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Sunday Old School: Manowar

Some bands play heavy metal music. Others embody it in every possible way. Perhaps the best example of the latter would be a group who formed in Auburn, New York in 1979. A band by the name of Manowar. Fittingly enough for a group so devoted to heavy metal, the seeds of the band were sewn on the touring cycle for metal godfathers, Black Sabbath, who were supporting their album, “Heaven and Hell” at the time. Their bass tech and fireworks manager, Joey DeMaio got talking to former Dictators guitarist, Ross Friedman (AKA Ross the Boss,) who was then performing with Black Sabbath’s support group, Shakin’ Street. They became friends quickly and decided to form their own band, rounding out the lineup just after the tour by adding drummer Carl Canedy and DeMaio’s former classmate, Eric Adams on vocals. They began by performing covers before moving on to craft their own brand of metal, eventually crafting their first demo, "Demo 1981," their only recording with Canedy, who left soon after and was replaced by Donnie Hamzik, a native of Poland. He joined at a fortunate time, as Manowar soon signed their first record deal with Liberty Records, with whom they released their debut album, "Battle Hymns," in August of 1982. The eight song record was perhaps most notable for the inclusion of acting great, Orson Welles who performed the narration on the song, "Dark Avenger." They promoted the album by joining controversial hard rocker Ted Nugent on tour as his support act, but the partnership wasn’t the most fruitful and the young metal act soon arranged their own North American tour, as well as their first gigs in Europe, where they found particular favour in Germany and Great Britain. These tours proved too much for Hamzik, who decided to leave the group upon returning to America and Manowar soon found their third drummer in Scott Columbus.

Along with a new drummer, the band found themselves a new label after parting ways with Liberty. They signed with Megaforce Records for their North American releases and caused a stir on the other side of the Atlantic when they signed a European deal with Music For Nations in their own blood. They began recording their sophomore effort immediately afterwards, releasing an EP named, "Defender," (it’s title track featuring another collaboration with Orson Welles,) before releasing their second full length, "Into Glory Ride." The album was a big hit with metal fans the world over due to the more adventurous nature of the music and the group planned to tour extensively in support of the album, paying particular attention to the United Kingdom, though they would ultimately be forced to cancel their British shows. To make up for the disappointment they caused their English fans, they titled their third album, "Hail to England," which, as one might expect, gained them an even larger fan base in the title country. The album was recorded and mixed in under a week but was instantly hailed as their best work, going on to be regarded as the pinnacle of their "classic" lineup by many fans. They teamed up with Danish black metal pioneers, Mercyful Fate for a number of shows, where they were initially serving as support, before audience reaction bumped them up to the headline position.

The support they received from the fans encouraged the group to return to the studio to work on their next album, "Sign of the Hammer," which was released a mere ten months after, "Hail to England," on a new label, Ten Records. Its slower paced songs weren’t quite as well received as their previous effort by critics, but nevertheless, the record became their biggest selling album up to that point, allowing the band to embark on a two year jaunt in support of the effort. After taking 1986 off, they signed their first major record label deal with Atlantic Records, releasing the album, "Fighting the World" in 1987, which was the first heavy metal album to be recorded solely with digital equipment. It contained a re-recorded version of the song, "Defender," which retained the speech recorded by the now deceased Orson Welles and was received very well overall. They achieved even greater success the next year when they released their sixth album, "Kings of Metal," which went on to become their highest selling album to date. Such was the popularity of the album that they toured in support of the record for almost three years. However, it would prove to be the end of an era for the band, as DeMaio decided to fire Ross the Boss at the end of the tour, his place being taken by David Shankle, before Scott Columbus also decided to quit the band, though he did choose his replacement, Kenny Earl "Rhino" Edwards.

This new incarnation of Manowar recorded, "Triumph of Steel" in 1992, releasing it in September of that year. Despite the absence of two key members, the record was well received and was praised for its ambitious endeavours, including a twenty eight minute piece entitled, "Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts." It would prove to be the only effort recorded with Shankle, who decided to leave the band after the two year tour, his place being taken by Karl Logan, who made his recording debut with the band on the 1996 album, "Louder Than Hell," along with the returning Scott Columbus. The album sold well, despite some criticisms of the more simple material.

