Archive for Manowar

Classic Album Review – Saxon “Rock the Nations” 1986

Posted in Album Reviews, FourFiveSix with tags , , , , , , , on July 16, 2012 by Lightning Slim

  The New Wave of British Heavy Metal was always more of an umbrella than a straitjacket, with few in-scene penalties for exploring a variety of rock-based sounds. I like to think that it was in this ecumenical NWOBHM spirit that Saxon approached Rock the Nations, a record that someone in a more cynical mood might call 50 percent direct response to Defenders of the Faith and Pyromania, with another half dedicated to putting out some feelers towards the lucrative, burgeoning LA rock scene of the time.

The album roars out of the gate with the title track, full of Defenders-style bombast (and similar ridiculous drum recording), and keeps the ball rolling with rapid-fire historical number “Battle Cry”, a tale of the Battle of Culloden they can claim was theirs way before Braveheart was cool. The first half of the record also contains strong no-nonsense numbers “Waiting for the Night” and “We Came Here to Rock”.

And then things get a bit weird. “You Ain’t No Angel” contains a level of leering lechery unsustainable by anyone but Aerosmith, “Running Hot” is merely forgettable, and the record ends with two ballads, one of the “power” variety and one less so. Stuffed in there as well is the questionable curio “Party Till You Puke”, a Quiet Riot type number with piano by none other than Elton John!*

So yeah, that happened. Rock the Nations is half of a solid record, with a bit of attempted ocean-crossing showing through the cracks. 5 out of 10

The album has definitely made an impression on some, particularly Manowar. I’m not sure what their opinion of its sonic attributes might be, but they did steal the entire cover concept 20 years later:

*If you want to see where Elton’s head was at in this period, have a look here. As for the song itself, it’s harmless fun, and EJ gives it his all. It’s private theory of mine that it was playing in the room where Andrew WK was born.

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Album Review – Manowar “Gods of War” 2007

Posted in Album Reviews, Zero to Three with tags , , , , on January 13, 2010 by Lightning Slim

  In my last Deals and Steals I triumphantly declared that I had purchased this much-ballyhooed and expensive record for seven bucks. I’d like about six of them back. Why didn’t anyone tell me?

I’ll get this out of the way right now: I love Manowar. I love all the crazy shit they do, I was the first kid on the block to have a (cassette) copy of Kings of Metal. I don’t even care about the outfits on the cover of Into Glory Ride.

But I’m pissed about this one, and I’m going to tell you all about it, track by track:

1. Six minute keyboard into.

2. Two-plus minutes of narration. We’re up to about nine minutes before any members of Manowar play a guitar or drums or sing.

3. Actual Manowar song; not bad.

4. Two minute vocal solo/choral song; not good.

5. Song, cut and pasted from last album.

6. Good Manowar song!

7. Cheesy ballad. Manowar’s good at these but you’ve heard it before.

8. Four minutes of keyboards.

9. Four more minutes of narration.

10. Okay song. It’s six minutes long because there’s another 90 seconds of narration hiding inside it.

11. Narrative story. I can’t dis this, as it’s dedicated to the man himself, Arthur Pendragon Wiltshire.

12. Lengthy slow song.

13. Reprise of choral song.

14. Long but okay song.

15. Lengthy slow song.

16. Bonus track – better than anything else here. If you want to hear it, play Brutal Legend instead of buying this.

Since the entire booklet is in Viking runes, I went online to get the official translation. I now wish I hadn’t – it contains a poorly spelled fourth-grade lesson in Norse mythology. I’m aware that the whole thing is meant to have a Wagnerian flavour, but it’s disingenuous to label this with the main brand when it’s more like a classical side project. If you call yourself the loudest band the in the world, true metal warriors, etc. it’s not a great idea to release an album well over an hour long in which all four of you pick up your instruments and play together for about 20 minutes. This record has more filler on one disc than Nostradamus has on two. You can fit Sign of the Hammer into this twice over, and Reign in Blood almost three times. 

Imagine me shrieking “Disappointiiiiiiing!” over a lick from an ’80s keyboard set on Orchestra. 2 out of 10

Deals and Steals: Industrial Backfill

Posted in Deals & Steals with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2010 by Lightning Slim

My Second Spin order just came in, and I wanted to share some of the awesome. The theme of this one seems to be me filling in my industrial collection, with three records each from Noise Unit and Chemlab. Real drummers lose the war against the  machines today! So here’s what I got, in order of bargainity:

Manowar – Gods of War $7.19. ’nuff said about the record, and it’s so damned expensive new.

Dimmu Borgir – In Sorte Diaboli $7.19. See above.

Overkill – Necroshine $5.59. Not their best effort, but Overkill is close to my heart, via my denim vest.

Noise Unit – Voyeur $6.39, Drill $5.59 and Decoder $6.39. I’m a total junkie for anything Leeb/Fulber, so even the fact that I know Decoder is boring and I’ve never even heard of Voyeur didn’t stop me.

Chemlab – East Side Militia $1.59, Suture $3.90 and Oxidizer $6.39. Killer price on the first one (Mortal Kombat, anyone?) the second is a remix record containing the entire 10 Ton Pressure EP and the third is one Jared put out after anyone stopped caring. I’ll be reviewing that one, as it’s a new surprise to me.

It’s a tie for my favourite deal of the bunch:

Godflesh – In All Languages $6.39. A double CD with the first being a remastered career retrospective and the second some rarities. Hard to find now (typical Earache). Great stuff from one of the heaviest bands in the world. 

Skrew – Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame $1.50. Is it good? Kind of! Is it worth a buck fitty? Definitely! The argument can be made that Skrew’s three-guitar layering echoes the big noise made by Godflesh, in a southern-fried Summer of Hate way. Who are we kidding? No industrial metal without them – Godflesh FTW!

All prices $US and I paid the big donut for shipping this time around. Online coupons, I lurve you!

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