Sound: Knights of metal, Arthur's mosh pit is gathering. Such a meeting of the most eminent figures of metal must signal something great. Rejoice, oh kingdom of the metallers, for something great indeed is to occur. Tis a celebration of the kings of metal, Manowar. Why, since their birth a mere thirty-four years ago, they have ruled this unholy kingdom with a powerful grip. They are the loudest of us all, holding the Guinness World Record for loudest concert, and the most indefatigable, holding the record for longest concert. Tonight we celebrate such conquests.
But what is the celebration? And why now?
We celebrate today because the kings, unhallowed be thy names, came out from their palace for the first time in two years. On the steps of the palace, with the whole kingdom in attendance, they unveiled an enhanced version of their most popular edict, "Kings of Metal." The kings wished to honor the accomplishments of those who made it possible to record music on just one scroll. Using this new technology (digital audio production), the kings claim to have bettered their classic collection. In fact, the kings believe that this new offering is so magnificent that it deserves to have Roman numerals: to honor its place in history.
Now, if I can trust you, I can give a fair word on the "psalms" (of course if you promise to keep me from the gallows' pole). To be brutally honest, this new and improved version of the "psalms" is not nearly as glorious as our majesties' previous offering. The new technology has, in this citizen's opinion, led to a decrease in production quality. Of course, given that I had not been conceived when the last offering was unveiled, it is possible some loyal patriots (jingoists) will sorely disagree with me and be right. Still, I'm sure that the changes in the offering are not as pleasing as I am sure our sovereigns, Manowar, intended them to be.
For example, the simple conversion of "Sting of the Bumblebee" from a sonata of bass to one of guitar loses the mighty vibe of the original. And the change of the beginning of "Heart of Steel" from piano driven to orchestra driven is less than ideal, at least to this yeoman's ears. As alluded to before, the production of the offering is of a lesser quality than the original, though one must admit it would be tough to top the original's production in its gracefulness and clarity.
If you are unconsecrated, if you are unaware of the presence of the great Manowar in our kingdom, you will likely enjoy this offering. After all, the original caught our hearts some twenty-six years ago, and allowed Manowar to reign over us peacefully. The original caught our hearts with its searing high vocals and its catchy, distorted, metal guitar riffs. The psalms on that release remind me of another gallant group of knights in our kingdom, Iron Maiden. In fact, if you can picture mixing Iron Maiden with Metallica, then you have a perfect idea of how the album sounds.
Considering that another brave citizen has written a review of this first "Kings of Metal," it serves little purpose to dwell on the original offering for long. As for the new offering, I give a satisfied, yet unamazed salute. // 6
Lyrics: Much to my surprise, the vocals of frontman Eric Adams have not enervated, even though he is in his mid sixties (our king is immortal, though). Adams definitely deserves kudos for remaining at such a level. Even with this credit given, it is hard to highly rate vocals that are an exact copy of those from the original release. // 8
Overall Impression: Please don't have me burned at the stake for this, but I really don't believe this offering is so great as to herald the coming of the messiah. The kings of metal were not innovative enough to make a lasting effect with something that has already been previously released. Of course, this album is sure to please the longstanding patriots. But for a commoner like myself, this album (there, I said it) wasn't worth getting up and going to the square over.
For those new to Manowar, the best songs are, in my opinion, "Hail and Kill," "The Blood of the Kings," and "On Wheels of Fire." // 6
- Parker Abt (c) 2014