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Manowar - "Kings Of Metal MMXIV" (CD)

Manowar - "Kings Of Metal MMXIV" CD cover image

"Kings Of Metal MMXIV" track listing:

CD 1:
1. Hail and Kill MMXIV
2. Kings of Metal MMXIV
3. The Heart of Steel MMXIV (Acoustic Intro Version)
4. A Warrior's Prayer MMXIV
5. The Blood of the Kings MMXIV
6. Thy Kingdom Come MMXIV
7. The Sting of the Bumblebee MMXIV
8. Thy Crown and Thy Ring MMXIV (Orchestral Version)
9. On Wheels of Fire MMXIV
10. Thy Crown and Thy Ring MMXIV (Metal Version)
11. The Heart of Steel MMXIV (Guitar Instrumental)

CD 2 (Instrumental Versions):
1. Hail and Kill MMXIV
2. Kings of Metal MMXIV
3. The Heart of Steel MMXIV (Orchestral Intro Version)
4. The Blood of the Kings MMXIV
5. Thy Kingdom Come MMXIV
6. Thy Crown and Thy Ring MMXIV (Orchestral Version)
7. On Wheels of Fire MMXIV

Reviewed by on May 20, 2014

"The only great cheese that oozes from 'KOM XIV' is from all the vulnerabilities exposed from a band that used to be one of the best in the business."

This brings me no joy to say, for I have truly never uttered these words to any other band before, even if I felt it in my “heart of steel.” If there was ever a sign that a band should hang it up and retire to other endeavors – it would be when you try to justify any reason on Odin’s green Valhalla why you need to tinker with an already perfect album. As a lifelong avid Manowar fan, one triumphantly let down by the release of “The Lord of Steel,” the only original material released by the band in the last five years, but carelessly bookended by the amazingly useless re-recordings of “Battle Hymns” and “Kings of Metal.” I let the first one go, because one can easily make a case for “Battle Hymns” just for production values alone, however, the original is still far superior.

But “Kings of Metal?” There isn’t a more perfect slice of cheese on any pizza or burger in the universe…so why? Even if you believe any reason that comes out of Auburn and go along with this senseless plan, praise Odin…don’t make it worse! If Manowar only used this time lost in continuing the long abandoned plan of Norse god albums following the wrongly criticized “Gods of War,” the band wouldn’t need to cancel shows or charge ridiculous prices! Why Joey….WHY?

The last time an album caused instantaneous regurgitation in my mouth, it was with the once heroic turned egotistical loser Geoff Tate. The great “warriors of true metal,” who slayed all that opposed and literally forced posers to leave the hall, have resorted to merely reliving past glory, but failing miserably to exert an ounce of the pristine beauty unleashed in 1988. Even if you take away the fact that the band was 25 years younger at the time of the original creation AND get beyond the fact that the band has all but abandoned creation of new original music, there is little to drive the necessity to redo the production and sound completely – unless there was an issue with rights to the original. If this had to do with the “Atlantic effect” (the same thing that plagued Twisted Sister), then I can half understand the need, however, I have not heard that in all of the lead up to the release – which was dubbed a “25th Anniversary” of the album.

For if this is merely another re-recording cop out, then “Kings of Metal MMXIV” would not be the way it should be done. Again, taking away the age factor – can you forgive the slower pace (“Kings of Metal” sounds a click lower), the changes in the intros (“A Warrior’s Prayer” – a pretentious and cringingly bad acted rendition of a classic done by the great Arthur Pendragon Wilshire), leaving the metronome IN the entire and completely different take on “The Sting of the Bumblebee,” and adding a horrible new lyric rhyme in order to add 17 new countries in the roll call of “The Blood of the Kings?” The age factor may just be the only forgivable part of this whole project, even if it means that Eric Adams – one of my all-time favorite singers – is reduced to merely speaking some of the vocals with half the range. The “unveiling” of Karl Logan’s guitar interpretations of the classic album only serves to embolden the greatness of the Ross the Boss version even more (seriously…”On Wheels of Fire” sounds hollow). The goal here isn’t to make the cheesiest metal the shittiest metal! There is a difference: cheese is endearing and tasty, while shit is foul and horrible.

So get beyond the lack of original material….horribly acted intro pieces….badly played guitar parts….a pace that is a step below the original…annoying the listener with a click track on an equally disturbing rendition of a classic instrumental….and congratulations: you just won a completely useless re-recording by a band that shows its age by trying to recapture a period of time long past. Had there just been a proper sequel to “Gods of War” the age could be compensated by some good original metal. Instead, the only great cheese that oozes from “KOM XIV” is from all of vulnerabilities exposed from a band that used to be one of the best in the business.

Highs: Not a whole lot here that isn't light years worse than a 1988 classic.

Lows: The pace is slower, the performance is subpar...and the metronome left in is inexcusable.

Bottom line: A travesty of justice is committed against one of the most endearing metal albums of all time.

Rated 1.5 out of 5 skulls
1.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)