Manowar, the self-proclaimed kings of metal, is currently recording a new version of their classic album, Kings of Metal, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
The New York-based band is currently in the studio recording Kings of Metal 2014, which will contain new arrangements of the Kings Of Metal songs, as well as other updates and revisions, along with bonus materials like never-before-seen video footage, photos, behind-the-scenes interviews, and insight into the history of Manowar from that era.
The group made the announcement on Sunday through their Facebook page.
The new rendition will “honor the original as it’s inspiration, but with additional energy, fully utilizing the power of today’s technology and 25 years of experience, and it will contain new arrangements and changes that incorporate live performance elements added over the years” said MANOWAR bassist Joey DeMaio. “The album will feature additional bonus material and many other surprises,” he added.
Released on November 18, 1988, Kings of Metal is best known for songs like “Hail And Kill,” “Kingdom Come,” “Blood Of The Kings,” and the title track, on which the band brags about how when they’re in town, speakers explode (a common theme in their songs – they once broke the World Record for Loudest Band). Founding member Joey DeMaio and longtime frontman Eric Adams will be on the new recording, along with current members guitarist Karl Logan and drummer Donnie Hamzik. The original recording had Ross “The Boss” Friedman on guitar and Scott Columbus, who passed away in 2011, on drums – both had left the band right after the album’s release (although Columbus rejoined and quit the band a few times after that).
Way back when this album was released, vinyl and CD were still king, so the CD version actually contained a bonus track, a song called “Pleasure Slave,” with lyrics like “woman, be my slave.” Yeah, it was terrible. I wonder if that will be included in the 2014 version or if we can just forget about this song forever.
Kings Of Metal also contains one track that’s actually an over 4-minute narrative called “The Warriors Prayer” (“Grandfather, tell me a story…”). For Kings Of Metal 2014, there will be a new narration by British actor Brian Blessed, of Henry V, Macbeth, and more importantly Prince Vultan in 1980’s Flash Gordon!. Along with being a Shakespearean actor, Blessed also has a thing for metal and was the recipient of the “Spirit of Hammer Award” at Metal Hammer UK’s Golden Gods Awards in June 2013. I’m actually looking forward to hearing Blessed’s version of “The Warriors Prayer,” especially the ending where he has to bellow, “They were the Metal Kings!” This, for sure, will be badass.
Kings of Metal 2014 is scheduled for release at the end of this year. In 2014, the band will launch an anniversary tour with a completely new stage show where they’ll perform the full Kings Of Metal 2014 album, along with some of their other tunes.
I’m not a big fan of bands re-recording their previously released albums (see Testament’s First Strike Still Deadly and Ozzy’s disgraceful re-recordings of his first two solo albums), but in this case, as long as it’s not meant to replace the existing album, which is one of my favorite metal albums of all time, then I won’t become furious and go on a rant. Although, honestly, I can’t imagine what they’re going to do with most of these songs. How do you improve on the arrangement for “Kings Of Metal”? Or the tear-jerking “Heart Of Steel”? Plus, no Ross The Boss and no Scott Columbus, which right off the bat will make this new album much different. I saw Manowar a bunch of times on the “Kings Of Metal” tour in the late ’80s and they blew me away every time. I am deeply soaked in nostalgia for this one, as I remember going to the local record shop to pick up this album on vinyl and a bunch of my metalhead friends (including GoD’s Dave3) and sitting around the turntable listening to it and practically acting out each song. For me, Kings Of Metal holds some of the greatest memories of my youth and, in my opinion, Manowar is one of the greatest metal bands ever, even if their egos are the most inflated as well. Truthfully, I just don’t feel the need for these songs to be redone in any way (ok, so maybe I had a mini-rant in me). We’ll just have to see what Kings Of Metal 2014 has to offer when it’s released; perhaps I can get the old gang back together and take it for a spin on the ol’ turntable.