Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Manowar - Into Glory Ride

6/10

You know, for all the talk about Manowar being homoerotic, not much of that comes out in their actual music. Okay, their stage costumes and album covers are definitely gay as all hell, but their lyrics really aren't gay at all. There are a few exceptions, of course, including their 29-minute "Achilles: Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts," but that's more due to the source material than their input. And then there's this album's "Gloves of Metal," which contains the line "We wear leather! We wear spikes!" I can't defend that at all.
The songs on "Into Glory Ride" are really long, with an average length of over six minutes. I just can't shake the feeling that something's missing with these songs, like Manowar were still a little scared to go to the self-parodic heights of later material on some songs. Some of the songs definitely could have been cut down a little without losing anything; I think the sophomore slump, which leads to a band having trouble writing new material quickly, led to Ross and DeMaio stretching out songs beyond their intended length to fill time by playing them too slowly and adding unnecessary sections. The production's also rough in a way that I didn't find appealing, although I did like the way they didn't even try to hide the squeaky bass pedal near the end of "Gates of Valhalla". The only real improvement over "Battle Hymns" that I can see is the addition of Scott Columbus, whose drumming fits this kind of material a lot better than the other guy's did. Manowar was still developing on this album.

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