Manowar – The Lord Of Steel
The Lord Of Steel
I’m going to start this by saying that I love Manowar. They’re my favorite live band that doesn’t have a 20′ tall zombie walk out on stage. That said, the vast majority of their back catalog is very hit-or-miss; every song is either a full-fledged anthemic anthem or crap. They have no middle ground, similar to a baseball player that either hits it out of the park or strikes out. And just like said baseball player, they strike out 150 times to hit 40 homers. The Lord Of Steel is Manowar in a serious oh-fer slump…
“The Lord Of Steel” opens up with a great riff, and sure enough, it’s a home run of a metal anthem. Eric Adams rips it up like very few vocalists can (he’s the highlight of the album). It’s hard to find a bad Manowar song when they go for the speed metal vibe, and Joey DeMaio doesn’t disappoint here. The lyrics are actually tolerable, too, unlike the follow-up, “Manowarriors.”
Yes, Manowar just released a song about how awesome they are and dedicated it to their fans. Yes, I’m shocked. In the way that I’d be shocked if Iron Maiden put Eddie on the cover of their next album. Musically, it’s a winner, but if you understand English at a second grade level, you’ll probably be ashamed to speak the same language. And unlike a lot of non-English bands that have some heavy Engrish lyrics (early Sonata Arctica, I’m looking at you…), Joey can’t use the “English isn’t my first language!” excuse.
The next four songs are all downhill from there. Joey’s bass is way too distorted and way too prominent in the mix for its own good (I know Joey is always high in the mix, but this is just ridiculous). Unless you’re in a funk or hip-hop group, the bass should never overpower the guitars! “Born In A Grave” is the perfect example of how bad this album is. The lyrics are awful and you can’t hear the guitars at all outside of the solo (and even then, a guitar solo shouldn’t be in the middle of the mix!).
“Expendable” and “Annihilation” are the only other even good songs on this album (they remind me a bit of “Warriors Of The World United” from Warriors Of The World, as great mid-tempo Manowar songs). The vast majority of the album is almost unlistenable due to the combination of horrible mixing and mediocre songwriting (and a bad production call coming from a fan of lo-fi NWOBHM is saying something). “El Gringo” wouldn’t be bad if the lyrics didn’t make “Metal Warriors” from The Triumph Of Steel read like Shakespeare.
If you are a Manowar fan, remove “Nessun Dorma” from Warriors Of The World, then crank up the bass so it sounds like crap, and you have The Lord Of Steel. 4 good songs (and only one is actually great), and the entire middle of the album is awful. The good part is that there is nothing as abysmal as “An American Trilogy”, the bad is that “Hail, Kill, And Die” is the polar opposite of “Hail And Kill” as far as quality goes. Sequel songs are a deplorable enough concept, and this is taking it from X2: X-Men United to X-Men: The Last Stand levels of defiling.
In conclusion, there isn’t anything that can rival “Return Of The Warlord”, “The Power Of Thy Sword”, or “Fight Until We Die” levels of awesomeness, and even “The Lord Of Steel” would simply be a lost filler track on a Louder Than Hell. Typical of Manowar, though, to only have a few fleeting moments of greatness for an entire release. Hey, at least they didn’t release it as an “exclusive” single in sixteen languages. Maybe they replaced the sign of the hammer with the sign of the rubber mallet…
Kylie’s rating: 1.75 out of 5