MANOWAR - Gods Of War
Flashback review!!! Released February 23/07 (Magic Circle Music)
Review originally published in Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles Issue #104
Metalheads on heathen (ie. North American) shores will surely take the self-proclaimed "Kings of Metal" to task for this latest transgression. So busy was the band in telling some silly tale of swords, eight legged steeds, rainbow bridges and leather cod pieces (then again my decoding of the fully encrypted lyric sheet could be incorrect) that Manowar forgot to concentrate on the strength of steel.
Once you sort through glorious barbershop, anthemic ballad, horse/rain/etc. sound effects and never-ending narrative sections, there's a scant 7 (of 16!) metalized tracks here. And man, one of those, the 'Die For Metal' bonus track, has to be one of the stoopidest, cheesiest banal metal tracks since Priest's 'You've Got Another Thing Comin''. Excuse me while I empty my lactose intolerant bowels.
Truth be told though, Gods of War does include some good, albeit standard, Manowar fare ("King of Kings', 'Sons of Odin' and the title track). The problem is that these were all released previously on the recent The Sons of Odin EP making this album of little value, if not outright redundant, for those who invested in the EP.
Bottom line - Manowar have got to stop focusing so much on glorious ascensions to Valhalla and instead start paying attention to the bloodlust of battle that precedes. Then perhaps the black wind of old will blow at full force once again.
Update: 13 years later I definitely stand by this review, encouraging power metal fans to bypass this album and pick up The Sons of Odin EP instead. All the good stuff without the ponderous, silly extras. (4)