It would be six years before they released a new studio album, the time being filled by the release of their first live albums, "Hell on Wheels" and "Hell on Stage," as well as a new compilation album entitled, "Anthology." However, in 2002, the band finally released, "Warriors of the World," which along with new material, featured tributes to the German composer, Wagner and American rock and roll icon, Elvis Presley. They toured for years in support of the new album, causing them to miss out on the chance to record new material, though they made up for this with no less than three DVD releases. Eventually, Manowar were able to enter the studio and released their tenth studio album, “Gods of War” through their own record label, Magic Circle Music in 2007. As always, they performed tirelessly to promote their new album, most notably performing a show which lasted two nights in Europe, before releasing a new EP entitled, "Thunder in the Sky."

In 2010, it was revealed that Columbus was once again out of the band, his place being taken by original drummer, Donnie Hamzik, whose first foray back into the studio with the band was a re-recording of the debut effort, "Battle Hymns" named, "Battle Hymns MMXI," but shortly afterwards the group were hit by the sad news that Scott Columbus had passed away. The band released their most recent album (and the first to feature Hamzik which didn’t include the words "battle hymns" in the title,) "Lord of Steel" in 2012, which was more of a straight forward heavy metal record than the symphonic elements they’d implemented on "Gods of War." Just over a week ago, the band announced their next intention was to be another re-recording, this time of their classic 1988 album, "Kings of Metal," which will feature one of Britain’s most beloved actors, Brian Blessed. With their new record due out by the end of the year, along with a tour to promote it in 2014, Manowar will once again be seeking to show the world why they are one of the biggest cult favourites in a genre that they truly live and breathe.

Manowar - "Battle Hymn"

Manowar - "Gloves of Metal"

Manowar - "Hail To England"

Manowar - "Hail and Kill"

Manowar - "Return of the Warlord"

Manowar - "Warriors of the World"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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37 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Manowar"

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Anonymous Reader
1. anonymous writes:

they formed in 1979, not '89

# Aug 4, 2013 @ 10:32 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

2. Diamond Oz writes:

Clearly a mistake. Corrected now. Thanks for the heads up.

# Aug 4, 2013 @ 10:37 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
americanpatriot1's avatar

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3. americanpatriot1 writes:

Gayest band...ever. I simply cannot see why they are as big as they are.

# Aug 4, 2013 @ 12:08 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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4. brandedcfh420 writes:

people like the band because of the "tribal" vibe of brotherhood........metalheads are shunned and through the music we are together....UNITY!!

# Aug 4, 2013 @ 2:31 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

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5. R10 writes:

Those who think these guys are the "gayest band ever" certainly haven't stood in a venue and heard 1000+ people sing the chorus of "Metal Daze". Incredible live band. While i like thier first half dozen or so releases the best, they still got my respect, they do it thier way, release thier own stuff on thier own label, and continue to sell tickets. And Eric Adams is easily one of the best vocalists in metal period! Good tribute on these legends.

# Aug 4, 2013 @ 3:56 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
6. ssdd_69 writes:

Was never into these guys, but I'm sure they're much better that the GnR thing they did last week! Sorry I'm still not over it, I just f***ing hate that band!

# Aug 5, 2013 @ 1:29 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. Frank writes:

Been a Manowar fan since 1987 here in America. I don't understand why some people consider them cheesy. They are great composers.

# Aug 5, 2013 @ 2:57 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
8. $hrap writes:

Fantastic lead singer, amazing live performances (seen 'em twice) and their early albums are easily some of the greatest pieces of work in the history of metal.

30+ years of uncompromising, unrelenting metal. Manowar have never given in to the ignorant haters who still to this day use the same, worn out "gay" and "loin cloths" jokes in a lame attempt to defame this band.

Manowar are an awesome band. Anyone who thinks they are gay need to wash their f***ing ears out and do some f***ing heavy metal homework.

