Manowar: Louder than hell
16/09/09 || Habakuk
We used to play a drinking game along to “Brothers of metal, part 1” where you have to take a sip every time Eric sings “fight”, “metal”, “steel”, and two other words that don’t even matter anymore, because the chorus kills everyone, every time. Try this at home. Anyway, this album doesn’t have very much in common with the heavy metal we all know and love, or with “Hail to England” or their other early records. Is it bad, consequently? I wouldn’t be that rigorous.
Ross the fucken Boss had left the band a while ago, and his successor David Shankle had also called it quits to be replaced by Karl Logan, who is appropriately introduced by a gay guitar wankfest called “My spirit lives on” towards the album’s end. Woo hoo, skip. Now on a sidenote, Karl Logan. The guy just kills me with his stupid pony haircut and the same posing as the rest of the guys, however weighing about one third. It just doesn’t work, dude.
Apart from that, he’s obviously not a bad guitarist. His style is very different from Ross’ though, as he does a way cleaner job in my opinion. That’s not necessarily a good or bad thing, just different. Anyway, I do enjoy the first half of the album to a certain extent, the same way I enjoy Cheap Trick’s “Mighty Wings” from Top Gun. “Return of the warlord”, “Brothers of metal, part 1”, “The Gods made heavy metal” and “Number 1” are also ridiculously catchy tunes that have about as much in common with interesting metal as said song. “Mighty Wings” still is one of the best songs ever, just to get that out of the way. However, I can’t say that about anything on “Louder than Hell”. Or Top Gun in terms of movies, but who cares. Well, if you’ve read a Manowar review up to this point, you probably do, Mav.
With “Courage”, they tried to walk on that thin line between making weak, slavish women cry with melancholy and still being manly. Well, it’s not as cheesy as it could be, instead make that listenable. That comes as a surprise, but yes, “Courage” is not half bad. Eric Adams’s voice is just too good, and they’re not going completely over the top with the lyrics – for starters, there are no mentionings of Vikings. Huge bonus. Really, I can’t detract any points for this. And trust me, I’m the first one to detract points for shitty ballads.
So hey, we’re approaching song number six, and nothing’s all too bad yet?!
Well, it’s not exactly bad, but when you come to think about it, it’s all the same. Without Eric Adams, this would be shitty beyond belief, as he carries the songs singlehandedly through 5 minutes each. What this album lacks is not the guitar skills, but the songwriting courtesy of Ross the Boss. Joey DeMaio obviously reached his pinnacle of creativity by writing the same song in a fast, verrry fast and moderate version. The easiest way to find out is to listen to his opening basslines and judge for yourself. Now lack of songwriting is definitely something I can and will detract points for.
That being said, “Outlaw” is alright, and it’s talking about the Wild west, which is uncommon for the men o’ war. From there, everything starts to go downhill steadily. Just a little with the next two songs, which are ok but a bit forgettable, but “My Spirit lives on” and the slowly dragging almost ten minutes long instrumental “Today is a good day to die” are just snorefests deluxe. A guitar wanking solo that serves as an intro to TEN minutes of chords, keyboards and fingers walking across the fretboard? I don’t care how new your guitarist is, this shit sucks beyond compare. The last song is better again, but I’ve most probably already thrown the CD out of the player for a while when it’s due, so bad luck. If you ask me, it sounds exactly like “Outlaw” anyway. Same, same, same. Blood, muscles, motorcycles, metal, the power. You should be ready for a Rambo wrap-up now.
Rambo (III) shoots a lot and kills a decent amount of people. The only thing that can stop Rambo temporarily is a lack of bullets. Louder than hell lacks bullets. Rambo still has a knife, though. “Louder than Hell” doesn’t have a knife. “Louder than Hell” has “Courage”, and you cannot kill with blue light. Neither in Suckville, Alabama, nor in Cave, Afghanistan.
- Released: 1996
- Label: Geffen Records
- Website: www.manowar.com
- Eric Adams: vocals
- Karl Logan: guitar
- Joey DeMaio: bass
- Scott Columbus: drums
- 01. Return of the warlord
- 02. Brothers of metal, part 1
- 03. The Gods made heavy metal
- 04. Courage
- 05. Number 1
- 06. Outlaw
- 07. King
- 08. Today is a good day to die
- 09. My spirit lives on
- 10. The power