Friday, February 14, 2014

Manowar - Kings of Metal MMXIV

So Manowar has returned with their re-recorded version of their 1988 album Kings of Metal. Manowar have always been a strange bunch to me with their over the top "true metal" image. Most of their classic albums have had some truly killer tracks with a bunch of filler. In all honesty, the band has not done anything even remotely interesting since 2002 with Warriors of the World and even then only 60% of the album was even metal. Kings of Metal is actually one of my favorites by them and I bought the original when it came out so I was interested in hearing this. Well folks, if you thought that Lord of Steel was the death of the band, this release is the nail in the coffin.

The track list is a bit different on this album than on the original. They changed some of the song titles as you'll see (with all of the song titles having MMXIV in them). The album start's off with one of Manowar's greatest songs ever, "Hail and Kill." This song originally had the biggest balls of any Manowar song ever done. It defined metal. From the first note of the re-recording it's apparent that it's tuned down and slower. Eric Adams sounds okay but far from his glory days and it's apparent that it's tuned down for one reason...he can't hit the notes anymore. His screams are not as ballsy or as clear as in his prime and they sound forced. The production stands out as extremely slick with absolutely no balls at all. We can't blame that on the new millennium with all digital production since this album was originally was recorded in an all digital format. It actually sounds like Manowar does "Dad rock." It's like it was recorded on a cheap pro-tools rig on a shitty budget.

The disappointments keep coming as the remainder of the album is more of the same. "Kings of Metal", "THE Heart of Steel", "ON (wtf?) Wheels of Fire", and " THE Blood of the Kings",  the other ballsy songs on the album, have been brutally castrated by the production and the stale recording. And what the fuck is up with putting "The" in front of the titles of the songs?  What would they do if any other band would have butchered these songs like this? Joey DeMaio would have called them out! Why would they do this to their own songs? And don't get me started on " THE Sting of the Bumblebee." There's actually a metronome beeping on it! It's Joey being even more pompous than ever with him actually advertising his bass solo being 300bpm. So what!! It's sad and embarrassing.  Even songs like "A Warriors Prayer" and "THY (lol) Crown and THY Ring" are worse and more cheesy than the originals.

Manowar have been going down this road for a while now. Each time they announce a release, I get my hopes up that they may at least try and recapture a little of their former glory. They've never been the most consistent band in metal but recently they have not done anything worth listening to. Now it seems that it is time for them to hang up their instruments and call it a day. They should have gone out on somewhat of a high note with "Warriors of the World". Their over the top true metal image used to be their "schtick" but now it's just embarrassing. Maybe they should just be like Kiss and do "Farewell Tours" every few years and only play their "classics." Anything is better than this.


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