The Golden Wow
Lets face facts, Manowar are an embarrassment now. I found Joey DeMaio’s reasoned discussion
of his thoughts on the new Battle Hymns MMXI recording to be a refreshing surprise from a man whose mouth has spewed more shite than the arsehole of an elephant with irritable bowel syndrome. Then about one minute in he declares that Manowar are going to crash the Facebook servers with their new official page, instantly reminding me why the man is the lifelong president of bell ends. His plan to completely blow Facebook’s mind involves asking the viewers to get 100 of their friends to join in. There are, however, 2 flaws with this: 1) No Manowar fan has more than a dozen friends and 2) It’s the most retarded statement in history. Anyway, the point I’m making is that Manowar have long since disappeared up their own brown eyes and, rather than feverishly creating new batches of epic metal anthems are happy releasing albums like Gods Of War (which featured more talking than music, and what music there was was a load of fuck) and wasting their time on an atrocious modern sounding re-release of something that sounded warm, natural and perfect as it was and, like your kids, is best left untouched.
It’s high time then for the new guard to don their finest leather posing pouches and mount a true metal take over. At the forefront are Atlantean Kodex, providing music as weighty as Thor’s ballbag and twice as cheesy, showing us what the Kings Of Metal would sound like if they erased their memories, Men In Black style, and began again today. The album opens with Fountain of Nepenthe – a 10 minute leviathan to ease you into the proceedings. With creaking galley sound effects, a riff that is more metal than an oil tanker full of titanium ball bearings and Markus Becker’s mournful yet upliftingly powerful vocals, this song is everything you need in your life and more. The following track, Pilgrim, is 12 minutes long and sounds a bit like Dark Avenger would if it was written by an old, grey haired Templar Knight who had fought in 1000 brutal battles using only his bare knuckles as a weapon before forging a guitar from the fear and pain of his enemies. It can only be described as a journey. A journey to boner city in the year 1100 and back again.
Temple Of Katholic Magick is another massively grandiose proclamation of medieval preposterousness, with some of the most incredibly overblown yet spine tingling lyrics ever committed to parchment. How can you not enjoy a man sincerely singing “Never yield! Never lay down your sword! Drive your spears through the heart of the Saracen hordes” over an arrangement of slow burning chords that are so majestic as to have all other chords curtseying before them in reverence. Disciples Of The Iron Crown is a far pacier affair, upping the tempo without losing the atmosphere, and Vesperal Hymn – despite featuring a line that sounds like “The salty wang of death”, just about sails the cheesy seas of medieval minstrel music that until now had belonged exclusively to Falconer. The Atlantean Kodex is pure, undiluted power metal, raping the living shit out of so called ‘epic’ bands like Rhapsody as its iron battalions and sorcerers gallop over your face, even taking the time to unleash some fabulous power metal gang vocals that reference the bands name towards the end of the song. Right now you’re probably thinking that the concept of power metal gang vocals sounds shit… But you’re so, so wrong.
This album has been labelled Doom, though it has little or nothing to do with that genre other than slow tempos and massively long songs. Like While Heaven Wept’s Vast Oceans Lachrymose before it, The Golden Bough cares not for genre boundaries. Instead it strides across the metal world like a loincloth-clad behemoth, liberally pooping life-affirming, fist-pumping metal anthems out across the landscape for its awestruck inhabitants to gaze at like apes before an obelisk. This is everything metal should be – as overblown and grandiose as possible, taking itself and its subject matter 100% seriously and never pussying out and hiding behind a veil of irony like the Dragonforces of this world. Manowar would be proud. In fact I deliberately avoided looking at a picture of the band while listening to this, instead happily believing that this album was written and recorded by men who make Aragorn, Son of Arathorn look like The Burger King. Men who ride an armoured horse to the studio and men who shit nuggets of pure machismo. This album will blow your pathetic mind.