For every growing metal head, finding that one special band has a profound impact on their lives. It’s a slow process, but when it happens it’s like your ears explode and you’re hearing the world in an entirely new way. A powerful force sets your heart pounding out of your chest, and a new sense of confidence is bestowed upon you. It is one of the best feelings in the entire world. For me, that band was ManOwaR.
My junior year of high school kick-started a ten year obsession with ManOwaR. My good friend Winchester turned to me one day, and said “You like cheezy music right?” I replied with force, “Damn straight, brother.” He then placed in my hand the cassette that would change my life forever, Fighting The World. As soon as Scott Columbus’ hammering drums hit my sound receptacles, a wave of power came over me. I didn’t even have to listen to the entire album to know that this band was meant for me.
When I first saw the band’s picture, I laughed until I puked. They looked like Conan meets Led Zeppelin. But their message of “Rock, Drink, and Fuck” got me inspired to be the Viking I was born to be.
Here are a few of their videos:
Over the next four years or so, no other band existed in my eyes. I searched high and low for anything (and I mean ANYthing) ManOwaR related. You wouldn’t believe the shit I got my meaty paws on. It was like that scene in Spaceballs: ManOwaR cassettes, vinyls, CDs, DVDs, t-shirts, hooded sweat shirts, sweat pants, posters, decals (one so epic it’s on the back window of my V-4 chariot to this day), a neon sign, a bottle opener, and the item of all items….a ManOwaR light switch cover. I even went to the extent of getting a tattoo.
Every new CD I purchased intensified my obsession; Louder Than Hell, Battle Hymns, Hail To England…I thought I was going to blow up. My friends either jumped on the band wagon or were inches away from doing me in. One even threatened to burn me alive inside my leather jacket that has The Sign of the Hammer painted on the back of it. Yeah, I was that annoying.
My addiction slowly went away over the years. I was growing up, and was becoming more aware of the fact that ManOwaR tours the states about every six years. That always bothered me, because they’re from New York. But when they toured for Warriors of The World, not even the great sea serpent Jormundgandr could prevent me from missing that show. I thought my rib cage was going to burst from my back and hit the bartender in face. The ceiling was vibrating so hard, it looked like the fucker would collapse. Needless to say, it was a stupendous show.
I never thought I’d have the chance to see these self proclaimed “Kings of Metal” ever again. But a few years later, a friend of mine informed me that they would be returning, this time to The Palladium in Worcester, MA. He even found out that they would be playing in New York the very next day. Being the loyal fan that I was, both shows were a must. The Palladium show intensified my addiction to a level I didn’t think possible. While I was in the front row, lead singer Eric Adams took my leather jacket and held it up for the entire crowd to see. From that day forth, I was a legend at every show I went to (mostly because I flipped off the band Kings-X at another show, but the jacket added to that).
Another few years went by and word was out that ManowaR would be releasing another album. It was to be called Gods of War, and would be the first in a series of concept albums about various war gods. Now, there have only been about three albums that came out in the time I had been listening to them, so this was a big deal for me. The album hit the stores, and my CD player had a disk crammed into it within seconds. My world came crashing down around me. “What is this shit?” I thought, “Did I get a Rhapsody (of Fire) album by mistake?”. Sadly enough, it sounded just like Rhapsody (of Fire). ManOwaR did the one thing that they swore they would never do, they changed their sound and they wrapped the disk inside a leather bound booklet that slid into a solid steel casing. But that was like pouring perfume on a pig. You couldn’t even read the fucking book until you spent the countless hours needed to translate the runes. That’s right, runes. Every fucking page was written in runes, and the key was on the last page. Good idea, geniuses. What were they thinking?! They have one of the truest, most loyal fan bases in the world, known for their psychotic devotion. It felt like a gigantic middle finger stabbed me in the heart.
Figuring it was just me being a little too harsh, I played this product of anal leakage for my metal brothers. As I thought, it was true shit. Every person that heard it asked if my tastes were leaning towards the foppish stylings of most Power Metal bands. A little vomit made its way into my mouth, just thinking about that day. Never did this humble fan believe that the band he loved, would betray him so viciously. I had even thought about getting my ink removed, because of ManOwaR’s decision.
A good amount of time has passed since that dreadful day. I have moved on and no longer put all of my energy and cash towards that band. What music they created before Gods of War is still great stuff to listen to, but only when the mood strikes me. They will always be a part of my life; partly because of the ink on my arm, but sadly, will never have my respect. Apparently, there are many clubs around the world that refuse to let them play. My sources tell me that is due to the fact that the bass player (and epic loud mouth) Joey Demaio, has lost his mind. He has become super difficult to deal with and many a club owner doesn’t want to deal with his nonsense.
Because of all the time that was lost worshiping a band of hypocrites, there are still many bands out for me to discover. Amon Amarth has been kicking my ass straight out my mouth since their album Versus The World came into my life. I can feel the urge to $pend creeping across my brain like a slow, black cloud. Hopefully, this time will be different.