|Review: Manowar - Gods of War|
|Gods of War|
Label: Magic Circle Music
Year released: 2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: April 6, 2007
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
for:Gods of War
Rated 3.95/5 (79.05%) (42 Votes)
Almost five years after Warriors of the World (probably the album that holds the world record for the number of variations of "here's a track order that makes the album sound much better"), Manowar are back with an epic/orchestral concept album revolving around Odin. Manowar are known for always going over the top, especially in their live setting, and that has leaked into the studio this time around. In the middle of some killer cuts, you get a boat load of long (looonng) intros and extensive narratives (at least for a music album.) In other words, they set out to tell a story and they really meant it. :) That is a double edged sword, however. While Manowar fanatics will hail this as another masterpiece (well, they already have), people who aren't much into the band could be turned off by the ubiquitous interruptions of otherwise (mostly) killer material.
The album ended up being a grower - and an acquired taste - for yours truly. The first couple of times, listening to it mostly as background music, I found this to be rather crappy, but when I started listening to it more attentively with headphones, it became better with every listen, with even the intro/narration material not sounding as annoying as it did at first. In the context of the concept album, it makes sense, but that's not something I'm likely to blast in my car with the windows open (I can't see myself stopped at a red light with "we will crack the whip" coming out of the speakers, really.)
On the musical side, there are several good songs here, mostly headbanging-inducing rockers and also the very poignant Blood Brothers where Eric Adams' outstanding vocal work make the song a delight for the ears. In fact he pretty much shines throughout the album, saving a couple of lacklustre songs in the process. When they're not rocking, they go all solemn, epic and orchestral on us - and then there's the narrative stuff I mentioned earlier. As usual the production is top notch, so you won't miss a bit of the action. The album closer Die For Metal is the mandatory metal hymn, listed as a bonus track since it doesn't fit the album's concept. It's an OK song but I've heard much better on that subject and, yes, it does sound out of place here.
Personally I find the album worth getting just for King of Kings, Sleipnir, Loki God of Fire, Blood Brothers, The Sons of Odin, Gods of War, Odin and Hymn of the Immortal Warriors (hmmm OK I've listed almost all of the "real" songs.) These are songs that had me headbanging and almost jumping on my desk with fist in the air at work. Considering how frustrating my current assignment is at work, believe me when I say that uplifting my spirit was no small feat. :) It's worth getting to know the album before dismissing it after only a couple of listens. The long intros and narration end up mixing well with the songs when you take the album as a whole. Definitely more interesting than its predecessor.
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