Rating:
5.5
Manowar - Hail To England
1984


01. Blood Of My Enemies
02. Each Dawn I Die
03. Kill With Power
04. Hail To England
05. Army Of The Immortals
06. Black Arrows
07. Bridge Of Death


The leather and loincloth clad Manowar need no introduction to anyone vaguely into metal. They are perhaps amongst the most polarizing bands in metal - people either love them or hate them, with few in the middle.

With "Hail to England" purported to be their high-water mark, I figured this would be the best place to start. I cast aside preconceived notions, burnt the loincloth images from my mind, and inserted them into iPod rotation…

Honestly, the album itself is decent overall. It's a good example of some mid-paced heavy metal for the most part. The primary riff to "Blood Of My Enemies" sounds like the strut of a confident warrior's gait and "Bridge of Death" is an ambitious piece compared to the rest of the fairly straightforward songs… and that thundering, galloping riff to "Kill With Power" is undeniably fucking cool.

The production is so-so - the guitars sound good in the solos, but seem very thin and lacking in bite in the mix during most of the riffing. Imagine "Kill With Power" if it had the crunching sound of Scott Ian (Anthrax) or classic Hetfield (Metallica)… now that would be power. However the guitar's shortcomings help make the bass more prominent. Eric Adams resorts to screech mode a bit too frequently, as well.

Ultimately the cheese factor is just way too high. Lyrics are all too often way too obvious and fairly second-rate Conan inspired drivel. Whereas in extreme metal genres you can get away with cheesy lyrics - or no actual lyrics (Obituary) - because the vocals are indecipherable, when each word is clearly understood it's a bit much. For example, while the band references the Norse gods early on, on "Bridge of Death" they take the easy road and resort to silly "hail Satan" nonsense rather than go the extra mile and unearth some other ancient religion to draw a reference to the dark one from.

While the nod to their fans in "Army Of The Immortals" is commendable the lyrics are fairly sappy. The band is far too self aggrandizing ("We were brought together 'cause we've got the balls To play the loudest metal, so hard and so wild and mean.") and they resort to the ridiculous "True vs. False" metal schoolyard nonsense. Like omigod that band is soooo false... they think they play metal? As if!

Finally, there is the abortion that is "Black Arrow." This useless wankfest begins with the cheesy as fuck announcement: "Let each note I now play be a black arrow of death sent straight to the hearts of all those who play false metal", which is then followed by a barbaric yawp before descending into a cacophony of fretboard masturbation which makes Slayer's duo of King and Hanneman sound like they received doctorates in musical theory from the Berklee School of Music by comparison. Seriously, it's that bad. They should have named this "Kill With Unintentional Comedy" because if you play this track loudly to the person next to you in the office/class/on the bus they will double over with laughter and quite possibly guffaw themselves to death.

All in all, the music is decent, and I guess I can see perhaps what the appeal of Manowar is to some people, but to steal a line from Jello Biafra, "it's like a bad laxative. It just don't move me, ya know?"

Well, except for "Kill With Power" - that one does rock balls. But we'll keep that our little secret, ok?

Performance: 7
Songwriting: 5
Originality: 6
Production: 6


Band profile: Manowar
Album: Hail To England


 



Written on 21.04.2009 by
BitterCOld
BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.
More reviews by BitterCOld ››

Guest review by
Joey Jo Jo

Rating:
8.5
Once in a while I'll put on an old album I haven't heard in a long time for nostalgia purposes rather than wanting to hear something of actual quality. Manowar's Hail To England, which happens to be one of my first metal albums, seemed to fit that bill perfectly. After all, I do remember having a great time at their live show when they came down here with Rhapsody (either a sign of the apocalypse, or a dream come true depending on perspective). Manowar actually acquired their "cheese cred" after their Hail To England/Sign Of The Hammer releases. Don't get me wrong though, there's plenty of lame moments on this album. All of it just happens to be appropriate for the time and context without aging too badly. So it's not as bad as one might expect.

Read more ››
published 14.07.2007 | Comments (11)



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Marcel Hubregtse - 21.04.2009 at 01:27  
For me this is the last album by the True Kings Of Cheese I could stand. Although the lyrics are cheesy as hell, they never annoyed me and still don't annoy me, whereas from the Sign Of The Hammer until now the cheese oozing lyrics annoy the hell out of me and their music also got worse with every single release resulting into the atrocious album they dared to release in 2007.

I doi agree with your assessment of Black Arrow, this one shows what an average (at best) bass player Joey DeMaio actually is. And due to this horrendous song the album gets a 7 from me at most.
Darkside Momo - 21.04.2009 at 01:56  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 15.07.2007 at 15:25

This is by far Manowar's best album. A true classic. I would rate it 9.5 I think.
After this album Manowar only went downhill to hit rock bottom with this year's release.


Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 21.04.2009 at 01:27

For me this is the last album by the True Kings Of Cheese I could stand. Although the lyrics are cheesy as hell, they never annoyed me and still don't annoy me, whereas from the Sign Of The Hammer until now the cheese oozing lyrics annoy the hell out of me and their music also got worse with every single release resulting into the atrocious album they dared to release in 2007.

I doi agree with your assessment of Black Arrow, this one shows what an average (at best) bass player Joey DeMaio actually is. And due to this horrendous song the album gets a 7 from me at most.

Gotcha!
Marcel Hubregtse - 21.04.2009 at 02:12  
Written by Darkside Momo on 21.04.2009 at 01:56

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 15.07.2007 at 15:25

This is by far Manowar's best album. A true classic. I would rate it 9.5 I think.
After this album Manowar only went downhill to hit rock bottom with this year's release.


Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 21.04.2009 at 01:27

For me this is the last album by the True Kings Of Cheese I could stand. Although the lyrics are cheesy as hell, they never annoyed me and still don't annoy me, whereas from the Sign Of The Hammer until now the cheese oozing lyrics annoy the hell out of me and their music also got worse with every single release resulting into the atrocious album they dared to release in 2007.

I doi agree with your assessment of Black Arrow, this one shows what an average (at best) bass player Joey DeMaio actually is. And due to this horrendous song the album gets a 7 from me at most.

Gotcha!


what about two years of extra alcohol abuse can do to an old man. Btw, where did find that?
Lord_Regnier - 21.04.2009 at 02:30  
Apart from the rating, both statements are almost similar, imo. They go in the same direction.
jupitreas - 21.04.2009 at 02:34  
Blood Of My Enemies is the single Manowar song I can stand and honestly, only because of the quite good Edge Of Sanity cover....
quirin - 21.04.2009 at 03:13  
As for me, I was a proud Manowar fan (and still am, though their latest Odin bullshit hurts me deep).

But even a fan can agree there are cheesy lyrics and crap production, so we're cool. Nevertheless, it remains an all-time classic, for it has had a great impact on the metal scene at the time.

If you heard it in 2009 for the first time, maybe it sounded soo cheesy because many other bands thought it was so cool they just had to imitate. And if you find so few Manowar covers around, it's mostly because noone can match their performance and unique style.

You know, if I was to rate this one 5.5, I would have to give Black Sab's Paranoïd a 2! ...Yeah, matter of taste...

By the way, Manowar actually created the term True Metal. So it's a bit like they've got the official licence.
Lord_Regnier - 21.04.2009 at 03:25  
Written by quirin on 21.04.2009 at 03:13

And if you find so few Manowar covers around, it's mostly because noone can match their performance and unique style.

By the way, Manowar actually created the term True Metal. So it's a bit like they've got the official licence.


Any below average metal band can cover Manowar songs easily. Their music is basic, simple and slow. There's nothing hard to play. But there's no point and no challenge for bands who can play stuff that is a hundred times more complex, technical and fast than anything Manowar have ever done in covering Manowar songs. The only 'challenge' for them would be to stay awake until the end of the song and not fall asleep on their instruments out of boredom.

Manowar might have created the term and believe they are true, it doesn't change the fact that what they play is basically hard rock disguised under a weighty sound. And anyone with a minimum of common sense can see Manowar are commercial posers. There are many other examples, of course, but just give a look at what Manowar are doing now, with this song in 15 languages, only to break a record no serious metal band would ever care for. No true metal band would spend its time on a pure marketing operation like that. It's not art but business.
Manowar's supposed trueness is a huge marketing operation, nothing more. Don't forget Manowar is all image no substance.
quirin - 21.04.2009 at 13:00  
Written by Lord_Regnier on 21.04.2009 at 03:25

Any below average metal band can cover Manowar songs easily. Their music is basic, simple and slow. There's nothing hard to play. But there's no point and no challenge for bands who can play stuff that is a hundred times more complex, technical and fast than anything Manowar have ever done in covering Manowar songs. The only 'challenge' for them would be to stay awake until the end of the song and not fall asleep on their instruments out of boredom.

Manowar might have created the term and believe they are true, it doesn't change the fact that what they play is basically hard rock disguised under a weighty sound. And anyone with a minimum of common sense can see Manowar are commercial posers. There are many other examples, of course, but just give a look at what Manowar are doing now, with this song in 15 languages, only to break a record no serious metal band would ever care for. No true metal band would spend its time on a pure marketing operation like that. It's not art but business.
Manowar's supposed trueness is a huge marketing operation, nothing more. Don't forget Manowar is all image no substance.


