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Manowar - The Lord Of Steel

Manowar
The Lord Of Steel
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein / Jorge "The Zarto" Zamudio / Tomer "Tommy-Foxx" Darmon at 21 June 2012, 12:26 PM

STEINMETAL (5/10)

Back to the kingdom of the steel, back to the alleged kings of Metal. In the name of the power of the steel, thunder, lightning, earth, fire and wind, MANOWAR stands for everything that is true. That is the power of Metal for you. For more than a decade, maybe after their "Louder Than Hell" release, MANOWAR have reached the level where no matter the time gap between their albums, those will always be anticipated. Nonetheless, the quality of the power of steel has been tumbling down since "Warriors Of The World United". Now, five years after their last release, "Gods Of War", that didn't exactly sky rocketed, MANOWAR released another war cry with "The Lord Of Steel", also an official welcome back to the band's original drummer, Donnie Hamzik, back on the drums of war. With "The Lord Of Steel" it seemed to me that MANOWAR had a hard time on learning from past mistakes and maybe authenticate their style a bit with something refreshing. But I guess that you can't tell the kings of Metal what to do right? Well maybe one should advice otherwise.

For one thing, MANOWAR, no matter the quality of the material they released on this here album, have been consistent and relentless throughout their career. However, I think that it has come to that point where the cliche's cannot be continued if this band would like to produce something good in this new decade. Once again I was evident to the various versions of motivational Metal lyrics sharing steel, power, and elements of nature and of course it won't work without dying for Metal. As a younger person some of these lines worked on me pretty good, it was actually good to feel that surge of power running like electrical charges. Nevertheless, one needs to grow up and when it comes to the artist's originality, it should be without recreating and molesting the same ideas over and over because it is going to be another boring ride, and not a glory ride.

As far as the music goes, it is quite the same story as the choking lyrics, and that is even more troubling. The early "Gods Of War" album wasn't that of a good release but in comparison to "The Lord Of Steel" it was far more convincing and rather different than the original MANOWAR manner. "The Lord Of Steel" might look like a step backwards to the 80s of "Battle Hymn" or "Into Glory Ride" but the reason for its downfall was its repetitive sense that in this new decade won't work. MANOWAR turned even more basic than before creating futile hymns long heard before with the same kind non-developed riffing, same types of wild solos in the back while the chorus is reoccurring for who knows how many times again. This is a serious matter for a band that is considered as one of Metal's hall of famers. Probably not anymore. In addition, the production that is usually canny turned out like plastic, especially the bass line that sounded like an old Atari game with its heavily fuzzy distortion. Thankfully the vocal line was still formidable.

"The Lord Of Steel" is MANOWAR's proclamation of saying "We did everything we could and now we are just recycling so love us or hate us". It doesn't seem right to me at all. After being a band with such a dramatic sense towards Metal music and its preservation for years, MANOWAR became just another band with a huge lack of genuine ideas and musical attributes. At least the ballad "Righteous Glory" was good along with "El Gringo" and "Manowarriors" even with the low rated lyrics, however, this can't be the direction these guys are headed.


THE ZARTO (3/10)
 
Shit… what a way to start writing, I know, but “Shit” is an expression often used when something horrible happens, and this is the case. MANOWAR has returned with new compositions since 2007, and this makes me wonder: Why in hell did it take so long to make one of the worse things you could hear? I have been a MANOWAR fan since I was a kid, and from the bottom of my heart I had to accept it and tell you my readers, that this album is nothing but worthless, and that is a fact.

True Metal has no honor or glory on this release, it is just a bunch of songs made only for monetary purposes (the way I see it, it also may be bad without purpose). We know that MANOWAR has established a style along the years, and to change that in these days may be a big mistake. But after you will listen to the second track, “Manowarriors”, you will sense the lack of creativity that surrounds the band nowadays. It’s not even close to what they used to do, on the other hand, it’s just like the way I began this review.

