So every couple of years MANOWAR roll around with a new album and every time the anticipation is fairly high as to what our favourite cliché-hogs have come up with this time around. Looking back at the releases since 2002, we have (including this one) three studio albums, one re-recorded album, one live album, 2 EPs, six singles and six DVDs. “The Lord Of Steel” is album number eleven and since “Gods Of War” had been a ho-hum release, I was actually looking forward to see what Joey DiMaio has up his sleeve in the year 2012.
But before I get to that, I’d like to mention the truly odd release schedule of this new album, which quite frankly does not make any sense to me (and probably nobody else either)... The first release is the Hammer Edition, available digitally on www.kingdomofsteel.com on June 16, then the Steel Edition will be part of Metal Hammer UK number 233 on June 26 and then it will finally hit stores on September 7, not sure which edition they will label that one, but you get my light confusion about this?
Anywho, on to the music and the confusion does not end there, because “The Lord Of Steel” looks more like a confused puppy than a roaring lion, beginning with the off-putting production. The bass is so distorted at times that it doesn’t come across as heavy, but annoying (Stoner Metal fans would love this, though), while the drums sound sterile and mechanical, which never is a good sign for a self-proclaimed saviour of Metal, now does it? Continuing on to the music, the opening duo of “The Lord Of Steel” and “Manowarriors” sets an ok pace, showing the usual MANOWAR trademarks, albeit hindered by the production and even Eric Adams’ vocals do not sound up to par, he talks way more than he used to, which is very unlike the Americans.
While “Touch The Sky” and “El Gringo” also can be viewed as relative highlights, the majority of other songs is frighteningly uninspired, be it “Born In A Grave”, “Annihilation” or the worst culprit “Black List”, 7:30 minutes of boredom with a guitar solo that looks mashed in instead of incorporated, a song that could truly Blacklist MANOWAR for a lot of people and one that just never seems to end! “Hail, Kill And Die” has the kind of novelty factor of naming their album titles in the lyrics, but that’s about it for this one as well.
If this is the best that the Americans could come up with in five years, I think that it is time to retire the pelts and park the Harley in the garage, after RUNNING WILD the second sore disappointment of the year in the realm of traditional Metal. Odd production, mostly uninspired song writing, sub-par vocal performance, this could be the last nail in the coffin of MANOWAR.
(Online June 21, 2012)