Nanowar of Steel have seemingly exploded onto the international scene over the last couple of years, thanks in large part to their partnership with Napalm Records, but also due to their amazing songwriting and quick wits. Comedy in metal is such a thin line to walk but this band have been doing it to perfection recently. I’ve loved their singles so far so when we got sent the album, I had to check it out!
Album opener ‘Sober’ sets the tone of the album perfectly. It’s a fun, heavy sea shanty packed full of cleverly written lyrics and some surprisingly awesome instrumentation. As Mohamed pointed out in our interview (check it out here) the backing music isn’t necessarily as important as the lyrics are in comedy music. However, the band are just as talented as any other power metal band out there today as far as guitars and drums are concerned. The track fits in perfectly with their back catalogue, a fun romp that takes itself equal amounts seriously and not at all. It easily makes our playlist!
The second track features Madeleine Liljenstam of dark symphonic metal band Eleine. It dives straight into a more epic, power metal feel, staying heavy and massive throughout. It has a more serious feel to it than the previous track, and could easily be considered a full on symphonic metal track if it wasn’t for the lyrics. Madeleine’s vocals fit in perfectly and she adds an awful lot to the track. It’s just a great, straight up metal track.
Next up is a single, the infectious awesomeness of ‘Disco Metal’. I’ve had this track firmly lodged in my head and ears since it was released and thought I’d just about escaped it. Now that I’ve heard it again, I fear it’ll be there forever. Disco and metal mix surprisingly and incredibly well, as evidenced by Tragedy and Lordi’s Superflytrap. Now Nanowar of Steel have thrown their hats into the ring and upped the ante even more. My only slight complaint is that the autotune on the higher vocals took a little getting used to. Still, it’s a phenomenal track and easily makes the playlist!
‘Muscle Memory’ is the first slower track on the album. The clean guitar chords to open with the powerful vocals was awesome, as was building up through the vocal harmonies. The chorus is huge, massive guitar chords and vocal melodies that would fill out a stadium with ease. It reminds me of ‘And Then I Noticed That She was a Gargoyle’, and also any of the slower Guns N’Roses tracks blended together. The guitar solo is fantastic and confirms my suspicions, being very Slash. The whole track is amazing and so catchy. And of course it goes without saying that the lyrics are incredible.
One of my two favourite track titles is up next (I’ll let you work out the other one). ‘Chupacabra Cadabra’ is also a proggy, folky, heavy masterpiece. From the ‘Painkiller’ tribute to open to the fantastic, uplifting horns, the track starts strong. It sounds very… well… Italian folk metal, and in the best way! I loved the multiple languages throughout, especially when it came to the spoken work parts near the middle. It all built perfectly in the first 4:20 to an almost Tool-like climax, dropping down to acoustic guitars and a great, western-style whistle. This part ALSO builds perfectly into a great spoken few lines that got a pretty big laugh out of me.
The rest of the track continues as the first part did, finishing off the epic tale. I absolutely LOVED this. From the style to the progressive nature to the frankly ridiculous lyrics, it was the perfect track. Man, I hope we get a video for the track, it’d be excellent. Playlisted.
Next up is another single, this one featuring the legendary Joakim Brodén. Of course this was the most power metal track on the album, but it fit perfectly with Joakim’s vocals and style. And, to have a track so heavy and serious sounding be about the world cup finals nearly three decades is hilarious. Especially with them playing the commentary from the game in the bridge. It’s a damn good song and another huge highlight of the album.
‘Metal Boomer Battalion’ and album closer ‘The Power of Imodium’ are two more straight up power metal bangers. Both have some great comedic lyrics throughout and the latter has a fun, clear tribute horn line that fit surprisingly well. However, it is the two tracks between them that stood out the most.
The fantastically titled ‘Dimmu Boogie’ is a swing rock track that definitely does make you want to boogie! The simple blues lines, call-and-response vocals and the jazzy horns all came together perfectly to make one of the funnest tracks on the album. The guitar solo is maybe my favourite on the album too, it fits so well with everything and the technicality is amazing. I honestly can’t get over how infectiously catchy that horn melody is. It’s so good. Playlisted!
Then, ‘Protocols (of the Elders of Zion) of Love’ is another slower track, this one a clear love ballad. It’s somehow a combination of Bon Jovi and a boy band (not that I’m sure there are those out there thinking they’re the same thing). Heck, I can even hear some Michael Starr in the vocals, both the melody and delivery. It’s cheesy in the best possible way and it’s another track I love. It is so catchy vocally and so simple instrumentally. It’s a pop song and it somehow fits so well on a power metal album. Somehow again, playlisted!
Overall: This was brilliant. The blend of comedy and actually innovative (for metal) was brilliant. I actually found myself enjoying the weirder, less metal tracks than the straight-up power metal just because of how refreshing it sounded and how well written it all was. Everything about this album was amazing, and it’s definitely going to be up there among the albums of the year come December!
The Score: 9/10