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31st March 2011

steve goldby

Click here for the photo gallery

There is simply no point in going to another gig, ever again. Unless it's Manowar of course.

'Manowar Kills!' and you better believe it and if you were at the 02 Academy in Birmingham on Sunday night, you will know exactly what I mean.

I am truly priveleged and honoured to have witnessed the world's greatest Heavy Metal band return to England and put on a show that was truly awesome in every single sense of the word. I am completely and totally blown away.

It had been way too long since The Kings Of Metal had played in England and they were greeted on their return by a queue outside the venue that had started at 9.00am and by mid-afternoon was stretching literally further than the eye could see.

By late afternoon the line of Metal hordes had reached the end of the street and had split into three, tailing off into the subway, continuing on the other side of the street and spreading out up the hill that heads out of Birmingham centre. It was an impressive sight.

I can't see how all those people got into the venue. This is unconfirmed but I am estimating that around 2,000 were locked out.

Birmingham is of course where Heavy Metal began when Black Sabbath burst out of Hell in the 60s and changed the world forever. And Manowar used Birmingham's Canoldir Male Choir on the 'Kings Of Metal' album and their parts on the album were recorded in St Paul's Cathedral, Birmingham.

People had come from all over the UK for this monumental event and Germany, Italy, France and many other countries were well represented too.

You may not be aware that when Manowar broke the record for World's Loudest Band, the man who was holding the decibel meter was Krusher Joule and he was completely in awe on Sunday night. This is what he had to say;

"On Sunday 27th March 2011 I witnessed the greatest Heavy Metal gig that I've ever been present at.

"It had been a long, long, quiet wait, but after 17 years it was glorious to feel the Black Wind of Manowar once again unleashed, roaring defiantly from the 02 Academy stage in Birmingham.

"I remember reading an interview with Joey in March 1983 where, in no uncertain terms, he told the journalist that Manowar were the only TRUE metal band in America, that all their inspirations stemmed from TRUE Heavy Metal bands and that the ULTIMATE Heavy Metal band was Black Sabbath.

"So for them to choose Birmingham, the heart of the home of Metal seemed perfect for the field of battle where once again they would play louder, heavier and faster on the stage of glory and rise victoriously as Kings Of Metal.

"Death to false prophets and deceivers.

"Hail Manowar!!

"Krusher, the Faithful"

I was lucky enough to be in the venue when support act Paul Clark was sound checking and Manowar's DAS Sound System is nothing short of mind-blowing. Manowar have truly reinvented the sound of Heavy Metal. This sound system is Louder Than Hell and yet totally crystal clear. Nothing else comes even vaguely close.

Even at ear splitting volume, you can easily separate all four instruments and pick out every note. The DAS system highlights the total skill and mastery that these four Sons Of Odin possess. Truly majestic in every sense of the word.

The anticipation was crackling in the air by the time the doors opened and the faithful entered the hallowed hall and 20-year-old Paul Clark, deputy drummer for Manowar's Donnie Hamzik, played an awesome set which was a tribute to British bands including Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy and Deep Purple.

Click here for pictures of Paul...

If you've got any reservations about a lone drummer playing along to classics as a support act, then you need not have. Paul is clearly a major talent and the set was excellent and highly enjoyable. We salute you Paul!

And when Paul's set was over, the time had finally come. The hour was finally upon us...

A mighty roar erupted as the lights dimmed and the glorious Battle Hymns backdrop was revealed...

"Ladies and Gentlemen. From the United States Of America. All Hail. Manowar..."

And as the opening notes of 'Manowar' belted out and Eric joined his brothers at the front of their stage, you just knew instantly that this was going to be very, very special.

The band never let up once as they blasted through a skull splitting rendition of the complete 'Battle Hymns' album. Joey had said before the gig that they would let the music do the talking and they did precisely that. Eric did not address the crowd once, other than at the very end of the performance when he thanked the faithful and stated that "we will return."

And the music spoke volumes, each track a Metal masterpiece played with absolute precision. I am sure that not one of the four dropped a single note all night.

The 30-year-old 'Battle Hymns' album has not dated at all and was brought kicking and and screaming into the 21st century where it will continue to influence many.

Every minute of Sunday night was glorious and there were several standout moments, but when the title track of the debut album began, the crowd were sent from a state of ecstasy into sheer delirium.

That marked the end of the 'Battle Hymns' part of the show and Karl Logan launched into a superb gutar solo. Karl deserves a special mention for his heroics on Sunday night. He was truly, truly brilliant and is an irreplaceable component on this well oiled machine. Karl The King.

And after the 'Battle Hymns' album we were treated to a set of wall of wall classics, every one an epic, every one a calssic and every one a killer. And of course, 'Hail To England' was played. How could it not have been...

This was a tough review to write because the sheer brilliance of the occasion rendered you totally speechless. If you only ever go to one gig again, make sure it is Manowar. Nothing else is even half as good.

Hail Kings Of Metal. Hail Manowar. Born to live forevermore.

The Set List

Death Tone
Metal Daze
Fast Taker
Shell Shock
Dark Avenger
Battle Hymn
Sun of Death (guitar solo)
Brothers of Metal Pt. 1
Kill With Power
Metal Warriors
Heart of Steel
William's Tale (bass solo)
Fighting the World
Sons of Odin
Call to Arms
Sign of the Hammer
House of Death
The Power
Hail to England

Kings of Metal
Hail and Kill
Warriors of the World United
Black Wind, Fire and Steel
The Crown and the Ring (Lament of the Kings)

Click here for the photo gallery

And a recent message from Joey...

"My brother Mark is not only a brother of Metal, but also a gifted painter. Follow the link and rate his portfolio in an art competition with 5 stars, and show everybody what family means in the world of true Heavy Metal. Knock them dead, little brother! - Joey"

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