"HEAVY METAL! OR NO METAL AT ALL! Wimps and Posers, leave the hall!" - Manowar, "Metal Warriors"

"I pledge you my sword, and to no man I kneel. Ours is the kingdom, OF STEEL!!!!!" - Manowar, "The Crown and the Ring"

"Mmmm... mmnnh... ohh... ohhh... oohhhhh... oohhh.... mmm... shh! wait! listen! - HEY! WHAT'S THIS SUPPOSED TO BE?!?! SHE'S ONLY SIXTEEN!!!!!" - Manowar, "Warlord"

"Kill all those who stand against you, look into their eyes, drink their blood and laugh, as they pay for all their lies. Piss upon their graves, and cast the final spell, ride into the night, and one day meet in hell!" - Manowar, "The Power"

"If I should fall in battle, my brothers who stand by my side. Gather my horse and weapons, tell my family how I died. Until then I shall be strong, I shall fight for all that is real. ALL WHO STAND IN MY WAY WILL DIE, BY STEEEELLLLL!!!!!!" - Manowar, "Warriors of the World"

"RIP THEIR FLESH! BURN THEIR HEARTS! STAB THEM IN THE EYE! Rape their women as they cry! Ahahahahaha!" - Manowar, "Hail & Kill"

Manowar are a heavy metal band who were the loudest band in the world in 1984, 1990, 1995, and (arguably) 2008. They were in the Guinness Book of Records over it. They are also in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest single metal concert ever, at 5 hours 1 minute. As well as being loud, they also are wholeheartedly politically incorrect, with such lyrics as those mentioned above, and truly an awe-inspiring sight live, or so I'm informed, as I've never seen them live on account of they only ever seem to tour in Germany, Greece, Eastern Europe, and South America. Either this is because those regions are culturally 20 years' behind everyone else (according to wanky music critics) or because Britain and America are slowly becoming populated with wanky music critics, take your pick.

Formed in 1980, they consist of Joey DeMaio on bass, Eric Adams on vox, Karl Logan (formerly Ross the Boss) on guitar, and David Shankle (formerly Scott Columbus) on drums. Therefore, as of this writeup, they've been crushing posers and charging around on stage in tight leathers for 30 years and making almost three generations of teenage heshers question their sexuality. Ho Yay.

Manowar are more metal than you. Their material ranges from 1970s styley hard-rockin' numbers involving motorbikes ("Warlord," "Metal Daze," "All Men Play On Ten" - this was before Spinal Tap and was surely the inspiration for going up to eleven), to balls to the wall face-melting double-speed bonecrushers ("The Power," "The Dawn of Battle," "Black Wind, Fire, and Steel"), anthemic hymns to metal and crushing posers ("Gloves of Metal," "Brothers of Metal," "Metal Warriors," "Kings of Metal"), and then stuff that's just them showing off, because once you get past all the molten mozzarella they're actually really good musicians ("The Crown and the Ring," "My Spirit Lives On," "Sting of the Bumblebee" - yes, that's an entirely bass guitar cover of "Flight of the Bumblebee".) Their imagery is proudly silly and belt hitching and testosterone poisoned. The cover to their 1992 album The Triumph of Steel features the quintessential Frank Frazetta-style faceless champion being bowed down to by nearly nude demon women, and Hail to England, the first appearance of Frazetta Man on their album covers, has him being leg-clinged by more chained naked slave girls. And the cover to Kings of Metal was wholeheartedly lifted as the title screen to the Amiga platform game "Turrican." Yeah. Other platformers jump, TURRICAN KILLS! Sorry.

Manowar's fans are I. almost exclusively male, II. most often found drunk, III. are completely aware of what people are saying about them, but don't care, and IV. NEVER have the godlike physique of the faceless Manowar Champion adorning the fronts of their albums. Female Manowarriors tend to be even more raucous than their male counterparts. But then again, women distract one from the nobler pursuits of METAL, LEATHER, SPIKES, and CHAINS and parading round in leather pants while doing that fist-clutching gesture above the head that's impossible to describe but that you know when you see it.

