Eric Adams: Vocals; Joey DeMaio: 4 String, 8 String, Picollo Bass Guitars & Keyboards; Karl Logan: Guitars & Keyboards; Scott Columbus: Drums & Percussion.
esides the classics musically describing the gloriously epic, historical battles of yore, as well as complimentary films attempting to replicate the spectacles, Manowar manages to channel the essence of the Warrior spirit with these magnificently potent cantibles of inspirational Metal hymns of Might. It is almost as if warriors have reincarnated, and/or time-traveled, learned to play instruments, to recount the tales of the dark ages which were fought for King & Country, pride, glory, and prestige, where 'survival of the fittest' is taken to its most literal and brutal sense. It is as if the principles within the pages of Might Is Right by Ragnar Redbeard were made into a Metal compendium, combined with Sword & Sorcery themes, as well as a Wagnerian influence can be detected, thus utilizing perhaps the most extreme genre of music to sonically express the essence thereof.
Through their evolution as musicians, Manowar retains that mighty collective persona, always presenting an uncompromisingly optimum musical, aesthetic, and lyrical experience. While other bands have come and gone, and otherwise devolve, water-down, and weaken, Manowar preserve and strengthen the force of Heavy Metal, as an unbreakable steel backbone through the decades. Clad in leather, spikes, lion's manes, and muscular physiques, everything about Manowar speaks of Power. Simply put, Manowar personify Heavy Metal in all aspects.
The archetypal Conan-like character chosen as the representational icon is a great warrior whose face is always shadowed, and from which gaze glowing eyes, radiating the strength of life and victory. Which leaves for the expressive possibility that those who resonate with this form can become its embodiment. Those who are Martial Artists and soldiers will be able to relate to much of this on a deeper level than most, which can prove to be quite an emotional roller coaster at times.
Turn on the time machine, and prepare to be taken into realms of arcane glorious exploits where Might is Right, ages of war gods, the weak are trodden under hoof and boot, and only the strongest survive...
I. Wheels Of Fire.
To the rumbling sounds of a thunderous engine, or "Iron Horse", as it were, followed by an explosively fierce launch into the album, Wheels of Fire leaves burning trails, threatening to immolate any who would dare stand in the path of True Metal.
II. Kings Of Metal.
The War Machine rumbles forth, conquering city after city, whose warriors in each province rise up in these veritable concert hall rallies.
Considered the "loudest band in the world", it is interesting to note that on one occasion, a club ceiling literally began to crack as the walls trembled to the massive custom speakers, which is one of the reasons why they prefer to primarily play outdoor events. Besides that designation, other credits include:
The first metal band to include sword & sorcery imagery in both their lyrics and on their album covers.
The only band ever to record with Orson Welles.
Among the first metal bands to record with an orchestra.
The first band to design and build their own speaker cabinets and now their own guitars as well.
The first metal band to record in Dolby 5.1 and be the spokespersons for SACD (Super Audio Compact Disc).
The loudest band in the world (a record they have broken on three separate occasions).
III. Heart Of Steel.
Ballad: A bitter-sweet reflection of the Mighty-Minded, born with an unconquerable quintessence, where there is no retreat, for there must be no defeat.
IV. Sting Of The Bumblebee.
Instrumental: This bass guitar rendition of 'Flight of The Bumblebee' by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, provides an amazingly passionate and furious performance basically unheard of until now, taking the bass guitar into incredible feats. The Four-String battle axe wielded by Joey DeMaio, strikes heavy with expert precision, providing an unforgettable listening experience.
V. The Crown And The Ring (Lament Of The Kings).
"High and Mighty, alone we are Kings... Whirlwinds of Fire we ride... Providence brought us the Crown and The Ring... Covered with blood and Our Pride..."
So sings a chorus of warriors in-between melancholy observations of the harsh realities of a man o' war.
VI. Kingdom Come.
Looking forward to ultimate rulership, with a prognostication of new Kings. One can really hear the vocal talents of Eric Adams here, who sounds like an eagle descending upon its prey.
VII. Pleasure Slave.
A favorite. Inclusive in the spoils of war, is that of the pleasures of the flesh with beautiful women - the natural indulgence in lust. A Dominant / Submissive dynamic underlies this song - The Master and His willing slave/s...
VIII. Hail And Kill.
An seemingly inspirational war call to rouse the troops, motivating towards a victorious mindset to conquer and dominate the enemy.
IX. The Warrior's Prayer.
"Gods Of War I Call You... My Sword Is By My Side... I Seek A Life Of Honor, Free From All False Pride... I Will Crack The Whip With A Bold And Mighty Hail... Cover Me With Death If I Should Ever Fail... Glory, Majesty, Unity... Hail Hail Hail"
Narration: A young boy asks his grandfather to regale him with war stories from his youth, which he does, recounting a spectacle of epic splendor, combined with exquisite sounds from the battle. A superb visualization.
Of note, The Four Riders from the corners of the earth, each bearing a different weapon who lead the armies of the world...
X. Blood Of The Kings.
...'Til the blood on your sword is the blood of a king!"
Likened Ragnarok, the warriors are admonished to rage forth and slay the opponents' kings for a new order. A New Age of Might and Magic!
...And so The Scroll is closed for now. Replenish your steed, revitalize your strength, feast and "Lay your swords in wet", until the next quest, when 'The Metal Kings' return for another grand adventure!
To Be Continued...
* Malefick Musick: Manowar.