Manowar Hail To England

Formed in the early ’80s by former Dictators guitarist Ross the Boss, and Shakin Street roadie, Joey DiMaio, Manowar’s first real success anywhere occurred in the UK upon the release of their Battle Hymns debut. So feverish was the UK’s fanfare for Manowar’s mix of British style heavy metal, à la Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, that their third album was actually entitled Hail to England. Originally released in 1983, Hail To England still remains the band’s finest moment. Almost on the same level is the band’s second album, Into Glory Ride. Perhaps a little more simple, but mature sounding, Into Glory Ride contains a number of the band’s classic cuts as well, including fan favourite “Gloves of Metal.” Also, seeing the light of day for the first time in North America is a set of double live albums, Hell on Wheels Live and Hell On Stage Live, which were previously only available as expensive imports. Recorded during the band’s 1996/97 world tour (which ironically included no North American dates), H.O.W. Live is the better of the two releases. The song selection is so much better than on the other that it simply eclipses the latter release. Of course, if you are a fan of the gods of metal known as Manowar, chances are you probably already own the import versions anyway. (Metal Blade)