# Aug 5, 2013 @ 12:29 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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9. americanpatriot1 writes:

Saw them live, gave them a chance, and I still don't like them. So guess what? Eat a moderately sized one $hrap.

# Aug 5, 2013 @ 4:18 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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10. americanpatriot1 writes:

Furthermore, if my metalness comes into question, go to the forums under the "Now Playing" thread, and see the stuff I spin. Asshat.

# Aug 5, 2013 @ 4:21 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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11. brandedcfh420 writes:

^^I always do love when religious people who hate to be judged call others names....so hilarious.....

# Aug 5, 2013 @ 5:36 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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12. americanpatriot1 writes:

Who said I was religious? I think you just pulled that comment out of your a$$ Branded.

# Aug 5, 2013 @ 8:26 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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13. brandedcfh420 writes:

well, you said you were christian in the past thats why i said it....

# Aug 6, 2013 @ 8:39 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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14. americanpatriot1 writes:

Doesn't mean I'm religious. I'm not overly fond of "religious" people. Jimmy Swaggert is religious, and look how he turned out.

# Aug 6, 2013 @ 9:23 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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15. brandedcfh420 writes:

if thats how you look at it

# Aug 6, 2013 @ 10:36 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

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16. R10 writes:

Wasn't Swaggert the preacher man who got caught picking up homosexual prostitutes? Seem to remember him balling and making a fool out of himself, asking to be forgived. And then you got the nut that locked himself in the 900 ft. tower refusing to come down until he recieved a million dollars from his flock. Crazy sh*t.

# Aug 6, 2013 @ 11:08 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
americanpatriot1's avatar

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17. americanpatriot1 writes:

Swaggert was female prostitutes, but I know of the other guy you're talking about. Anyhoo...Manowar is still gay.

# Aug 6, 2013 @ 12:11 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
cbella's avatar

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18. cbella writes:

Great article Oz!

Manowar r REALLY popular here!
I don't know how many Manowar songs have been used for 300 movie tribute videos on youtube but it's quite impressive!

They r kind of a guilty pleasure of mine that I only listen to in in the privacy of my room whilst doing a lot of fist-clenching and power stances!

# Aug 6, 2013 @ 1:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

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19. hellrat writes:

well, even I'd listen to manowar if it was in Bella's room with the power stances...mmm hmmm, most certainly! ;)

# Aug 6, 2013 @ 2:20 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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20. Drum_Junkie writes:

Whoa! First read of your comment, cbella, and I thought you said power-clenching and fisting stances. Good thing I read that twice. LOL

Manowar can be an acquired taste. I only have their Triumph of Steel album and I like most of the songs. Achilles was epic, but then the next track is the cheesy Metal Warriors. They're hit and miss.

# Aug 6, 2013 @ 3:02 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
cbella's avatar

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21. cbella writes:

Hellrat ;)

LMAO

Going on the Manowar 'Anthology' cover, "power-clenching" & "fisting stances" r right on the money!

# Aug 6, 2013 @ 3:11 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
22. HMRok writes:

You know what's ten tons more gay than Manowar? Orange T-shirts. And combined with really gay non-metal As I Lay Dying, Life of Agony, As They Sleep, new Sepultura, Gossow-era Arch Enemy, Depeche Mode, Linkin Park, and Tool, orange T-shirt becomes gayer than Paul Stanley wearing Blackie Lawless' assless chaps and f***ing Gary Glitter while oiling up Joey DiMaio--a sorry-ass clusterf*** that even a doze of real metal like Coroner is powerless against. Get back in your glass house.

# Aug 14, 2013 @ 11:21 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
23. HMRok writes:

"We met on English ground, in the backstage room we heard the sound"--Ross the Boss and DeMaio met in 1980 on "Heaven and Hell " tour under the circumstances stated in the article.

# Aug 15, 2013 @ 12:04 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

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24. brandedcfh420 writes:

well, TOOL are not gay, IMO.....

# Aug 15, 2013 @ 9:30 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
25. HMRok writes:

Gay in a sober prison sex way. Butthurt music.