There’s not even a single chorus to remember here, not a single riff or note, the drums are almost dead, the bass goes by along the minutes, Adams’s voice is the same, but it is not enough to make it pass as good. The material sounds soulless, like if it was sung just to record it and nothing more; no passion, not that feeling that can make the fans to sing along, not anything. The only song that has something barely good is the single “El Gringo”, lyrically stupid, but has something that catches the attention… at least for a few seconds.

Every great band had step backwards along their careers, this includes MANOWAR. This is not the first time, and surely it won’t be the last, but at least, as a fan, I hope that sometime in the near future they would make a true return. As of now, I’ll have to go back in time in order to listen to what they made that swept me and made me love them: Soul… A True Soul.


TOMMY-FOXX (7/10)

After 10 studio albums they release a new album, five years after the previous, called "The Lord of Steel". A lot of buzz was spread around before the album came out, especially when MANOWAR gave the honors to their loyal fans to be invited to their studio and take a listen in order to be firstly impressed by the new album. Just after a first listening session it was pointed out to me that they came with something new that they haven't done before. A single thing that I noticed was that they dropped aside their symphonic elements like that have been characterized on their recent albums while returning back to their powerful direction like on "Kings If Metal". The formula is the same – Heavy Metal to the bone with no mercy. They sing about power, steel, warriors, pretty much what I felt after listening to these songs. MANOWAR know how to pass the war feeling through their remarkable style.

"The Lord of Steel", the opening track, was the first thing that forced me to pay attention to the exaggerated bass sound of Joey Demaio that seemed to be loaded with fuzz effect. Demaio got a lot of impact on the songs with his unique playing style but when it is all loaded with overdrive it's too much for the ear and to understand what is going on in general, sadly that sound pattern kept on going throughout the album. The song is heavier and faster than what I  have known before. Eric Adams sounded sharper than ever and with so much vocal energy as if  the passing  years didn't affect his voice, very much similar to the energies on MANOWAR’s first albums.

"Born In A Grave" has a chorus that is easy to stick with. The main riff is simple but the more simple it is – the more powerful it gets. "Righteous Glory" is the next track turned out to be in a different maturity level. The song represents a ballad with a bombastic and glory like their sign. The overall studio work, along with other musical elements, can be clearly heard, from the choir to the keyboard work. It might not be "The Crown And The Ring" but the melody of the song will carry you into a magical atmosphere .

"Touch The Sky" is one of the best tracks over here. It has a victorious like chorus, the choir in the background reminded of a pack of knights while justifying the song’s title. "Expendable”, a track with so much aggression especially because of the drum work of Donnie Hamzik that came back to the band after their way took a different turn back in the early 80's. The song is very dynamic, there isn't one dull moment in it, the guitar solo work is amazing and reaches to the top. "El Gringo" is the first single out released from the album. Karl Logan shows his shred guitar work aside to several bluesy licks that were never heard before on previous MANOWAR songs, those were special and interesting sections.

The album has additional good points like the heavy like sound that contributed to the songs and made them more powerful, you can hear it obviously due to the guitar playing. Eric Adams’s singing sounds so professional, very clear and rough in the right places. The weakest points here are that
I didn't find an anthem that will lift me up and sweep me like "Warriors Of The World" or "Brothers Of Metal". Also there is the bass guitar which is too much in the front of the instruments. The addition of the fuzz may gave it more boost but in a rather exaggerated way .

MANOWAR rides on their familiar formula of warriors of Metal and we can't take it out of their hands. They release another militant album that can be exhibited in their lyrics and music altogether. 

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Lord of Steel
2. Manowarriors
3. Born in a Grave
4. Righteous Glory
5. Touch the Sky
6. Black List
7. Expendable
8. El Gringo
9. Annihilation
10. Hail, Kill and Die 
Lineup:
Eric Adams- Vocals
Donnie Hamzik- Drums, Percussion
Karl Logan- Guitars, Keyboards
Joey DeMaio- Bass, Keyboards
Record Label: Magic Circle Music
     


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