I’m glad to see that the so-called Kings of Metal have finally unleashed a new studio album. I’d say that two 2-CD live albums in a row was plenty of live stuff for the next decade or so. On with the review. The first song, “Call to Arms,” is classic Manowar, and a damn fine way to start things off. This seems to be something of a concept album about freedom and liberty. Sounds good so far. But then the second track, “The Fight for Freedom,” gets started… And I wish it hadn’t. Piano, I know, is not utterly unknown to Manowar, but I’ve always loathed the wimpier side of this band… At least this sappy song is interspersed with bits of heaviness. Not so for the entirely wimpy “Nessun Dorma,” which wouldn’t even have counted as a “power ballad” in 1987. Things stay as flaccid as a Dairy Queen soft serve vanilla cone in the middle of August for the next two songs, almost as if the ‘war men were afraid to really let loose for some reason. What happened to “All men play on ten”?!? And then comes “American Trilogy,” and sanity itself is completely abandoned as the former champions of “Violence and Bloodshed” break into a mind-numbing (and I mean that in the worst possible way) rendition of “Dixie” (along with a couple other old chestnuts). I wish that were a joke. Or a typo. Or anything but the most unintentionally funny thing I’ve ever heard! Is the other half of the album any better? Somewhat. And at least things end on a strong note with the relatively intense “Fight Until We Die.” But, despite a few good songs, this is probably the weakest, wimpiest Manowar album ever.
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