Nanowar Of Steel - Dislike To False Metal review
|Band:||Nanowar Of Steel|
|Album:||Dislike To False Metal|
|Release date:||March 2023|
02. Winterstorm In The Night [feat. Madeleine Liljestam]
03. Disco Metal
04. Muscle Memories
05. Chupacabra Cadabra
06. Pasadena 1994 [feat. Joakim Brodén]
07. Metal Boomer Battalion
08. Dimmu Boogie
09. Protocols (Of The Elders Of Zion) Of Love
10. The Power Of Imodium
Nanowar Of Steel have had my ears on speed dial for the last five years now, ever since Stairway To Valhalla proved that it is possible to make fun of Manowar while simultaneously making fun of Manowar. After a detour through the old country in 2021, this quippy quintet returns to the ranks of True Norwegian Gag Metal, raising a mighty thumbs-down emoji to sweaty legions of virtual posers everywhere.
Making a career out of comedy aimed at such a niche audience seems like a risky venture these days, when any idiot with a keyboard and the most rudimentary understanding of image manipulation capabilities can elicit as much attention and screen real estate as a professional entertainer. It’s hard to argue with the efficiency of a low-effort, four-second chuckle enjoyed in between shifts at the work factory or while ignoring your significant other/pillow on a romantic date outing, so the key to success as tr00 metal jongleurs is underlying musical legitimacy – you want listeners humming these tunes even when they aren’t conscious of the punchlines. If there’s one thing that Nanowar Of Steel have proven with their bleeding accurate send-ups, it’s that they are Italy’s greatest non-Rhapsody power metal band (#176 overall); whatever inane dialogue they’re passionately belting with fists raised to the sky, it makes for an unforgettable anthem on par with any Helloween or Avantasia classic. Lead vocalists Potowotominimak and Mr. Baffo could easily front more conventional bands with their chameleonic resemblance to many familiar classes of metal singer, and each has enough range and strength to shoulder a mighty chorus regardless of lyrical content; the band’s instrumentalists are clearly as skilled and adaptable to myriad styles as well. But there are enough songs about dragons and wizards and keys and swords and imaginations; why do that when you could proclaim dire warnings about the dastardly evils of unholy dandruff?
And so they proclaim. Dislike To False Metal features possibly the only power ballad to simultaneously take a soft AOR dig at “Eye Of The Tiger” and sample Alex Jones’s “turn the frickin’ frogs gay” rant. And possibly the only rockabilly riot to contemplate Kurt Cobain and John F. Kennedy getting vaccinated for COVID-19. And possibly the only epic chronicle of Montezuma’s Revenge to splice ska into Pathfinder and incorporate the Hallelujah chorus. The album is as confusing and unpredictable a landscape as any Nanowar Of Steel effort, with wayward horn sections, sound effects, and audio samples coming at you from all directions amidst stirring hooks. If there’s one detail I might point out with some disappointment, it’s that Dislike To False Metal dispenses with the skits and short tracks that populated earlier albums, which, aside from providing entertainment of their own, served to break up the very disparate styles parodied and allow the substantial segments some breathing room. A little palate cleanser does a lot of work when you have lots of strong-concept compositions laid end to end; Italian Folk Metal also eschewed these bumpers, but it made some more sense there, as the entire album had a roughly uniform idea and it explicitly approached a different musical style that didn’t require as much separation. Those skits, I am tempted to say, are what make the albums feel like comedy albums.
Dislike To False Metal is also an uncharacteristically short album – actually, it’s ten tracks and ~48 minutes, which is a perfectly normal length for an album, and “Chupacabra Cadabra” extends its ludicrous Latin legend for nine and a half minutes, but it’s still on the slim side for Nanowar Of Steel, and it seems especially so given the lack of extra packaging and the fact that preceding single “Armpits Of Immortals” did not make it onto the album. A fearless realization of the sweaty pit dankness implied by almost every Manowar song, the track has quickly become one of my favorite Nanowar Of Steel songs (with a guest solo by no less a personage than Ross The Boss for extra sweat). Given the similar singularity of “Norwegian Reggaeton” and “Valhallelujah,” it seems that the band have taken to parceling out their shiniest gems in unattended single form.
But there is still plenty to like about Dislike To False Metal as it is: the first band on the skewering rack is Alestorm, whose well-documented enthusiasm for imbibing adult beverages forms the basis for an ode to marine sobriety and clean living. “Pasadena 1994” steps it up further, bringing in Sabaton vocalist Joakim Brodén for a tale of the 1994 Italy-Brazil World Cup final told as an unmistakable Swedish military march. And if providing satisfying alternatives to two great bands who disappointed me last year wasn’t enough, Nanowar Of Steel continue to explore one of their most unique strengths: the desecration of metal through unauthorized genre Frankensteining. I almost feel that Beast In Black actually beat them to the punch on the “Disco Metal” front (and didn’t Sabaton before that?), but Nanowar Of Steel’s rendition remains exceptional for its heavy use of autotune – and this is really fusion, not just borrowing or influence. You can dance to this bullshit.
I don’t find Dislike To False Metal as consistently brilliant as Stairway To Valhalla, which may go down as the band’s masterwork, and it may not be quite as strong as Italian Folk Metal in terms of songwriting, but like all Nanowar Of Steel albums, it is filled with minute gags and references that well-versed metal fans will appreciate (or Euro club-hoppers), in addition to some genuine accomplishments of style and songwriting. Undoubtedly “Disco Metal” will require surgery to remove from my brain eventually.
||Written on 26.02.2023 by|
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