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4.7 out of 5 stars14
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 1 December 2004
The album oozes greatness in every aspect, the only possible critisism is the bass lines which are similar, but joey de maio has already proved himself as the greatest bassist ever to grace the metal or rock scene.
The guitar solo 'my spirit lives on' drips with blistering and unadulterated technique
The album is brilliant, BUY
HAIL MANOWAR THE TRUE METAL KINGS!
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1996’s Louder Than Hell album was the US Heavy Metal legends Manowar’s eight full-length opus, and served as a grand and defiant championing of Heavy Metal that was simultaneously both ahead of and behind its time. Manowar in steadfastly focusing on what could be argued as the “true” (the band certainly argue that themselves) aspects of the original Heavy Metal sound were throwing back to the early ‘80s heyday of Metal from which the band themselves came, something very uncool in the eyes of the Grunge and Alternative focused public at the time, and in so doing were setting up the future, predicting the soon to be popular Power Metal movement that had been brewing happily away for a decade but really exploded when bands like Hammerfall would break just a year or two later.

This album sees the return of drummer Scott Columbus, who was absent from the band’s superb previous album, 1992’s Triumph Of Steel, as well as seeing the introduction of new guitarist Karl Logan who’s muscular sound fit nicely into the band. It was self-produced by the band and released on Geffen. Just cast one eyeball at the album’s art and that should tell you whether or not you’ll love this album. Embarrassed by “cheesy” D&D bands? Think singing about being in a band is dated? Then step away! However…Think that close-up shot of ‘roided-out barbarian thumping an anvil is awesome? Then buy a copy without hesitation!

Musically, Louder Than Hell is another step down the road that the band have always been headed in. Manowar don’t make the same album over and over again, but they never make a head-scratching left turn either. This is the logical successor to Triumph Of Steel. You can see how Thrashy tracks like “Death Hector’s Reward” and “Ride The Dragon” from that record begat “Outlaw” on this record. You can see how tracks like “Wheels Of Fire” on the album before that, begat the tracks on this album such as “The Power” (sonically, with the bombast and absolute over-the-top performance) and “Return Of The Warlords” (thematically, with the biker imagery and don’t-care attitude).

Manowar also always have a lot of lyrical fun boasting about how awesome they, and Heavy Metal in general are, and in the fine tradition of tracks such as “Metal Warriors,” “Kings Of Metal” and “All Men Play On Ten,” this album lets rip with an absolutely storming, fists-to-the-sky anthem in the form of “The Gods Made Heavy Metal.” A track so charged with pride, power and the demand that you sing along that you can almost picture the band in the studio laughing to themselves that they’ll never get away with being so obvious….and yet you forgive them, because, well dammit, its just THAT GOOD.

There’s also spots of variety to break up the oily, red hot ‘80s-Hollywood-masculinity that the band love to exude so much (to the point of constantly singing about power, strength, challenge, muscle, fighting and having all that bodybuilder imagery in photoshoots and album covers) in the form of a nice piano-ballad called ‘Courage’ (because you can tender AND manly!) as well a guitar-only solo track, and a dense, 9-minute Prog affair called ‘Today Is A Good Day To Die” which sounds like some kind of Power Metal version of Pink Floyd’s “Empty Spaces.”

This album has a nice production job, with a nice crunchy chug to the palm-mutes, a nice amount of drive, audible bass-guitar, and a clear separation of all the instruments (toms merrily dance from ear to ear during fills, and you can accurately feel how the band would be standing relative to one another in the practice-room). Add to that, another fantastic vocal performance from Manowar’s secret genius Eric Adams who can sound equal parts Rob Halford or Paul Stanley influenced depending on his mood, but with a distinctive identity all of his own most of the time.

Overall; It sounds great, the band play/sing great, there’s a bit of variety but not too much in the way of interludes or nonsense shenanigans, and just a general feel of consistency and craftsmanship. Its a strong whole for sure – and on top of that there’s some absolutely superb standout tracks that elevate it even higher – just try not enjoy “Brothers Of Metal,” “King” or “The Gods Made Heavy Metal.” If you thought Manowar were done after the first four albums, you thought wrong! Louder Than Hell is absolutely worth your time and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes Thrash, Power Metal, NWOBHM, or good old Heavy Metal.
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on 13 November 2012
My name is H and I'm a Metal addict.

The other day, uncorking the lads' 1987 outing, Fighting The World, I found myself revising a long held opinion o'er that LP's production quality.

Whilst some of the tracks are 'classic' Manowar, the album does indeed suffer from that '80s sheen' production tendency which has in retrospect harmed many much loved pieces of the time.

I don't know quite when the rot set in because it wasn't there in the first years of the decade; whether the thick approach of demonic legions during Mob Rules or the sonic assault of screeching Hell Cats in the dimly derided, wondrous, Sabbatical Metallic oddity, Born Again; AC/DC's phenomenal standard For Those About To Rock or the pre- Piece Of Mind Maiden stuff, there is a huge litany of greatness that straddles essential characteristics of both acoustic thunder and lightning in the not-quite-MTV era.

Manowar were no different; with a budget of merely 'some beans,' Jack Richardson ensured the Drums Of Doom kicked hard on Battle Hymns to announce the band's uncompromising arrival whilst Into Glory Ride was nothing less than Ross The Boss unsheathing his Sword Of high pitched Steel; Sign Of The Hammer and Hail To England were as different again, respectively, although I'd contend 'Hail' was the singular, early triumph with a massive sound stage capable of standing toe to toe with later works, albeit lacking these pieces' astonishing, sheer dynamics.

