Manowar – Louder Than Hell

December 7, 2012 in Kylie's Classic Corner, Reviews by Kylie

Manowar
Louder Than Hell
1996

Ok, so it seems I need to redeem myself after burning a bridge (or five) behind me after panning Manowar’s latest release, The Lord Of Steel. Well, there are some very good Manowar albums, and this is definitely their most consistently good release.

“Return Of The Warlord” kicks things off with a classic mid-tempo fist-pumper. It’s your typical Manowar “we’re freakin’ awesome” lyrics (although I cringe a bit at the “…we’re here tonight to kick some goddamned ass” line), but still a great riff set. Great way to open an album.

“Brothers Of Metal” is nowhere as good as Triumph Of Steel‘s “Metal Warriors;” it comes off lyrically as a power ballad, but musically, a slow/mid-tempo rocker, and it’s a bit disjointed in places. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that they’ve done this exact song about a dozen times, and far better each time.

“Kylie, I thought you said this was good!”

Hey, I don’t lie, because this is where the album really kicks off. “The Gods Made Heavy Metal” is quite simply the best ode to metal that Manowar or anyone else not willing to do a photoshoot wearing furry loincloths and swords has written. Sure, it’s their “Breaking The Law” (in that it’s a simple, catchy, singalong song), but it just works! Ok, the ending is a bit overdone, but hey, it’s meant to be played live…although in my non-professional opinion, this should close the album (as it usually closes their live sets).

“Courage” is a fairly good Manowar ballad. A bit less triumphant than “Heart Of Steel” (the standard by which all metal ballads shall forever be judged by yours truly) or uplifting as “Master Of The Wind,” but still very well done. For their career (like “Brothers Of Metal”), it’s a bit redundant, but it really works on this album, particularly as a transition to “Number 1.”

Yup, another “no, seriously guys, we’re freakin’ awesome!” song, but hey, when Joey writes a good riff, he writes a damn good riff. “Outlaw” is a blast of explosive speed metal in the vein of “Wheels Of Fire,” and hey, just like Judas Priest, they can’t go wrong when they max out the metronome and just let it rip! “King” is another great mid-tempo rocker.

“Today Is A Good Day To Die” and “My Spirit Lives On” form one single 12 minute ambient instrumental/solo wankery piece that is actually quite enjoyable. It’s not just Joey shredding on his bass (“Black Arrows,” “Thunderpick”)…there’s actually rhythm and melody to be had. And it all gives way to “The Power.” Yes, quite possibly my favorite Manowar song not on Triumph Of Steel. Everything about the song just works. Great riffs, a killer bass/guitar harmony section, and Eric Adams is at his most *ahem* powerful.

So there you have it, Manowar finally managed to pull together just under an hour of no skip-worthy music on one album! This and the previous Triumph Of Steel make up the “power metal” Manowar albums, and it’s really where Joey should be focusing his efforts (and I happen to enjoy Gods Of War!). Even if you’re not into American power metal, this is actually more along the lines of early Hammerfall than anything.

 Kylie’s rating: 4.25 out of 5