MANOWAR
Hell On Stage Live
Metal Blade Records
Live at Birch Hill in Old Bridge, NJ

“God’s of War I call you, my sword is by my side. I seek a life of honor free from all false pride. I will crack the whip with a bold mighty aim. Cover me with death if I should ever fail. Glory, Majestic, Unity, Hail. Hail. Hail.”
~The Warrior’s Prayer

The true Kings of Metal are at it again. This time it’s a two-fisted, double live CD (their first with Metal Blade) sure to deliver bone-crushing mayhem. Everything’s there: artwork by leading fantasy artist Ken Kelly, 16 ear-bleeding beauties, and four guys dedicated to maintaining their world record as the LOUDEST band on the planet.

According to the official Belgium Manowar web site (www.metal-one.com/manowar), one of eight fan-devoted sites, the band’s music can be systematically categorized into four central themes: Sword-and-Sorcery, how great Manowar is, songs about true Heavy Metal people, and how life sucks but in the end will be all right (if you’re listening to Manowar’s music!)

With those basic themes in mind, The Cutting Edge was out the door on a pilgrimage to the north country (of New Jersey) to see for themselves the hellfire of metal’s ruling class. It’s been far too many years since Manowar has waged a descent battle on our virgin soil. Far too many years indeed. Formed at the end of 1980 in Auburn, New York, Manowar was the brainchild of Black Sabbath roadie and local bass legend, Joey DeMaio. DeMaio served up bass duties in Elf before joining Ronnie Dio’s Black Sabbath on the ‘Heaven and Hell’ tour as roadie/light effects technician.

An enormous Sabbath fan, DeMaio recruited others of like ilk leading to the current lineup of Eric Adams (v), newcomer Karl Logan (g), and Scott Columbus (d). It was the same four horsemen that rained terror and destruction on the holy confines of Birch Hill. In the darkness of the smoke-filled hall, the sound of a Harley rumbled the rafters. Then it was balls and blood. ‘Dark Avenger,’ ‘Bridge of Death,’ and ‘Blood of The Kings’ echoed like a battle cry to the masses. The buzzsaw effect of Logan’s guitar buzzed through each epic tale while the constant throbbing of DeMaio’s bass kept fists pumping in the midnight air.

Much of the night’s set was derived from the ‘Hell on Stage Live’ CD, recorded during the band’s 1998 world tour. Manowar strongholds, such as Germany, France, Portugal and Spain, created the frenzied backdrop for all 16 of the bands finest recorded live. A third live CD was shipped with the first 10,000 units of the album and boasted such classics as ‘Kings Of Metal,’ ‘Hers Aus Stahl,’ and ‘Metal Warriors.’

In the two decades they have fought to be heard, Manowar’s style has never changed. Their heavily influenced Sabbath-like dirge got them dropped from their first label after ‘Battle Hymns’ was released in 1982. So when they joined forces with a new label, they signed their recording contract in blood, literally. Their second release, ‘Into Glory Ride,’ featured the debut of drummer Scott Columbus.

Manowar’s third album, ‘Hail to England’ heralded the band's debut tour of Great Britain. “Not since the Vikings invaded northeast England in 878 had the isles seen such all-consuming power,” claims the band’s press release. ‘Sign of the Hammer’ (84), ‘Fighting the World’ (87), and ‘Kings of Metal’ (88) all continued in the proud Manowar tradition adding to the throngs of fans and slaying the weak. ‘Triumph of Steel’ (92) was the only metal album to hold it’s own on the Geffen label during the Nirvana takeover of the early 90s.