquering heroes of the heavy metal wars. However, thy reviewer is about to commit blasphemy against the most excellent Manowar because for some reason Manowar's second disc never knocked me over like 'Battle Hymns' or 'Hail to England' and is, in my opinion, not one of the band's finest outputs. The disc is perhaps a transition between two of the band's best albums. 'Battle Hymns' was of a much more melodic nature, while 'Hail to England' was much heavier with touches of what was then becoming known as thrash. Unlike 'Into the Glory Ride' both 'Battle Hymns' and 'Hail to England' were more focused and had hooks that kept the masses coming back for more. Still, Manowar's sophomore release was far from bad, but in comparison, it is not my favorite either. I find it somewhat amusing that there are three songs in a row containing the word 'of'.
Manowar - Hail To England (Metal Blade) 1984
1. "Blood of My
"May each note I now play be a black arrow of death to all those who play false metal! Aaaahhhhhh!" So goes the intro to the frantic bass solo titled "Black Arrows." Do I need to say anymore? Manowar are serious, if not freaking hilarious!
"Hail to England" was titled as a sort of tribute to Manowar's European fan base, of which they still have a huge audience 20 years later. "Hail to England" is my sentimental favorite, probably because it was my first Manowar album back in 1984, and it also came at a time in my life when I was in living in heavy metal heaven. I was in high school at the time and there was so much great metal being released. "Hail to England" is over-the-top in every way imaginable, filled with heavy metal excess, brimming over with heavy metal clichés. Even the cover screamed HEAVY METAL! "Blood of Enemies", "Each Dawn I Die", "Kill With Power" and the title track comprised side on of the glorious vinyl release. As such, I wore the grooves off this side of the album. Side 2 had the outrageous bass instrumental that starts with Manowar's proclamation of metal supremacy, as stated above. "Bridge of Death" was their epic song, that is unfortunately marred by lyrics that sound like something off of a Venom album. "Drink my blood, as I drink yours, impale me on the horns of death, cut off my head, release all my evil, Lucifer is king, Praise Satan." Despite this song, I find the first six songs to be some of the band's finest, making "Hail to England" a metal essential.
Manowar - Sign of the Hammer (Virgin/Holland) 1984
1. "All Men Play On
If album opener "All Men Play on 10" doesn't sum up this album, then I am at a loss for words. "Sign of the Hammer" is probably one of Manowar's more obscure albums, but nonetheless rocks hard. Manowar is, well, Manowar. Love 'em or hate 'em they are a metal force to be reckoned with. "Sign of the Hammer" steamrolling forward destroying all poseur who might get in the way. Tracks like the aforementioned opener, "Thor" and title track "Sign of the Hammer" all being excellent Manowar metal tracks. "Thunderpick" is a three minute bass assault against the ears. Lyrics are typical of the Manowar 'kill and conquer" philosophy, with the exception of "Gyana" a track about the atrocoties committed by cult leader Jim Jones. Overall, another Manowar metal massacre that does not disappoint.
Manowar - Fighting the World (Atco) 1987
1."Fighting the World"
The band who proclaims death to all posers puts out an overtly commercial, MTV breakthrough song in "Blow Your Speakers." Not really a bad album, but not their best either. "Drums of Doom" is a cannon, I mean drum solo.
Manowar - Kings of Metal (Atlantic) 1988
1."Wheels of Fire"
Kings of metal? Absolutely. Manowar still proclaiming death to the posers! "Wheels of Fire," "Blood of the Kings," and the title track all ripping holes through my Bose speakers. If that doesn't do it for you, the incredible bass solo "Sting of the Bumblebee" should leave you in a state of awe! Of course, that is assuming that you can deal with the Manowar ethic and lyrics, which in general are pretty insipid. Of course, nobody expects thought provoking lyrics from Manowar. What we expect is fast and loud, headbanging heavy metal, and that is what Manowar delivers. Death to false metal! Manowar kills!
Manowar - The Triumph of Steel (Atlantic) 1992
1. "Achilles, Agony
and Ecstasy in Eight Parts" (28:37)
This album is basically "Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts" with a few extra songs thrown in for good measure. The 28 minute epic song is actually very interesting, although the pummeling drum solo gets a bit boring in the middle. The song does contain a very cool bass solo! No Manowar album would be complete without at least one DEATH TO POSERS song, and this album is no exception with "Metal Warriors." Another great Manowar cover, this one folding out into a full poster.
"Wearing leather on a horse of steel I ride!" "If you like metal your my friend," and those are just two lines from the first song. Sound familiar? Well at least you can't accuse Manowar of changing with the trends. Still, this is a decent CD, one of their better discs. "Outlaw" is a fast thrash tune, "Courage" is a power ballad and what would a Manowar album be without a guitar solo ("My Spirit Live On")? Another killer cover that folds out into a poster.
Manowar - Hell on Wheels - Live (Universal Music) 1997
Hail and kill! All posers must die! Manowar are live! After 15 years as a band Manowar finally decide to unleash their fiece live album on the world. This disc is actually made up of various cuts from shows all over the world, but thanks to some studio magic, the songs blend into each other perfectly and comes off as "one show." The setlist is taken from each of their many studio albums, the sound quality is excellent and the overall vibe is heavy as metal should be. In other words, this CD is an excellent testimony to Manowar's powerful live show. There are some minor complaints though. The crowd is almost non-existant in the mix so at times it doesn't even sound live, with the exception of the times the band is not actually playing. For instance, in "Kill With Power" the band stops and allows the crowd to chant "Die! Die!" in response to Eric Adams screaming "Kill with power!" This also happens in tracks like "Spirit Horse of the Cherokee" and several other tracks. Another small complaint is that most of the in-between song banter is cut out and stuck in one track titled "Warriors of the World". Personally, I would have prefered to have it left in between the tracks rather than all strung together in one track. That is not to say there isn't plenty of other elements that serve up that live feel. Just take a listen to the noisy ending of "Black Wind Fire and Steel" or the feedback driven guitar solo in "Kill With Power". Now that's live ! That's heavy metal!
