Manowar have really become one of my favourite band’s over the past 6 years. I may have been a bit sceptical when I first heard them, but they have grown and grown in my estimation over the years. I keep a vinyl copy of Kings Of Metal framed on my wall, they’re my 8th most-listened to band of the past 12 years according to LastFM, and I’ll defend them to the death whenever anyone makes fun of them or calls them silly.
Some fans say they haven’t made any good albums since the 80s and I’ll disagree with that all day long. That being said, there is one album I don’t really like – their tenth studio album, 2007’s Gods Of War.
My favourite things about Manowar are usually the fast and hard double-kick filled metal songs or stompy mid-paced grooving songs, and my least favourite bits are the intros/outros, spoken word narrations and indulgent solos. I can also be fifty-fifty on the ballads. I guess it stands to reasons that Gods Of War is my least favourite album, as it is a narration filled concept album that has a lot of intros. Its 16 tracks long, and I would classify a full 6 of those as skippable intros. Even tracks which aren’t intros have partial intros or outros. I mean, strangest of all, the first two tracks are in effect intros. Two in a row, before the album really kicks off. There’s also quite a high ratio of ballads to fast tracks. I have Mars Volta albums that get to the point faster than this!
Its all personal preference of course, but this is definitely my least favourite Manowar record stylistically. Of course, that’s not to say it is devoid of quality. ‘King Of Kings,’ ‘Sleipnir,’ ‘Sons Of Odin’ and ‘Loki God Of Fire’ are all exactly the style of Manowar I love the best, and some of the material outside that style, such as choral sounding ‘Army Of The Dead, Part II’ is quite entertaining. Even then however, I feel they did better versions of this type of material on the albums directly before and after this one.
Tellingly; the song I like the most, ‘Die For Metal’ is a semi-bonus track that sits outside the concept. Musically, it’s a stompy mid-tempo track. Lyrically; Its just typical Manowar fun (‘’From a hall I heard thunder and screams/I walked inside so I could hear/And the guy beside me gave me a beer’’). It doesn’t really fit on the album at all, lyrically, or musically, but it makes it into any Manowar playlist I make.
I would caution against anyone who tells you not to try their post ‘80s output, but maybe don’t make this particular outing your first.