Manowar - Louder Than Hell review
|Album:||Louder Than Hell|
01. Return Of The Warlord
02. Brothers Of Metal (Part One)
03. The Gods Made Heavy Metal
05. Number One
08. Today Is A Good Day To Die
09. My Spirit Lives On
10. The Power
Louder Than Hell is perhaps the first Manowar album that is not in some capacity amazing. On Battle Hymns, they decided that it was their mission in life to be Manowar - the loudest, manliest, most ridiculously pretentious heavy metal band in existence. They spent the next several albums casting about for the perfect way to achieve this; always highly successful, but still looking to go different places. On Kings Of Metal, they found the TRUE Manowar sound and produced some of their greatest works to date. Louder Than Hell was when they stopped trying.
There comes a time when every band has to make the leap from new to old, green to veteran, amazing to reliable, exciting to enjoyable. "Return Of The Warlord," although easily the strongest track on the album and an excellent one at that, makes clear that Manowar took the plunge in 1996. Eric Adams sounds like he is struggling to sing. In fact, he somehow sounds even older than on subsequent Manowar albums; his voice is scratchy and he really has to reach for those high notes. The sound itself is tired; all I hear is studio trickery, largely devoid of passion or intensity. There are no more rough edges, no more stunning emotions, no more wild moments of extreme energy that knock you right out of your seat. It is a rote performance that captures only the surface of an aging Manowar.
The first three songs are all pretty enjoyable. They still sound like an older band trying to rip off their own previous material, but they are strong enough composition-wise to pass muster. However, they are followed up by "Courage," which is an obvious attempt to rewrite the magnificent "Heart Of Steel" and a complete failure at this endeavor. Approximately 12 minutes of this album, in the form of "Today Is A Good Day To Die" and "My Spirit Lives On," are instrumental, by which I mean extended guitar solos. Karl Logan is a technically proficient guitarist. We know this. These tracks are not particularly interesting or needed.
Louder Than Hell is fairly typical of Manowar thematically and musically, but the sound is so compressed, so lifeless, so tired that it robs this release of its magic. Judging by the similarities on the following Gods Of War and The Lord Of Steel, this is the moment when Manowar, though they fell short of jumping the shark entirely, definitely took a turn for the worse.
|"Louder Than Hell" is the return of the band from the studio again, after 1992. In my opinion this is one of their best albums. It may have the same usual sound and the same lyrical themes, but it's actually a very good piece…
On the front cover, we see this "macho" guy, who's breaking his chains by hitting his hand on the anvil! It's an image of what you're going to be listening to; pure Heavy Metal! The innovation that caught my attention when I opened the album for the first time was that the cover picture is actually a part of a poster! This poster is the booklet of the album and it consists from the band's mascot in the front and the lyrics in the back. A very good idea, which many other bands copied later… I could easily stick this fine work of art on the wall, but then the album would be left "naked" since the booklet is essential…
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