'Fighting' was clean and in 1987, I thought spectacular; Kings Of Metal kicked that notion into the gutter, however and for some time represented the high point of Heavy Metal production.

Triumph Of Steel was even better, four years later but in 1996, Joey clearly decided it was time to raise the standard of standards, production wise.

Louder Than Hell is undoubtedly one of the ultimate Metal albums of all time. Unyielding, like Screaming For Vengeance, the high points of Defenders Of The Faith or yes, sharing sky with the air raid firestorm of Holy Diver, the faithful are rewarded with a rich, overwhelming fullness, the likes of which is simply unavailable from any other practitioners of Metal dispensation.

Perhaps the biggest compliment I can laud upon this masterpiece is that even against (the ludicrously derided) Gods Of War in which Loki God Of Fire defines the perfect Metal track against a background of scarcely conceivable production genius, 'Louder's' mid 90s production feels not remotely lacking.

The result is sheer inspiration: Manowar is/was all about consummate entertainment and with studio work of this grade, the show simply elevates to its rightful, operatic level.

That the themes seem without doubt, highly repetitive, matters not one jot: you really can't have enough imagery of their preferred kind and when you buy a Manowar ticket, well, it's the Ronseal of Heavy Metal but exploded forth just so bloody well, that denial of their sheer brilliance seems churlish and indicative of personalities born apart from a sense of humour gene: frankly, in an era when we are seemingly forced into a dumb acknowledgement of terrible, rap based musical DNA, this strand of willful resistance (rejection) feels utterly cathartic.

The brace of instrumentals preceding the final track are like a test; played at full tilt, ear bleeding in excess, challenging the unworthy to simply take their leave, before rewarding with The Power's crazed mania.

With ears ringing, there is/was only one thing to do: whack on Warriors Of The World.

Fall to your knees and repent if you please...
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on 6 September 2000
wow ! what an album ! this is a really heavy release from 94. eric adams has the most powerful voic and the most thick and satisfying scream. there are the jaw dropping solos of karl logan and the mad pulse from joey de maio, and of course the mighty pounding of scott columbus. if you're into maiden, old metallica, power metal or 80's metal you'd love this release.if you like double bass drum attacks, you'd love this, scott can sustain speed for ages. lyrically this has a theme, a lot of the time, they sing about the differnce of real metal and false metal, and how false metal should be destroyed, and of course songs about mighty warriors and battles ! to sum this up. this is an ultra heavy album, profesional musicians, very impresive, meaningful lyrics and a great album to play at partys ! this must be played loud and with an excessive amount of bass ! to the fans or fans to become, get this album first then get their entire back catalogue . this album is an essential addition to all metal colloctions.
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on 24 November 2015
MANOWAR albums used to suffer from what all old metal albums suffered from and thats a low poor production, they used to call it Retro but thats another word for rubbish, remember VENOM, MOTORHEAD, and other albums back in the day, they all needed redoing. Now on this 1998 Geffen album you hear MANOWAR as you need to LOUD!. Its still raw but its loud as it should always be. Never the biggest MANOWAR fan, i own about 4 of there albums such as BATTLE HYMS, i am more of a IRON MAIDEN fan but if you want old skool metal get this and it didn,t cost very much.
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on 13 February 2013
I'm not a huge fan of Manowar but i do like their 80's albums, which were in good quality.
This album is not like them, it have some nice songs but others are boring.
And i don't like their lyrics on most of their songs, even when the music is quiet good.
I like 'The Power', 'Today is..' and 'Warlords' but the rest is mediocre and sometimes annoying.
Recommended only for Manowar fans, for collection, but not good to start with this album for those who don't know them.
Give it a shot, maybe you like it anyway.
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on 8 December 2000
I don't know, maybe it's me, but this album feels a little "lighter" than some of their masterpieces, theres something missing but I can't put my finger on it. Still, better than any other hard rock band out there. Discover the true kings of metal
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on 3 March 2004
What more really needs saying tha "excellent" a great album without a single weak song on it, buy this album if you love metal
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on 12 December 2015
Good solid album with some excellent tracks. Well worth the purchase. Not as good as Battle Hymns (XI) but well worth the money,
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on 16 May 2002
Okay, maybe this is premature with the new album just around the corner, but I was dissappointed with "Louder than Hell". I have to agree that it feels lighter and songs that would have been killers with previous Manowar production like "King" just feel a bit weak. Listen to the first album Battle Hymns and tell me this isn't a band capable of alot more (the line up is almost identical). If you are looking to try-out Manowar for the first time and are into the more commercial ends of the traditional metal spectrum go with Kings of Metal (with the unbeatable Blood of the Kings), or Fighting the World (just hear Defender and Black Wind, Fire and Steel).
Or for something a bit more raw try the first four offerings (my personal favourites). The only conclusion I can reach for DeMaio et als loss of direction is that they seem to have risen to meet everyone's expectations of them as a parody of themselves (or maybe more explainable by the loss of former guitarist Ross the Boss). For the next album I think expect more of the same as "Louder than Hell" but I sincerely hope they have taken their heads out of their arses.
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