Review Summary: May your swords be wet like a young girl in her prime. RAISE YOUR HAMMERS HIGHHHHHHHHHHHHH
When the dudes from Manowar oil themselves up and don loin cloths while spending more time lifting weights than practicing their instruments, it’s only because they want you to know they are the kings of metal and are the only true metal band that has ever played Heavy Goddamn Metal. It might be ironic they are so ridiculously cut (or at least they used to be) when about 98.8 percent of their fans are fat sweaty virgins who like to say things like “IN A FORTNIGHT YOU SHALL TASTE MY STEEL AND RUE THE DAY I GRANT YOU THE PLEASENTRY OF ASKING YOUR NAME BEFORE I RUN YOU THROUGH” while ferociously masturbating over their level 80 character in World of Warcraft, and it’s clear Manowar owe the entirety of their awesomeness to the sheer might of medieval cheese. Every Manowar album pleasantly mentions essential things like fire, steel, wind, hammers, pillaging, thunder, how their enemies are going to die by steel, how they are the only true sons of Odin and are prepared to die before him, horses and whirlwinds of doom, mauling stuff, feasting on mutton, how each time an enemy drinks an ale before riding towards them it will absolutely be their last, how they are the only ones who can properly pleasure conquered house wenches, and exactly how much ass they kick, but “Kings of Metal” is the absolute apex of their mantra and quest for metal domination.
“Kings of Metal” is easily Manowar’s cheesiest album but ironically is one of the few that can overcome the campiness and be legitimately enjoyed on the merits of the music itself (at least sometimes). “Hail and Kill” is all about brothers raising their hammers high before besting their foes and raping charlatans, but its tradeoff of melody and the ferocious guitar work of Ross “The Boss” Friedman cement its status as one of the greatest power metal songs ever. “The Crown and the Ring (Lament of Kings)” is essentially a chorus chant that would make any stalwart Peter Jackson fan cream their pants in mega-nerd ecstasy, but only because it would make a better accompaniment for a Lord of the Rings battle or any other scenario where there’s a dork orgy of orcs, goblins and trolls than any other piece of music written in history. “Blood of the Kings” and “Kings of Metal” are probably Manowar’s signature pieces, the former describing the earth drinking much blood from kings slain by Manowar’s steel carried by a nut curdling wail from singer Eric Adams, and the latter positioning a sing-along chorus that establishes the depths and certainly of Manowar’s complete domination of the metal world. “The Warrior’s Prayer” is a ridiculously bad Orson Welles-esque narrative about battle axes, spiked clubs, and how the four dudes from Manowar annhilated 18 armies singlehandedly, but it wins points for allowing every guild leader in every online dork game ever to practice their medieval voice inflections/villain speeches while commanding their underlings on how to properly slay level bosses. Finally, “Pleasure Slave” with its choice lyrics like “WOMAN COME HERE/REMOVE YOUR GARMENTS/KNEEL BEFORE ME/PLEASE ME” gives hope to the cavalcade of virgins living in their mother’s basement that while the days of whores succumbing to their wily demands after vanquishing their husbands in battle might be long passed, at least they’ll have a soundtrack to snap one off to.
It’s obvious the majority of Manowar’s appeal is to the crowd who think lines like “MAY YOUR SWORDS BE WET LIKE A YOUNG GIRL IN HER PRIME” are the pinnacle of metal lyricism and awesomeness, and for about 97% of their discography that statement is absolutely true. “Kings of Metal” will not win over anyone skeptical of their campy subject matter, but it’s one of maybe two Manowar albums that can objectively be labeled good music and enjoyed for unironic reasons even if the primary motivation behind that enjoyment is ironic in nature. Regardless if Manowar’s awesomeness is actually good metal or simply mauls your eardrums, “Kings of Metal” is the legitimate rallying cry of every super dork everywhere, or even people who just get off on medieval themed sh*t. Other bands play, Manowar kills.