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Kerrang! 47 ] [ Into Glory Ride ]

 

The following review appeared in Kerrang! 47, along with the above advert.  This was back when Kerrang! was a Heavy Metal magazine, rather than a follower of the latest crappy trends...

MANOWAR
‘Into Glory Ride’
(Music For Nations MFN 6)

'God of darkness/Lord of death/ Ruler of shadows/Hear us/In thunder, lightning/Flood or fire/We await you' - 'The Silver Arm' by Jim Fitzpatrick.

THEY'RE BACK! After a tormenting year when they were all but cast down into the pit of damnation, Manowar have risen once more, astride mighty stallions of vengeance. And lest there be any misunderstandings, let me state here and now - this isn't so much a superb rock 'n' roll album as a total vindication.

One can almost feel the frozen fears of those who in recent times attempted to spill the band's sacred blood. For when 'Into Glory Ride' confronts the 'False Metal' rabble presently spreading malignantly across the landscape, the revenge of the raucous righteous will be complete. There can only be one winner as the Mannish warriors strike unerringly at the foolhardy who laud mediocrity as being praiseworthy.

Comparisons are obviously gonna be made with last year's debut. And on all counts this is such a vast improvement. The material is tighter and sharper, whilst the band perform with even more dedication and fervour than was evident on their debut (good though it was). And the production quality is consistently strong, never flagging as the texture reaches Wagnerian proportions.

Sure, I will admit to being perplexed by the rather silly snippet of dialogue and (ahem) ecstatic noises that start this all off. Coming across like a poor soft-porn Italian/American soap opera, it has no real place here. But, that's a minor moan, and once 'Warlord' revs into gear, with new drumbeat renegade Scott Columbus setting up a pounding fusilade of rhythms, the action never drops. A paean to the biker fraternity, it reduces Saxon's pathetique 'Motorcycle Man' to the level of the 'Blue Peter Theme'. 'Ride, ride, ride, I'm the warlord of the road' roars vocalist Eric Adams (maybe that should have been woad!), revelling in the imagery.

Adams really comes into his own, though, during 'Secret Of Steel' and 'Gates Of Valhalla', both of which are slower than 'Warlord', but evince exactly the right tone of mystical mayhem to suit his tempestuously barbaric voice. Lines such as 'the sceptre of iron . . . the shield of gold . . . and the great sword of steel' might come across as rather silly comic-strip mythology on paper, but, believe me, on vinyl they throb with vibrant emotion. And 'Gloves Of Metal' (side one's other cut), presumably dedicated to Manowar's growing, blessed batallion of foot soldiers (fans, to you an' me), is a cracking, floor-shaking anthem.

But, wait! What's this? Side two is incredibly, even better! 'Hatred' spits forth so much venom that it gives off the definite glow of being forged in fury. The combination of Ross The Boss's guitar rage (swooping from 'Dazed & Confused' style pandemonium to a diabolically disorientating fun-fair carousel) with Adam's insanely operatic yelps proves thoroughly unnerving. I suspect certain employees of EMI America should check up on their life insurance policies!

'Revelatation (Death's Angel)' and 'March For Revenge (By The Soldiers Of Death') are truly glorious symphonies of melodrama, savage steel and immortal heroism, riding hard under the cloak of 'black wind'. No Metal tracks have ever come closer in terms of feel and expert execution in matching Wagner's supreme 'Ring Cycle'.

Of course, the absence of 'Defender' (featuring another awesome Orson monologue) is a disappointment. But with such a breadth and depth of monumental material herein, no-one is gonna complain at such an ommission.

Manowar were born to rule. 'Into Glory Ride' makes that point majestically clear.

Reviewed by
MALCOLM DOME

Kerrang! 47 ] [ Into Glory Ride ]

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