Thursday, February 4, 2010

Initial Impressions: Manowar: Kings of Metal

"Other bands play
Manowar kills"
-Manowar "Kings of Metal"

Ah, Manowar. The ultimate stereotypical metal band. Every heavy metal cliche you can think of, applies directly to Manowar. Cheesy, macho lyrics? Check. Ridiculous stage outfits? Check. Loud volume? Check. Seething hatred of metal poseurs? Check. It's all here and more. Manowar may be the most over-the-top act in metal. They can also write some damn catchy music.

The music is traditional American-style power metal. It definitely has the feel of 1980's metal to it. It's loud, raucous, and powerful. The riffs are heavy, the drums heavier, and the guitar solos are blazing. Vocalist Eric Adams has a powerful voice. Bassist Joey DeMaio is probably the most gifted musician in the band, as evidenced by his rendition of "Flight of the Bumblebee" in the track "Sting of the Bumblebee". It's not easy to play that song on the bass. DeMaio is also the principal songwriter of the group.

The songs on here range from the somber "Heart of Steel", to the frenetic "Wheels of Fire", to the raunchy "Pleasure Slave", to the epic "Blood of the Kings". Sure, the lyrics are a little cheesy, especially on the title track. But this album is a blast from start to finish.

I was not overly familiar with Manowar. I picked this up in the ongoing effort to explore 1980's metal and this seemed like a good band to check out. Manowar is loved ironically by a lot of metal fans, but it is clear that they are a talented and worthy band, they're just a little silly.

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