Sound: This is the album that started it all. Before they became the loudest band in the world, toured the world and started their own metal festival and DVD series, this New York band. This album features Donnie Hamzik on drums, who was not long after replaced by Scott Colombus to create the classic line-up of Eric Adams, Ross the Boss, Joey DeMaio and Scott Columbus. Donnie seems to play with more groove and swing than the later drummers. This is a great sounding album, very well produced and engineered. In fact it is probably the best sounding of all their early material up until Fighting The World.
The first half of this album is quite different to the second. The first half - Side A on the vinyl - is more about rocking out, riding fast and living free. The second half features more "epic" style songs that explore the medieval/fantasy themes common to bands like Rainbow, or to the power metal bands that were to follow. // 9
Lyrics: Eric Adams is easily the most accomplished singer in this style of music, and one of the most accomplished of all time. He has a superb range, able to sing above a tenor C in full voice, and to scream even higher. He packs such power to his voice, and conveys so much emotion. He, more than any other singer, has a unshakeable degree of certainty and conviction with everything he says.
The lyrics would seem cheesy if attempted by most other bands. When manowar do them they're simply perfect. I kinda prefer the lyrics on the first half - all about being young, living fast. The fantasy songs are flawless though. // 10
Overall Impression: There's just no getting around the fact that Manowar are essential listening for any Rock or Metal fan. And this, their first album, is one of the best the band ever did. Ross the Boss's playing on this is just incredible - the leads fast and kinetic, yet also bluesy, greasy and loose when they need to be. He is not some straitjacketed shredder. And the band just GROOVES so hard, something that is lacking in a lot of later metal. This disc would serve well as an introduction to the band, although Kings of Metal and Fighting the World are also great starting points. // 9