Its going to come up, so I might as well start explaining here. I’m not a huge fan of second wave British heavy metal. This is an accident of history, more than anything. Lemme ‘splain.
When I was in sixth grade, I rode on a school bus with a couple of douche bags who were “really into metal”, and by that, I mean they were into Def Leppard, Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, and Poison. I had been listening to The Who, Hendrix, and the Stones. Macho dudes in drag with the high pitched voices singing about partying or whatnot just didn’t speak to me as a ten year old. So I thought, “Metal sucks and is music for douchebags.”
A few years later after I started playing guitar, me and my brother went over to a friend’s house to see if we couldn’t get a band started. I was listening to lots of punk and hard-core, and was a huge Misfits fan. Our friend said “I want to learn to play this”, and popped in a video of Metallica’s “One”. I was mesmerized. I had no idea what I was watching or even who Metallica was, but I loved (and still love) that song. There was no way in hell I was going to be able to figure out how to play it, but I got a new look at what metal could be.
So, Metallica was my gateway band. They had all the speed of hardcore, but with added darkness and intensity. Eventually I got around to listening to other thrash bands, and skipped right back in time to Sabbath, without passing through a SWBHM phase. My problem with much of SWBHM is that it lacks the intensity of thrash, and jettisoned the darkness of Sabbath. And too many goddamned references to England.
I’ve tried to keep an open mind, and listen to every album twice without rendering a judgement. With this, I can’t even. ‘Hail to England’ is straight up garbage. If there were a commercial for armpit hair, Manowar recorded the jingle. This album is a mockery of SWBHM , and I don’t have a clue as to how this album made any list other than “100 Albums with actual BO”. I would like to write a synopsis of the sound, but every moment of the album is truly ridiculous. Not to say that these guys didn’t have the chops to make a serious metal record. They just decided not to.
Some ridiculous elements:
1. Cheesey evil laughter is featured.
2. “Kill with power! Die! Die!” is an actual lyric.
3. Black Arrows/Bridge of Death features two minutes of solo guitar buffoonery. It sounds like Wayne Campbell trying to play “Eruption” at a high school talent show, so he can win the prize, one record contract for Cassandra’s band“Crucial Taunt”. It opens with a crappy demonic voice promising to send a black arrow into the heart of all who play false metal, adding irony, which is (ironically) a rare element of metal music.
4. The vocalist sounds like Dio and Bruce Dickinson’s dumb little brother.
5. You should never write songs that are actually about metal, but if you do, it has to rock (e.g. Black Metal by Venom, or Whiplash by Metallica). “Army of Immortals” is the dumbest song I’ve listened to from this list as of yet, and my surpass even Def Leppard for stupidity. I present the lyrics in full, and a picture of the band as evidence.
6. Manowar isn’t even English.
“Army of Immortals”
Battle hymns did sound the call. You came to our side.
You heard true metal – into glory Ride.
You stood beside us the false ones Cried.
Your love is judgment. You gave us life.
You wait in the rain – you walk through the snow.
We give you our blood. We want you to know.
In our eyes your’re immortal -In our hearts you’ll live forever
In our eyes your’re immortal -In our hearts you’ll live forever.
We have read your letters. We have heard your call.
We were brought together -Cause we’ve got the balls
To play the loudest metal.S o hard and so wild and mean.
You’ll live forever. We were Born from your belief.
Metal makes us strong. Together we belong
Forever. Here’s your song. We want you To know.I
In our eyes you’re immortal. In our hearts you’ll live forever.