STAND AND FIGHT THE LORD OF STEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEL!
Album: The Lord of Steel
Style: Heavy Metal
Yes this review was written by a fanatic Manowar fan, but this doesn’t mean that this album is not meant to be heard by any Metal music lover. Do not let the first couple of listen confuse you, this is not Dream Theater, these are the kings of Metal, let it sink in your mind, let it take you and posses you and it will do its magic on its own!
Where do I begin! I have left no stone unturned, no track unheard, no curse word unused; I cried and got angry, I broke a couple of plates….
HOW could this BE! My favourite band of all time – 5 years I have waited for this album to come out and after around 15 listens, I lost hope, I wanted to wipe out the album off my computer’s history and wanted to hide my face from this disgrace.
As I selected all the tracks and clicked the delete button, the title song “ The Lord of Steel” accidentally opens up on media player and I said I’ll give it one more chance and then BOOM, something happened! 20 seconds into the song, I smiled; 30 seconds later I jumped from the chair; a minute later it felt like I knew every single word. I started chanting and jumping some more, then I eventually fell off the chair, not hesitating to get back up and opened the door and screamed at the neighbours “STAND AND FIGHT THE LORD OF STEEEEEEEEEEEL!”
This album became an instant classic hit for me, and I kept wondering “what the hell went wrong during the first few listens? Were my expectation too high that I forgot what the Manowarian spirit was?”
Sure, Manowar is the cheesiest band on Earth, but to me it’s more than a band; Manowar is hope, it is a remedy for all depressions, problems, headaches. It gives hope to the hopless ones, and energy like no drug can give; it makes you feel so stupid and in love with the fact that you maybe the stupidest person on Earth, yet you have all the power in the world. This is Manowar you fools, and if you don’t F****** like it LEAVE THE HALL or grow some balls and stand and fight the lord of steel!
Now before you start listening if you haven’t already, what may seem annoying (over buzzed bass sound) will soon grow on you and in turn you will begin to like it more and more with each listen.
The album opens with the title track “The Lord of Steel”, a fast straightforward rocker song filled with energy that makes you want to grind your teeth. This song gives you a perfect idea on how the rest of the album will progress. The choruses, as in all previous Manowar hits, is an excellent sing-along that makes you want to find the first who comes your way and beat him up while daring him to defy “The Lord of Steel”.
“Manowarriors” comes next, as a gift to every true fan! It may not appeal to whose who are not great fans listening, but has a very catchy and powerful riff nonetheless. This is a march to war, prepare to feel the rage! This song is reminiscent of the “Triumph of Steel” album, specially with the drum style and the sound of guitars. This is a song where Manowar sings about themselves and the fans – do not feel offended, just sing along!
“Born in a Grave” will take you back to the 1996’s ” Louder Than Hell” album, another very powerful track and my personal favourite. It would seem, at first, that the riff would be pretty primitive, conceived in about 10 seconds and I was not impressed with this, but then I was able to connect to it and see what a majestic song it really was! You will most probably relate to the lyrical content, “…forgive me father, yes I have sinned! I will never be holy I will never be sane, this was the gift on the day I was born in a grave!”
The opening riff repeats and you then see how this is more than a cheesy easy riff, call it whatever you want but it works out perfectly great! Its a unique riff and only Manowar had the guts to try and release a song as powerful and simple as this one! Highly recommended!
To those who are familiar with the powerful Manowar ballads where bass is the main instrument and the song is all about a burst of emotions, “Righteous Glory” is the song for you! It follows the steps of “Mountains” from “The Sign of the Hammer” album, “Bridge of Death” from the “Hail to England” album and last but not least “Swords in the Wind” off of “Gods of War”. It may sound boring at first, but do not be fooled, this song defines the Epicness of Manowar and explains why they are the Kings of all that is Epic. Very personal track, filled with emotions and goosbumping bass lines.
