Manowar - Kings Of Metal review
|Album:||Kings Of Metal|
|Release date:||November 1988|
01. Wheels Of Fire
02. Kings Of Metal
03. Heart Of Steel
04. Sting Of The Bumblebee
05. The Crown And The Ring (Lament Of The Kings)
06. Kingdom Come
07. Pleasure Slave [European and American bonus]
08. Hail And Kill
09. The Warrior's Prayer
10. Blood Of The Kings
Kings Of Metal largely follows the commercial route of it's immediate predecessor. Not that this is a throwback to the rocking days of Battle Hymns, but compared to Manowar's earlier works, the band is now blatantly fishing for poppy hooks (which in itself is not necessarily a bad thing) and the production is a slicker, more professional affair. DeMaio, aside from still being a troublingly devoted bass soloist, also found time to work on his lyrics which finally hit rock bottom with "Pleasure Slave", a song too clumsy and stupid to offend or actually make the listener waste his time dwelling on it. Disregarding the lyrics, the music remains so utterly simplistic and hook-free that Manowar might just have achieved the dubious distinction of writing the worst metal song of the 80s (and, who knows, actually be proud of it).
It's a long way from ground zero to the peak of the metal Olympus, with the band finding plenty of opportunities to drop tracks in between. The bass solo and the narrative "Warrior's Prayer" remind why the skip button is a necessary feature on CD players but are hardly worth mentioning otherwise. "The Crown And The Ring" with it's overblown choir at least gets points for originality if nothing else as it lacks anything truly musical, whereas "Wheels Of Fire" is a commendable, if not really successful nod at speed metal.
Further uphill the listener is greeted by the mid-paced bravado of "Kings Of Metal", a good sing-along track that gives an uncomfortable feel considering people take it literally, and the slightly faster but equally catchy "Kingdom Come". The two closing epics do not hold back as much and, thus, are wholeheartedly enjoyable. However, despite usually not being the band's ace in the hole, the best track is a ballad. On "Heart Of Steel" Eric Adams gives one of his most captivating performances and anybody who is not touched when the song kicks in at "burn the bridge behind you" probably hates the band as much as their fans love them. Time has been kind to Kings Of Metal as it is not only one of Manowar's commercially most successful albums but is nowadays also regarded as a classic one. Detractors and more sensible listeners would rightfully balk. Yet to prevail with spirits held high in the face of a numerous host (of better albums), that's the stuff out of which Manowar's epics are made.
|Kings Of Metal had the potential to be the high point of Manowar's career. In several ways, it represents the crystallization of the band's well-known and oft-parodied style, that strange mixture of bombastic buffoonery and pure, unadulterated heavy metal. Yet, most unfortunately, Manowar seems to have screwed themselves out of pure success, as they tend to do.
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