Mega Metal Kerrang Uk - 6 1987
ON THE WAR PATH
Report taken by Ida S. Langsam
Manowar/Cities - L'Amour West - Brooklin, New York
What seemed on the surface a perfect bill actually turned out to be A double-header that highlighted the differences between these two Metal bands. With numerous references in the press to the similar style of the singers and the heaviness of the groups, there was much to look forward to, but sadly it didn't pan out...Upon entering L'Amour - still known as the Rock Capital Of Brooklyn - Cities were already onstage, having begun their set with 'Stop The Race'. (……..)
'Burn Forever' proved to be one of the more commercial-sounding tunes, opening with thrashing drums and some thrilling bass progression, but during the next number Angell tried to demonstrate just how fast he could shale this head and still keep it attached to his body. When he indulged in some high-pitched screams reminiscent of Manowar frontman Eric Adams, it became obvious to me that when you are listening on an artist strongly reminiscent of someone else it's difficult to appreciate the former when the latter is around, Kinda like settling for a Big Mac when you know there's prime steak waiting for you at home. (……)
Now Manowar fans are nothing if not fanatical. The mere mention of their idols' names throw them into a frenzy that physically manifest itself with whoops and yells and raised fists. The crowd hailed the band's introduction over the PA system with chants of 'Death to the false metal!' Suffice it to say, this audience was primed. The band were introduced by the 'Superman' film soundtrack music, which served to cleanse the plate of the Metal meal served up just before. No, HM or horror movie videos on the screen, no lights on the stage, just total blackness to erase any visuals burnt into the mind's eye. calculatingly brilliant on Manowar's part. But is just went on and on (intermission time was one hour!) and eventually the crowd started yelling 'Bulls**t, Bulls**t!' You can pull the wool over some of the people some of the time... However, when the band did finally hit the stage all was instantly forgiven. Bursting forth as ever with 'Manowar', the four had the crowd in the palm of their collective hand. Rarely have I seen musicians looking so trim and fit and perched on the edge, ready to break wide open. By the time they'd steamed through 'Sign Of The Hammer' and 'Fighting The World', the title track of their newly released Atco/Atlantic LP, Eric Adams had already praised their new label and directed the spotlight onto the VIP section where, he told the gathered masses, Manowar's 'new family' was watching the proceedings. Boy, has this band learnt to play the political game! They became their characters so totally that even I was convinced. Manowar had me mesmerised. Bassist Joey DeMaio, undeniably the leader of the group, and guitarist Ross The Boss are as much rock's premier couple as were Lennon and McCartney to British pop during the musical invasion of the Sixties. Distinctly separate yet without doubt created to complement each other, these men did the perfect impression of wild barbarians, with their long flowing hair, seductive bits of leather clothing and physical domination of their instruments. Adams is, of course, front and centre when singing but at all other time it's DeMaio who takes the lead, ably supported by Scott Columbus, though the Fu-Manchu moustachio'd drummer may as well have been wallpaper for all his emotional involvement in the spectacle going on before our eyes. It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta, do it! A brilliantly rapped intro, completely trashing the state of American Radio and MTV, led straight into new album number 'Blow your speakers'(scheduled as the first UK single), instantly familiar and memorable even on first hearing. Manowar understand that radio and TV, once considered counterculture media, have become the safe symbols of modern society. Tear it down to the ground, they cry.. but not before instructing fans to call MTV and demand to see Manowar's video, which they're now preparing to shoot. But I can't close without another mention for Eric Adams, a man who possesses one of the only true metal voices - by golly, he can really sing! Someone give him a Grammy. Better yet, give the whole band an Oscar. Wotta performance! Manowar, you see, are true theatre. You want see a show with participation/appreciation, social commentary and the ability to satisfy yet sill leave, you wanting more? The forget 'Cats', 'Les Miserable' and 'Chorus Line', cos Manowar in concert are good as they come. If only DeMaio would cut down his pulpit-preaching, we might just have the quintessential performance band of our time.
FOOTNOTE: it seems as though Manowar will be touring Europe from May onwards with UK dates pencilled in for early July.