Manowar - Sign of The Hammer
Heavy Metal
8 songs (0:00)
Release year: 1984
Manowar, EMI
Reviewed by Shane
Archive review

When I first heard this album (a long time ago), I assumed that this was Manowar's first album as the production is totally raw and unpolished. However, I was wrong as this is their fourth album, therefore the raw production was either a deliberate experiment or a result of rushing through the recording process with either little time or money (or both) to make this album. Thankfully the production does not ruin this album although it certainly takes some of the power away from the rhythm section creating a rather thin sound. However, the rawness of the production does seem to work well with Eric Adam's awesome voice, and takes nothing away from his performance.

Production quality issues aside, this is an excellent album and a must have for all Manowar fans. Other metalheads may be put off a bit by the raw production and the cheesy lyrics contained in songs such as All Men Play on 10 and Animals but that's their loss. There is one part though where I really wish the lyrics were different. In All Men Play on 10, around the 1:55 into the song, as Adams is once again explaining how loud Manowar is and how they will never sellout (A point which would later become debatable in its truthfulness) he says "Then I run back to the power rack…(Little pause, music stops, time to say something cool)…and deck all of my gear!". The first thing I thought was: That was lame! I believe the time had come to say something real cool (and probably real cheesy) but they missed it. Oh well, just a little nit picking for you but I had to get it off my chest. Manowar always has been a bit cheesy so if you can accept that you should love Manowar and this album. I especially love the drums at the end of Animals and as always, Eric Adams screams with the best of them. Thor (The Powerhead), Mountains (Where I believe the raw production mixed with some guitar noodling reminiscent of a bad Demaio solo which usually ruins Manowar songs, actually serves to enhances this track), The Oath and Sign of the Hammer are truly excellent tracks with Sign of the Hammer being one of the very best Manowar songs ever! On this track, every instrument combined with Adam's vocals come together perfectly at just the right times to create epic peaks and climaxes before settling back into the appropriate galloping tempo. Of course the last climax is the best. Trust me, if you have never heard this song, this is truly an awesome track inspiring feelings that only the best tracks of the metal genre inspire, although I do wish the song was longer so it could truly be called an epic.

In my opinion, any review a Manowar album must come with a warning. The warning is this: You will always have skip at least one track on this album. That track would be Thunderpick as it is another one of Joey Demaio's bass solos that seem to appear on almost every Manowar album. This one is especially bad. It is for the most part completely tuneless with Demaio showing exactly how fast he can possible jerk off his bass (It's pretty fast by the way). In some places it almost sounds to me like some one who has no idea how to play the guitar trying play as fast as they can. The last track on the album, Guyana (Cult of the Damned) is trapped behind this solo as the solo continues on to be a lengthy intro to the song. By the time Adams says "Thank you for the Kool-aid Reverend Jim" (Which made me laugh the first time I heard it as many Manowar songs have done to me in the past). I'm saying thank you for the ability to skip through songs. This song just isn't good enough to sit through compared to the other songs on the album so I always either end the album here before the bass solo or restart it again and with this album, it's usually restarting it again

Killing Songs :
Animals, Thor (The Powerhead), Mountains, Sign of the Hammer
Shane quoted 83 / 100
Jeff quoted 69 / 100
Alex quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Manowar that we have reviewed:
Manowar - The Lord of Steel reviewed by Olivier and quoted 59 / 100
Manowar - Gods of War Live reviewed by Jeff and quoted no quote
Manowar - Gods of War reviewed by Jeff and quoted 70 / 100
Manowar - Sons of Odin (EP) CD ONLY VERSION reviewed by Jeff and quoted no score
Manowar - Hell on Earth, Part IV - DVD review reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
To see all 14 reviews click here
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