Manowar's merchandise includes the "Warrior's Shield" branded condom. I am not making this up. I have recently also found out that X Factor-spawned pretty boys JLS also have branded condoms as part of their merch to try and get Young People into safe sex and is called "Just Love Safe." I think this comparison is the clearest illustration of the difference between fucking and making love extant - Simon Cowell's munchkins make love, safely, whereas Manowarriors fuck like they're going into battle. (Hmmm, that's a slogan, or part thereof... "Eat like every meal's a banquet. Drink like every flagon's your last. Fuck like you're going into battle." One could do worse than live by such, methinks.)

Manowar also have a bit of a following amongst Goreans, though the reason for this should be obvious, they sing about battles and victory and ten thousand side by side, then vigorously "rescuing" Queen Zenobia of Palmyra from the clutches of... whoever she's fallen into the clutches of, and you KNOW she'll be thoroughly grateful for that.

Yes, but why might you actually want to listen to their stuff? Because it's INDEFINABLY BRILLIANT, that's why. They do seem to have lost the plot a bit in the last few years, though, and the latest albums of theirs I do not care for but still recognise their quality. In any event, here's my synopsis of their stuff.

  • Battle Hymns, 1982. Their first offering. It's basically 70s-style metal with the first lashings of 1980s extravagance thrown onto it. There's a song about motorbikes, a song about the band, a song about Vietnam, a bass cover of William Tell, and then there is the title track, which sets the tone for the rest of their stuff. To be fair this album is a great one for getting all your hard rock fencesitters into the brotherhood of metal. And also... a guest appearance by Orson Welles. Yes. That Orson Welles.
  • Into Glory Ride, 1983. Now we're talking! The cover art features the band in furs and loincloths with weapons looking silly, the initial track opens with Eric Adams deflowering someone's daughter before riding away "in the fast lane, on a chopped up Harley D", and the rest of it is all completely awesome, "Secret of Steel" and "Gloves of Metal" are particularly brilliant, and the latter of which has a truly ropy yet hilarious video to it and is also a staple of theirs ever since. It was also the first album to feature Scott Columbus on drums, he of the kit-crushing ferocity.
  • Hail to England, 1984. A wee bit ropy in places, but features "Bridge of Death," and "Hail to England," both of which show off Eric Adams' vocal range for fun and profit.
  • Sign of the Hammer, 1985. This was recorded in a huge rush after Hail to England, allegedly as a contractual fulfilment, however, it is a better album in my view. The opening song, "All Men Play on Ten," is basically sticking it to the industry for whatever reason (and there are many, The Man never wants you to espouse True Metal of Steel). "Thor (The Powerhead)" is another of their many Norse themed songs, and "Mountains" is one that grows on you and has a remarkably inspirational message, in my view anyhow. Also, they have a song about Jonestown - "We thank you for the Kool Aid, reverend Jim." Win.
  • Fighting the World, 1987. I think this is probably their weakest album, on balance, although it does have "Black Wind, Fire, and Steel" which traditionally closes their live performances. Also has the rather unintentionally comic "Blow Your Speakers" and "Kill with Power."
  • Kings of Metal, 1988. Their best work. Every song on this album (with the exception of the unintentionally hilarious narration "The Warrior's Prayer") is made of true win of steel. "Wheels of Fire" is about riding a motorbike really, really, fast and feeling that "my blood's nitroglycerine - ON FIRE!". "Kings of Metal" - other bands play, MANOWAR KILL! "Heart of Steel" is another inspirational number about never, ever, surrendering your principles. "The Crown and the Ring" was recorded in a cathedral and, despite having no shredding, riffing, bass solos, or manic drums of destruction, gets an entire morass of headbangers doing that fist-grasping gesture I referred to earlier. "Hail & Kill" would have single-handedly justified a ten-foot tall Tipper Sticker if Manowar were insufficiently metal to have resisted it, as it features lines such as "Kill their servants! Burn their homes! Till there's no blood left to spill!" and "May your sword stay wet, like a young girl in her prime. Hold your hammers high!" (Sometimes a hammer is just a hammer though). And "Blood of the Kings" is indescribably ace and overrun with molten mozzarella goodness. GET THIS ALBUM if you don't get any other Manowar album.