Ok, maybe there's no point in arguing much further ; we'll just keep apprehending this band differently, no matter what.

For example what you see as "basic, simple and slow" is to me the very cornerstone of Metal, the pure heavy palm mute and almighty powerchord. And in all these years, I never came across anyone singing like Eric Adams, nor can I think of anyone having a more aggressive bass play than Joe Demaio's. Sure, the songs are easy (except for Shankle's solos, of course), but it's part of their art to write wonderful songs with only three chords and a couple of notes.

(I can feel we disagree again...) I know your words are true, especially concerning Manowar's actual commercial policy (not to mention fucking Magic Circle's!). But 1983 was a long time ago, and things were different. Back in the day, there's no doubt they meant all they said, down to the letter.

Anyway... As said above, I'm afraid we are wasting both our time on this conversation. But the facts remain that :

  • I gave up listening to Manowar's music while driving my car - it was far too dangerous for everyone ;
  • When I walk through cities with Manowar in my earphones, the world would better watch out and stand out of my way ;
  • My neighbours just love Manowar playing through my Twin 200W Tower Speakers of Death (tm).


I was just a bit disappointed by the poor rating you gave this beautiful album, and I felt like I couldn't just shut up. But at the end of the day, I don't really care wether everybody think it's pure shit.
Lord_Regnier - 21.04.2009 at 13:40  
@Quirin: Lets say we respectfully disagree.
Darkside Momo - 22.04.2009 at 11:27  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 21.04.2009 at 02:12

Written by Darkside Momo on 21.04.2009 at 01:56

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 15.07.2007 at 15:25

This is by far Manowar's best album. A true classic. I would rate it 9.5 I think.
After this album Manowar only went downhill to hit rock bottom with this year's release.


Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 21.04.2009 at 01:27

For me this is the last album by the True Kings Of Cheese I could stand. Although the lyrics are cheesy as hell, they never annoyed me and still don't annoy me, whereas from the Sign Of The Hammer until now the cheese oozing lyrics annoy the hell out of me and their music also got worse with every single release resulting into the atrocious album they dared to release in 2007.

I doi agree with your assessment of Black Arrow, this one shows what an average (at best) bass player Joey DeMaio actually is. And due to this horrendous song the album gets a 7 from me at most.

Gotcha!


what about two years of extra alcohol abuse can do to an old man. Btw, where did find that?

The first one is a comment on the first review (yep, this album has 2 reviews)
Ellrohir - 28.09.2009 at 09:11  
I dont think this album is that bad...about 7.5 from me
Joey Jo Jo - 15.04.2010 at 07:23  
While I wrote a review of the album with nicer things said and a higher rating.... I have to agree with a lot of the things you're saying about Manowar. They're pretty much a real life Spinal Tap. Actually, they released a few DVDs that chronicle their day to day life while touring. I'll just say this; they got into an accident on the road with a moose. The bus got totaled but everyone on board was fine. While looking at the damaged bus, I think its Joey that says "The powers of metal protected us today". Thats how the doc ends.
BloodFireDeath - 05.05.2012 at 09:45  
Written by Lord_Regnier on 21.04.2009 at 03:25

Written by quirin on 21.04.2009 at 03:13

And if you find so few Manowar covers around, it's mostly because noone can match their performance and unique style.

By the way, Manowar actually created the term True Metal. So it's a bit like they've got the official licence.


Any below average metal band can cover Manowar songs easily. Their music is basic, simple and slow. There's nothing hard to play. But there's no point and no challenge for bands who can play stuff that is a hundred times more complex, technical and fast than anything Manowar have ever done in covering Manowar songs. The only 'challenge' for them would be to stay awake until the end of the song and not fall asleep on their instruments out of boredom.

Manowar might have created the term and believe they are true, it doesn't change the fact that what they play is basically hard rock disguised under a weighty sound. And anyone with a minimum of common sense can see Manowar are commercial posers. There are many other examples, of course, but just give a look at what Manowar are doing now, with this song in 15 languages, only to break a record no serious metal band would ever care for. No true metal band would spend its time on a pure marketing operation like that. It's not art but business.
Manowar's supposed trueness is a huge marketing operation, nothing more. Don't forget Manowar is all image no substance.
[/quoI

I disagree. They write consistent songs like anyone else who is in popular music. So what if they do it to make money. Who cares. I love their music and I have fun with it.
Troy Killjoy - 05.05.2012 at 17:16  
Did someone just quote Reigner from 2009? Good luck getting a response...
Valentin B - 08.10.2012 at 17:23  
The main problems with this album are the pace, midpaced mostly, only Kill With Power is actually a fast song, one of the most furious songs Manowar ever will do.

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