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Manowar - The Final Battle I

The Final Battle I
by Craig Rider at 20 May 2019, 7:17 AM

Metal maniacs, rejoice! I am proud to present to you: MANOWAR; signed via Magic Circle Music, hailing from the United States of America - performing Heavy/Power Metal, on their 3rd EP entitled: "The Final Battle I" (released March 29th, 2019).

Since formation in 1980; the quintet in question have made quite the reputation for themselves in the Metal realm, 1970 saw Joey DeMaio being the bass technician for the Metal inventors: BLACK SABBATH…while playing with David Feinstein's THUNDER; then while on tour with the mighty BLACK SABBATHJoey DeMaio meets Ross The Boss through Ronnie James Dio as they saw one of his first bands named ELVES and thus; the late, and great man recommends the 2 to create MANOWAR (we met on English ground). Not long after this revelation; Joey DeMaio & Ross The Boss begin to make the classic album known as "Battle Hymns", starting a historic landmark in which will last 2 decades of mind-blowing Metal madness. To the catchiness of "Hail To England"; being crowned the "Kings Of Metal", and the blistering "Thunder In The Sky" the band call it a day (or do they?) with "The Final Battle I", which is comprised of a 3 part trilogy set of EPs, and is based on their adventures of the Final Battle World Tour. 4 brand-spanking new songs, ranging at around 19:28; I was more than eager to discover some new, yet rambunctiously thunderous power. …however; being a huge Manowarrior myself, there are a few disappointments in which should be addressed.

Starting off with the orchestral opening of: "March Of The Heroes Into Valhalla", which is simply a glorified, harmonious hymn of an epic introduction, as always in typical MANOWAR fashion… this is but one track of… and I quote: "re-imagines their music in vivid cinematic form". While I am all for a varied selection of creatively diverse instrumentation; this first track showcases 2:39 of just operatic electronica, in symphonic tradition. As epic as it is…it is also their new Live introduction - scrubbing off the old-school one with just the segment: "ladies and gentleman, from the United States Of America… all hail, MANOWAR). All well and good; not as amplified as the next song: "Blood And Steel", conveying boistrously bouncy adrenaline and anthemic complexity – fueled flamboyancy & a battering barrage of frenzied charges in which shatters the spine with meticulous might. Eric Adams as always has incredibly crunchy lungs of profusely robust rawness; pipes that pump with raw vengeance, rough stamina & strong screams of bloodied consistency. The man has such a lyrical flow of finesse; implementing a complex contrast of high-pitched vocals, vehemently ultilizing unique versatility with rhythmically quintessential stability.

It is hard to know who done the drums & guitars; with the recent departure of Donnie Hamzik & Karl Logan, I have tried to dig out OFFICIAL information but I still keep coming back to Anders Johannson(on drums) & E.V. Martel (on guitars). Their new tour lineup; however, I can't be sure if they did the studio lineup too… either way… both execute excelling firepower & expertise, converging a borderline foundation of groovy punchline persistence with rapidly swift nimbleness - showcasing sonically seamless stomps that stampedes with frolicking haste. Disappointingly; "Blood And Steel" is the only track that speeds with mid-tempo, thrashy riffs - still supplying progressively technical musicianship with impressively inventive instrumentation. Speaking of variety; "Sword Of The Highlands" begins with somewhat a tribute, sounding like the theme song to the popular movie The Lord Of The Rings, using flutes & other assorted instruments - making this one atmospherically ambient for greater immersion, an experimental flair of harmonic dexterity. MANOWAR have always had a knack for dominating eardrums with chorus driven melodies; while manifesting high-octane gnarliness that packs with thumping yet organic substance… and anthemic aptitude for good measure.

If you thought those songs packed a punch; wait until you hear "You Shall Die Before I Die", featuring Joey DeMaio on vocals this time and for the first time ever…much more deeper, darker & demonic than previous tracks; transitioned with raspy, guttural growls. Hinting at a differentiate characteristic to the "Into Glory Ride" tune: "Hatred"; both share similarities to the black imaginative, lurking with a statement of immortal intent. Although the main gripe with this one is the repetitive verse with most of the track…while it is cool and the songwriting is memorable, the lyrics of the title caried on for a bit too long for my taste…still brutal, however. Overall; MANOWAR delivered the goods, although it is not a good starting point… many complaints include a silly overcharge of £11.36 on (although that is probably due to Ken Kelly's overpricing of his artwork, which is still not overly worth it just for that…) which is simply not worth it for just 4 songs…when many other bandsrecords are costing around the 9.99 mark…and the Imperial Editions of "Into Glory Ride" & "Hail To England" being £13.98 each…it is all a little bit steep.

Bottom line; I enjoyed "The Final Battle I" for what it was, as a now big fan of the underrated "The Lord Of Steel" and the crushing remakes of "Battle Hymns" & "Kings Of Metal"…after multiple listens, they all took a few spins to appreciate them more so. Either way, MANOWAR certainly outdone themselves yet again, it is definitely worth the time for all old-school fans and newcomers alike. Hail!

Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 10
Originality: 7
Sound Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. March Of The Heroes Into Valhalla
2. Blood And Steel
3. Sword Of The Highlands
4. You Shall Die Before I Die
Eric Adams - Vocals
Joey DeMaio - Bass
Anders Johannson - Drums
E.V. Martel - Guitars
Record Label: Magic Circle Music


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