  • The Triumph of Steel, 1992. Manowar's response to the rise of grundge and the 1990s and self-pity as fashionable was to do an album whose entire A-side was taken up with a 28-minute long destined never to end epyllion about the Trojan War called "Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts." Unfortunately this crosses the line from brilliance into just plain annoyingness. I can't remember ever listening to this song in full. The rest of the album is pretty cool. "The Power Of Thy Sword" and "The Demon's Whip" stick out nicely, and "Master of the Wind" actually did help me through some rather sad times a number of years back but more on that in another node. Also the first album with Karl Logan on guitars.
  • Louder than Hell, 1996. This album is, and it's basically more of the same really. It's the same Manowar formula but executed exceptionally well. It sags a bit in the middle but other than that is all round quality. By this time the band are starting to show their age somewhat but they kind of admit it in the opening song, "Return of the Warlords" which is slightly a sequel to "Warlord" from Into Glory Ride. Whereas in "Warlord" Eric Adams was a cheeky young buck who shagged someone's daughter, got caught, and rode off on a big cruiser bike, in this one he's kind of aware that he's too old for this sort of thing but still doing it and you can "kiss {his} ass if you don't like it - {he} don't care," and mention is made that the bike out in the yard, that's his wife (and it probably is - Eric Adams is allegedly a massive bike bore.) The last track on the album, "The Power," is also one of their best songs overall and is so gleefully unrepentant. See the quote at the top of this writeup.
  • Warriors of the World, 2002. Hmmm, they are starting to lose it here. Once you've heard "Nessun Dorma," "Warriors of the World," and "An American Trilogy" that's about it. I will also mention "The Dawn of Battle" which was shunted onto a single a year later but which should have been on here, quite frankly, it's up there with "Gloves of Metal" and "Hail & Kill" and "Black Wind, Fire, and Steel" quite frankly.
  • Gods of War, 2007. The first in a series of concept albums about the Norse gods, this one's about Odin. "Sleipnir" is kick-ass, and most of the rest of it is solid, but THOSE ANNOYING SPOKEN INTERLUDES! NO! LOSE THEM! A bit embarrassing, though, is "Die for Metal" which seems to be an attempt at recreating "All Men Play on Ten" or "Warriors of the World" but which falls flat. Sorry.
  • Hammer of the Gods, 2011? The advance EP, "Thunder in the Sky" is out but there's no sign of this at all still... though if the advance EP is anything to go by this should be pretty hot stuff!

I don't think I can say much more quite frankly. I don't care if it's cheesy or "outdated" or "juvenile," it rules. You can keep your Britpop inoffensive lager lout themes and your pretentious indie bollox for floppy-haired pseudointellectuals, and you can stuff your autotuned half-rap up your arse. Manowar is brilliant because they're outdated and juvenile. Come on now. If I had children there's more inspiration and worthwhile values in some of the stuff Manowar goes on about - I mean the bits that go "stand and fight, say what you feel" and "With dreams to be a king first one must be a man. I call them out and charge them all with a life that is a lie!" and "Here the four winds know who will break and who will bend!" rather than the bits about slaying posers, seeing them flee before you and hearing the lamentations of the women - than most of what passes for popular music today. Seriously.

Therefore I'll leave you with this - THE MANOWAR DRINKING GAME OF STEEL. Put in to the player your favourite Manowar album. Gather friends. Take a shot every time the word "Metal," "False," "Death," "Steel, "True," "Warriors," or "Power" comes up. The winner is the last one to die of alcohol poisoning.


(This is node 6 of my 30 IRON NODES. Of course, this is strictly a NODE OF STEEL so should count as 1.5 IRON NODES but them's the breaks.)