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“Gods Of War” by Manowar

Artist: Manowar
Title: “Gods Of War”
Label: Magic Circle Music
Release Date: 2/26/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 2.5/5

It is time once again to unsheathe your sword and raise it high to glory and honor as the legendary warriors Manowar make their return for the Metal legions everywhere. Their latest album is entitled “Gods Of War” and is a concept record and follows the themes of Odin and Norse legends. It sounds pretty interesting when you think about it since Norse Folklore is so rich and detailed to read about but before I had my own copy I was seeing a lot of mixed press about the album and much of it was leaning on the negative side. Since I had been a fan of the band from way back in the early days I was wondering how such a thing would be possible. It was only after a couple of spins on the changer that I was able to assess where those who found disappointment were actually coming from. The album begins with the pre-requisite symphonic and sweeping opener that Manowar had been employing in recent years, but unlike the band Rhapsody Of Fire, who seem much more adept at Film Score Metal, this opener is simply a ponderous listen. On completion it does not even lead you to a song but to three or four minutes of dialogue that instead of making you eager to know the tale makes you want to skip right to the music. By the time the album hits “King Of Kings” you would expect a thunderous exploding tune but instead find one that is a lot slower than it should have been and while it has a cool chorus about “Gods of Thunder with man and beast being torn asunder” it is not as much a Metal tune as I would have liked to hear. The song gets to the two minute part and more dialogue is introduced right in the middle and that is a mood killer if you asked me. I did like the vocal play during the acapella “Army Of The Dead” and the pounding drive of “Sleipnir”, a song about the legendary eight-legged steed of Odin, but between them is yet more dialogue and commentary and it was starting to make me wonder what the hell I was listening to. I took this as the band trying too hard to tell the tale as opposed to letting the music bring us deeper into the Nordic myths that they were singing about. Eric Adams no longer shrieks as much as he used to so its easy to follow along with the lyrics, so having long comments everywhere you turn seemed a bit of a waste of valuable music space. “Blood Brothers” is pretty much the ballad on the release and sings of camaraderie and allegiance and is very well done, but the up and down nature of the recording really loses momentum at almost every turn. There are no peaks to rise to and instead only smaller hills. The performances of Adams, DeMaio, Columbus and Logan are tight and together despite all of these reservations.
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