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Manowar - Gods Of War (CD)

Gods Of War
by David Kaluza at 11 March 2007, 8:59 PM

Buying MANOWAR's new album was nearly something of a sacred moment. After nearly countless months of delay and a never-ending stream of live DVD's it was about time the band came up with a worthwhile piece of music again. So is this it? The true metal CD to pound all other true metal CD's into the ground? The ultimate MANOWAR release which would once and for all show exactly why they lay claim to the title of Kings Of Metal? Or is it yet another pretentious and over-pompous piece of tripe where the REAL highlight was the extensive promotion campaign that actually made us believe that we were buying solid gold?
Pompous and pretentious at least are certainly words that apply to Gods Of War. But, to put an end to the question that has kept MANOWAR fans  from all over the world busy for the past few months, so are 'solid' and 'really enjoyable'. In fact, even although Gods Of War definitely has a few flaws and shortcomings, it is safe to say that this is the band's best and most even effort since The Triump Of Steel (1992).
Given the fact that Gods Of War is a concept album, it isn't really a surprise that it starts off in typical epic fashion with an orchestral intro. Overture To The Hymn Of The Immortal Warriors is the first of many of these, and aside from winning the prize for having the most pathetic song title of 2007 so far, is a decent and atmospheric piece of music, which however does suffer a little from being too long. You might also wonder why on earth it is that MANOWAR is still not using an actual orchestra for these type of recordings and still insist on using keyboards. It takes yet another intro (The Ascension) before we get to the first real song, King Of Kings. As I wrote in my review for Hell On Earth IV two years ago (yes it's really been THAT long) this is a solid up-tempo song. Nothing overly spectacular but it does manage to build a little momentum for what is still to come. Something which the next intro Army Of The Dead, Part I (yup there is also a Part II on the CD, which is pretty much identical and absolutely unnecessary), somewhat manages to break off again. It's nice and atmospheric - but by this time in the recording you're really starting to crave for some actual songs too.
And THAT is something which Sleipnir, Loki God Of Fire and Blood Brothers manage to deliver on. The first two are solid mid-tempo groovers, while the last is a typical MANOWAR ballad, and all three have Eric Adams showing off in a rather spectacular way, proving why exactly he still ranks among the top shouters of the Metal scene. Another couple of interludes in the form of Overture To Odin and The Blood Of Odin manage to break the flow of the album yet again, after which we are treated to what might be the best MANOWAR songs in ages, namely Sons Of Odin, Gods Of War and Odin. These are exactly the kind of epic hymns which fans have been craving, for and also the three tracks which mostly evoke the 'classic sound' of songs like Bridge Of Death or Valhalla. Of course all songs are broken up with another few interludes (including a follow-up to The Warrior's Prayer), before the actual album ends with the decent, yet unspectacular Hymn Of The Immortal Warriors.  There also is a bonus track on various editions of the album in the form of Die For Metal - a song in the tradition of  Metal Warriors and Brothers Of Metal.
Of course there are a handful of complaints as well. Both the guitar and especially the drum sound are way too clinical and are really two issues the band should (but won't, knowing Demaio) work on. Also a number of interludes and spoken word bits could have been dropped. I know that it is almost mandatory for this type of epic, true metal concept album, but we could done with half of them as well. Furthermore you could yabber on and on about MANOWAR using the same old clich?'s and not really breaking any new ground, but then again, isn't that exactly what people have come to expect by now and which has earned the band the undying adoration from their fans?
In the end, it's safe to say that Gods Of War in it's entirety is certainly a very solid CD, with a truly excelling Eric Adams, and again, easily the best MANOWAR release since The Triump Of Steel. It might not change the minds of the people that never cared about the band, but will undoubtedly satisfy the many fans, and after all, that's worth something too. Let's just hope that the follow-up won't take another five years to arrive!

3 Star Rating

Overture The The Hymn Of The Immortal Warriors
The Ascension
King Of Kings
Army Of The Dead, Part I
Loki God Of Fire
Blood Brothers
Overture To Odin
The Blood Of Odin
Sons Of Odin
Glory Majesty Unity
Gods Of War
Army Of The Dead, Part II
Hymn Of The Immortal Warriors
Die For Metal
Eric Adams - Vocals
Joey Demaio - Bass
Carl Logan - Guitars
Scott Columbus - Drums
Record Label: Magic Circle Music


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