# Aug 15, 2013 @ 5:38 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

26. Cynic writes:

Oh f*** yeah, Manowar forever!

RIP Scott Columbus, god damn he's hilarious in that "Gloves of Metal" video.

# Aug 16, 2013 @ 3:40 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar

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27. brandedcfh420 writes:

ahhaahahaha, i guess rok has to spew homosexual comments to feel manly about his girly self.......

# Aug 16, 2013 @ 7:35 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
28. HMRok writes:

Yes, that's it, that's clearly why I got involved. And you probably mean "homophobic", my tool-loving friend.

# Aug 16, 2013 @ 8:55 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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29. brandedcfh420 writes:

no i meant homosexual, because the word "gay" was used repeatedly. and yes, i do like the band TOOL. what are some of your fave bands since you seem to know about true metal?!

# Aug 16, 2013 @ 9:14 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
30. HMRok writes:

The word "gay" was used repeatedly way earlier, when the gay pot was calling the kettle gay, hence my retort.

I most favor pre-XXI century music: Sabbath, Purple (w/Blackmore), 70s Rainbow, Priest, 70s Heep, Motorhead, Maiden, AC/DC, 70s UFO, Scorpions, Accept, Riot, Mercyful Fate, Cirith Ungol...old Nazareth, G. Moore, Budgie, More, 80s Helstar, classic Omen, Metal Church, 1st 3 Fates Warning, Exciter, classic Candlemass, Pentagram, St. Vitus, old German and Swizz thrash, old Metal Blade/Roadrunner/Noise rosters, old Running Wild, Grave Digger, Risk, Rage, Mania, and Helloween, old Venom, pre-mid-90s Bathory, Sabbat (UK), old Artillery and Heathen, Deathwish, old (pre-91) Slayer and Metallica, old Possessed, orig.NWOBHM, etc., to satisfy your curiosity with but a few, and, obviously, old Manowar is in there somewhere--basically, Heavy Metal Rock...Now, if you excuse me, I'm off to put a rainbow band-aid on my bruised ego.

# Aug 16, 2013 @ 5:34 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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31. brandedcfh420 writes:

The only bands listed that are worth anything are motorhead, priest, maiden and sabbath...........

# Aug 16, 2013 @ 6:04 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

32. Cynic writes:

@HMRok - I'll always be a Manilla Road fan more but Omen's debut is awesome.

# Aug 16, 2013 @ 7:18 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
33. HMRok writes:

Pre-break up (80s) Manilla Road stuff is killer, you bet. Just one of more than a hundred bands that put out true metal music. Check out Attack from Germany (ex: "Destinies of War" and "Revitalize") and Angus from Holland ("Track of Doom") if you're into epic 80s metal ala Maiden/Dio.

# Aug 16, 2013 @ 8:23 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

34. Cynic writes:

I know about Angus, haven't heard Attack so cheers.

# Aug 16, 2013 @ 9:28 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Overlord's avatar

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35. Overlord writes:

Comments were...

...entertaining?

Seriously though, if you think Manowar is gay you lack sexual confidence.

# Aug 18, 2013 @ 4:34 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

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36. R10 writes:

No, if you think Manowar are "gay", you know next to nothing about metal, and it doesn't matter what you listen to in the "forums" . Pretty sad, the way this thread progressed.

# Aug 18, 2013 @ 5:43 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

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37. hellrat writes:

^heh, exactly bigR...mano aint my fave by any stretch, but I give props where they are due, and they've earned it, despite the somewhat misapropriated stigmas of burden

HRok, thanks for the list, several there I ain't heard, but will look into...best part about this place is learning about new (to me) music...intrigued by some of your "gay" suggestions, based on the rest which I am familiar with and generally like quite well...guess that would make me a poof in the eyes of certains here eh? :)

Oh, and well done once again, Oz mate...cheers

NP---Barracuda---Alice in Chains/Nancy Wilson featuring Gretchen Wilson on vox \m/

# Aug 21, 2013 @ 1:08 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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