Manowar - Louder Than Hell review


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Band: Manowar
Album: Louder Than Hell
Release date: 1996

01. Return Of The Warlord
02. Brothers Of Metal (Part One)
03. The Gods Made Heavy Metal
04. Courage
05. Number One
06. Outlaw
07. King
08. Today Is A Good Day To Die
09. My Spirit Lives On
10. The Power

Louder Than Hell is perhaps the first Manowar album that is not in some capacity amazing. On Battle Hymns, they decided that it was their mission in life to be Manowar - the loudest, manliest, most ridiculously pretentious heavy metal band in existence. They spent the next several albums casting about for the perfect way to achieve this; always highly successful, but still looking to go different places. On Kings Of Metal, they found the TRUE Manowar sound and produced some of their greatest works to date. Louder Than Hell was when they stopped trying.

There comes a time when every band has to make the leap from new to old, green to veteran, amazing to reliable, exciting to enjoyable. "Return Of The Warlord," although easily the strongest track on the album and an excellent one at that, makes clear that Manowar took the plunge in 1996. Eric Adams sounds like he is struggling to sing. In fact, he somehow sounds even older than on subsequent Manowar albums; his voice is scratchy and he really has to reach for those high notes. The sound itself is tired; all I hear is studio trickery, largely devoid of passion or intensity. There are no more rough edges, no more stunning emotions, no more wild moments of extreme energy that knock you right out of your seat. It is a rote performance that captures only the surface of an aging Manowar.

The first three songs are all pretty enjoyable. They still sound like an older band trying to rip off their own previous material, but they are strong enough composition-wise to pass muster. However, they are followed up by "Courage," which is an obvious attempt to rewrite the magnificent "Heart Of Steel" and a complete failure at this endeavor. Approximately 12 minutes of this album, in the form of "Today Is A Good Day To Die" and "My Spirit Lives On," are instrumental, by which I mean extended guitar solos. Karl Logan is a technically proficient guitarist. We know this. These tracks are not particularly interesting or needed.

Louder Than Hell is fairly typical of Manowar thematically and musically, but the sound is so compressed, so lifeless, so tired that it robs this release of its magic. Judging by the similarities on the following Gods Of War and The Lord Of Steel, this is the moment when Manowar, though they fell short of jumping the shark entirely, definitely took a turn for the worse.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 6

Written by ScreamingSteelUS | 25.02.2013


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Guest review by
"Louder Than Hell" is the return of the band from the studio again, after 1992. In my opinion this is one of their best albums. It may have the same usual sound and the same lyrical themes, but it's actually a very good piece…

On the front cover, we see this "macho" guy, who's breaking his chains by hitting his hand on the anvil! It's an image of what you're going to be listening to; pure Heavy Metal! The innovation that caught my attention when I opened the album for the first time was that the cover picture is actually a part of a poster! This poster is the booklet of the album and it consists from the band's mascot in the front and the lyrics in the back. A very good idea, which many other bands copied later… I could easily stick this fine work of art on the wall, but then the album would be left "naked" since the booklet is essential…

published 07.02.2007 | Comments (4)


Comments: 3   Visited by: 65 users
25.02.2013 - 19:17
Heaven Knight
I personally love "Courage"...pathetic thats true, but i dont care, i like that

but i feel their downfall start with this album
So behold the flight of the sapphire dragon
soaring through the skies once again

26.02.2013 - 16:03
I agree with Ellrohir: "Courage" is a great song.

You might be right about the useless instrumental tracks, but most of their albums from the 1980s had those absolutely terrible bass solos. "Today Is A Good Day To Die" and "My Spirit Lives On" are far more interesting than the old bass solo trainwreck throwaway tracks. But it was definitely a glimpse into the future when Manowar built up their albums with filler. (Gods of War, I'm looking at you.)

In my opinion, Triumph of Steel was the beginning of the end, though. That first track is completely unlistenable.
Burning Shadows - US Power Metal
Recently Vacated Graves - Zombie Metal
Isenmor - Folk Metal
05.03.2013 - 11:08
I've never understood how anyone can describe this as anything but among the worst Manowar albums. I got into them around 1987 (I was 15). I loved every album I found and I can't describe the anticipation ahead of LTH after four years of waiting for a follow-up to Triumph of Steel. But the production was tinny and, this should have been a warning sign, after the first three tracks the album just becomes a mish-mash of substandard 'classic' Manowar-style songs and musical interludes. King, for example, was close to epic but didn't work, The Power was boring (compare it to ANY of the finale songs on the first six albums and you'll see what I mean) and as for Number 1 and Outlaw - where do they now stand in the Manowar pantheon of classic songs? Then we're treated to a dire two-track 12 minute instrumental break. And for those who would argue that Courage is a classic, I would suggest looking out for the Courage live version that the band was playing a decade before - yes, unbelievable. Both Brothers of Metal (the original live version is better, by the way) and Courage were being played live in 1986 and didn't make it on to Fighting The World, Kings of Metal or Triumph of Steel. So what we have here is an album full of fillers - and it shows. From here on in the albums (with the exception of Warriors of the World which actually had some new songs on it but with the increasingly indulgent interludes and several odd-ball songs like the American Trilogy) get more and more wacky, less original and each one becomes a bigger disappointment.

The worst thing is I know they can write songs but they have given up and just re-hash their classics and describe it as 'moving forward'.

Still love 'em but they treat me like a bitch.

Now excuse me while I step off my soap box.

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