Manowar - The Dawn of Battle (Nuclear Blast) 2002
1. "The Dawn Of Battle"
I am not a big collector
of singles by most bands, but this single is worth the $2.99 I paid for it.
The only reason for owning these kind of collector's discs are are for the exclusive
material on them. This CD single has 2 tracks that are exclusive to it, and
both are actually better than some of the material on the actual album. "The
Dawn Of Battle" is a fast and furious songer that is almost thrash. It is, without
a doubt, one of the better Manowar songs. I can't understand how this didn't
make it on the "Warriors of the World" CD. "I Believe" is a slower, doomy track
that also works quite well. "Call to Arms", likewise, is a great track and one
of the heavier tracks off "Warriors of the World."
Manowar - Warriors of the World (Metal Blade) 2002
1. "Call to Arms"
'Warriors of the World' is a disappointing Manowar release. While the album starts off strong with all guns blazing, cliché riddled, Manowar metal, it doesn't stay that way. "Nessun Dorma" an orchestrated opera song dedicated to Eric's mother and the following short intro and power ballad "Valhalla/Swords in the Wind" are disappointing. "The Fight For Freedom" while having the nobelist of intentions is a ballad as well. This track starts off as a mellow piano led number before building into a slightly heavier power ballad. Of the mellower moments, this is probably my favorite track. This song is dedicated to those lost in the September 11, 2001 attacks in the U.S.. "An American Trilogy", in like manner, is mellow. While this song does has it's heavier moments, it is pretty much a ballad as well. This song is a patriotic play on "Glory, Glory Hallelujah". "The March" is yet another mellow track, this being and orchestrated instrumental. This is Manowar? As opener "Call to Arms" states "we came here for metal" not for operatic, mellow ballads. Fortunately, while there is far to much mellow balladry, the disc picks up at "Warriors of the World United" until the end of the disc which finishes with a bang. "Fight Until We Die" is a fast, thrash number with Eric Adams wailing over the top. It's a shame there is so much fluff to wade through to get to the real heavy metal songs.
Manowar - The Sons of Odin (Immortal edition) (Magic Circle Music) 2006
DISC 1 (CD)
DISC 2 (DVD)
"The Sons Of Odin," is an epic EP that is basically a teaser for the full length album "Gods of War". "The Ascension" and "King of Kings" are the featured live tracks on this EP, and they sound excellent. "Ascension" is essentially the intro for the next song, "King of Kings". The production on these live tracks are quite good and capture that raw live energy, although the bass guitar does seem a bit out front. However, no one listens to Manowar for pristine production proporties. We listen to Manowar for real metal with traditional riffing, wailing guitar solos and over-the-top vocals. "King of Kings" is just that. Likewise, the title track should please most fans of Manowar's traditional heavy metal sound. The narration in this song is cool, but I had hoped that this narration would be kept to a minimum on the full-length album. (Unfortunately it was not.) The heavy use of orchestration in "Gods of War" may displease some metal fans. I can take it or leave it. Personally, if I want to hear classical music, I'll just listen to classical music. If I want to hear Manowar, I want balls-to-the-wall metal! The "Immortal Edition" of this EP comes with an DVD with more material than I care to go into. The Fan Convention footage was interesting, Not only were there appearances by all the past band members, an arm-wrestling contest, and a Miss Manowar contest, there was also a friggin’ Viking battle reenactment by a 50-member professional Viking organization.
Manowar - Gods of War (Magic Circle Music) 2007
1. "Overture to the
Hymn of the Immortal Warriors" (6:19)
The kings of metal return in 2007 with an epic, concept album that is written around Norse mythology. Unfortunately, despite the "metal" label, the kings have let us down. I thought Warriors of the World was too fluffy, but this album takes the cake. Manowar have actually released an album of instrumental orchestration sounds/spoken word narration peppered with a few metal songs here and there. Seriously! What were they thinking? The theatrics and story become more important than the music, and that is just NOT METAL! For a band that claims they will die for metal, they sure haven't been delivering. A good half of the album is just symphonic instrumentals with either spoken word or choral singing overlaying the symphonies. "God of War" starts off with a six minute symphonic intro to the album. The spoken parts are interesting as it tells the story, but they are a little too long and a little too often. "Glory Majesty Unity" is yet another narrative clocking in at nearly five minutes. My guess would be that nearly 30 minutes of this CD is narrations and orchestral pieces. So, what of the actual metal numbers? Being a longtime Manowar fan, I think the real metal songs on here are pretty darned good. It's just a shame there is so much crap to swim through to get to them. "King of Kings" is a driving metal number with a classic Manowar-style sing-along chorus. "Sleipnir" could very well be the best song on here, despite the fact that it starts with a minute of narration. "Die For Metal" is considered a "bonus track" because it doesn't fit into the album's story, but in fact it is contained on all versions of the album. Despite the title of the song, which sounds like classic Manowar, this is not one of the band's better songs. The production is outstanding with every instrument being crystal clear; the guitars, when they are there, are heavy, the drum sound is powerful and Eric Adams delivers some of his best vocal performances. It's just a shame that the band focused so much on the storyline that the let the music fall by the wayside.
The packaging on this CD is incredible. Wrapped in a stainless steel, embossed slip case is a leather digi with the Manowar logo and album title embossed with a silver foil stamp. The digi itself contains the full length CD, as well as a bonus DVD and the 24-page booklet. Unfortunately the lyrics and credits are impossible to read thanks to the cryptic looking old Rune-alphabet/font they used.