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Manowar - 'Warriors Of The World' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/24/95/c8/manowar-warriors-of-the-world-88-1390532940.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 24, 2014    
 
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'Warriors Of The World' should be admired.

Magicians have always relied on distraction or misdirection to perform their acts; it can be their patter, a good looking assistant, someone coming from the audience, it takes your mind off the trick so that the preparation can be made for the reveal. So far, so entertaining. The problem occurs when the misdirection is better than the trick itself, the patter being the main draw. Manowar suffered here. They may have created Battle Metal, have great riffs and tasty songs, and yet the misdirection - the furry pants, the loudest band in the world, the contract signed in their own blood - are often what we remember.

And that is a shame, because they have produced some excellent Metallic meatiness. A polarising group certainly - some say there would be no Iced Earth without Joey DeMaio and the boys, others find their music hemmed in by breast beating - this late period 10 year anniversary re-release could not be called simplistic. So, to the re-release stuff; the re-mastering is a sonic beefing up exercise and is largely successful without being a talking point. No, it's the musical choices that do that.

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For this is sometimes Metal as Musical Theatre. Two tracks here, a version of 'An American Trilogy' so close to the Elvis one as to be almost meaningless, and 'Nessun Dorma'. Yes, that 'Nessun Dorma'; as a workout for Eric Adams, it's fine, he can reach the notes but not sit in them, leaving us a little worried. The classical sounds make way for wholly expected rockier ones. Its fine, but it may alienate fans. What this does present is Joey's open mind. Manowar is not just a Metal band, it's a big music band, they make the sounds he wants. And so you'll get pummelling, marching feet, mid pace power and stabbing, scabrous solos – 'Call To Arms', 'House Of Death', with the addition of a seafaring "yo ho ho" feel, demonic vocalising and a warfare recreation in the towering 'Warriors Of The World United' with all the anger and snarling you need, but harps and narration added for, you know, light and that shade thing.

And that is where they want to take us. An almost gorgeous choir and church organ sorbet leads us to a massive, dramatic Battle Ballad 'Swords In The Wind' - imagine Bonnie Tyler beheading Graham Norton and Scott Mills in a post-Eurovision apocalypse – gentleness nestling among the Metallic barbs.

'Warriors Of The World' should be admired; it makes you take notice. Some of it is rather enjoyable and the Metal easily passes muster. Perhaps this was Mr DeM attempting to dance away from expectation's grasp and the corsetry of the genre; making promises of a band in development which we now know they simply couldn't keep.

Steve Swift

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