And then comes the glorious “Touch the Sky”! Now, I have to be honest but this song felt like a loud, fuzzy, ELECTRONIC Bon Jovi cover! I couldn’t believe it when I found myself singing along the chorus and waiting for it! With a stupid smile all over my face! I even threw in a couple of “Lalalalalala”, not to mention that this was the first song that my girlfriend loved and started chanting…hmm I guess I wasn’t wrong about the Bon Jovi part.
“Black List” mmm, first reaction? WTF IS THIS SHIT! It felt repetitive, uninspiring, weak, and noisy. But then the brainwash effect worked, and i was headbanging at the slowest manowar tempo I had ever heard! It’s kind of a slow motion headbanging that was filling me with raw emotions every second! I found this track to be a bit psychadelic, but very powerfull non the less, as soon as the lyrics kicked in, and again I was grinding my teeth and chanting proudly
” Yea i got no invitation
But i won’t leave
Gonna keep on fighting
For everything that’s me
It’s my life
I’m living free
Ain’t nobody nowhere
Got no chains on me”
“EXPENDABLE” sounded to me like a slightly better song off of Metallica’s later days albums. But then the magic worked out, i had my head banging at every transition and tempo change! I couldn’t stop banging my head from start till end. This Song will be featured on the next “expendable” movie to come out, so I heard. Great song, Eric Adams emotions prove once more why he is among the greatest vocalist of out time with his wicked screams and over flowing emotions across the song. Again this is a very simple song with a simple structure as most of the album songs and I believe this is the risk that Manowar took on this album, and I must say it’s great they took the risk. They understood what the fans liked most about Manowar and applied it in each and every song! Great track.
You can say I’m just a GRINGO, you can say I’m just a man, I live outside the law doing anything I can because… I…AM… “EL GRINGO!” What a song! Simple, fast, and fucking crazy! I previously reviewed this track when it was released as a single, it’s true that it represents all that is cheesy, all that is stupid and all that is MANOWAR, but it will take you on a wild ride! A purely IRON MAIDEN track, with IRON MAIDEN riffs, solos and bass lines, played 10 times louder. Instant classic hit song!
The weakest track on this album, in my opinion, would have to be “ANNIHILATION.” Eric does a great job on this one, being a simple and happy tune that one would enjoy when listening to the full album, but not alone because it was dull and uninspiring. The solo reminded me a lot of the solos of “The Gods Made Heavy Metal” and “Brothers of Metal” combined. Enjoyable track, but my least favourite.
Last but not least is “HAIL, KILL AND DIE” which I wish was longer! This song lists all the previous Manowar albums in the lyrics, just like “Blood of the Kings” from the “Fighting the World” Album. This is a 1 minute song, while the rest is just the repetition of the chorus: “hail, kill and die” on loop! And still, I wished it kept going on for another 5 minutes. The guitar solo is a typical Manowarian solo, and represents what the 80’s were all about! Excellent Song for a live performance and when you are feeling a bit down.
Overall I am very pleased with the songs despite the simplicity and what may seem, the lack of musicianship on this one, the bad production- specially when it comes to the Bass guitars. I also feel that Karl Logan should have played a bigger role, his guitars are often in the background and not very apparent. I have a feeling that this album was recorded on an electronic drumset with bad sample sounds, eventhough the album has seen the return of drummer “Donnie Ramzik” who played on the very first manowar album and left the band in 1983. he was replaced by Scott Colombus in 1983 and now has returned after the sad death of his replacement.
To conclude this long personal reflection/review, I would give it a 7.5/10 due to the production issues, and some unmemorable moments in a couple of songs. But I can tell you one thing for sure, you will not like it from the first time you listen to it if you are a major Manowar fan because, as myself, you will be expecting MUCH more. It reminded me of IRON MAIDEN’s Final Frontier, which also shocked me at first then became one of my all time favourite Iron Maiden albums. My recommendation is that you should give it a chance and it will grow on you.
Songs recommended off the new album
The Lord Of Steel
Born In A Grave
Touch The Sky (my woman’s favourite)
Tracklist (all tracks direct you to Youtube for a quick listen)