You’re in utter desperation, because Manowar, in your humble opinion the best band of all time, are calling it quits soon? Fear not, Peon! There’s a new „true-metal“-band out there, who desire to satisfy all your musical needs. Clad in at least epic-rarity gear, singing about standing broad-shouldered on the battlefield, side-by-side with your equally broad-shouldered brothers, slaying thine enemies. Warkings are a band of four ancient rulers who apparently met in Valhalla, found out that being dead is hell’a boring and so they came back into the world of mortals. After a few hundred years of practising their craft (aka their instruments), they besieged the mighty fortesses of Napalm Records, and after signing a piece treaty (aka a recording contract) they released their first album Reborn in 2018.
Their sophomore effort Revenge picks up where the debut left of. Guitar-riffs, bass-lines, and drum-beats are held simple, yet catchy, so the singer can shine all the more. Although that doesn’t mean the lyrics aren’t simple. Most of them seem to be designed to be sung by large audiences, and thus are simple enough, so most people will probably be able to sing along to the second chorus at first listening of the song. To keep in tune with all the “epicness” of the album (or the “cheese”, however you want to call it), from here on out I’m gonna refer to all the songs as “battles”. The bagpipes that start the album are an indication of the first battle of the record. It’s about the 1314 siege of Bannockburn, were Scottish rebels stood their ground against an English host, that was more than double their size. Freedom is a well enough opener, with shouts that are probably lifted from Mel Gibson’s 1995 movie Braveheart. Roman tubas sound in the next battle. A tale of gladiators, fighting for the favour of their emperor Maximus. It’s probably my favourite battle of the album, because of the melodic riffing.
And who fights in battles? That’s right! Warriors. And now they have a Warkings-song dedicated to them. Sometimes it’s puzzling to me, how bands choose their singles, since this one is one of the weaker songs (the term “battle” doesn’t fit on this one) on the album. It has a main riff, that sounds more like a finger warm-up exercise than a riff. At least it has a great chorus. That saves it from outright being a bad song. I was a little disappointed when listening to Fight in the Shade. Not because it’s a bad battle. It’s a great mid-tempo march in fact. It’s because I was pretty sure it’s about the 300 Spartans and the Battle of Thermopylae (because of the title), when it’s in fact, another Roman tale. The second single of the album, Odin’s Sons features the growling prowess of The Queen Of The Damned (aka Melissa Bonny). Her vocals are a great addition to the viking-battle.
I guess it’s obligatory, to have at least one (power-)ballad on an powermetal-album. For this one it’s Banners High, and just like the rest of the battles, its lyrics are pretty cliche-ridden. It nevertheless is a fine track. It’s like taking a breath before thine next fight. Next on the album is Mirror, Mirror and no, it’s not a Blind Guardian-cover. Nor is it about the Disney-movie. This mirror can apparantly vanquish people (chorus: “mirror, mirror – on the wall… kill them all.”). Snow White would have had a bad time, if the evil queen had this one hanging in her bedroom. Its groove and chorus makes it another highlight of the record. The next one brings us all they way to Jerusalem. I only have two things to say about Azrael. 1.) I’m a little bit sad that it’s not about Gargamel’s cat (but not surprised) 2.) If I ever try to claim Jerusalem for Christianity, I will definitely play this song on my headphones on a loop. Deus vult!
And now I award the first “PK-award for incredibly stupid things in songs that nevertheless totally work” to the chorus of Battle of Marathon. No doubt about “run – run – run – marathon” being the silliest of all the chants on this record. But it somehow totally works for me. Ten out of ten would run again. In the closing battle of this campaign, the tribune, the viking, the crusader, and the spartan make sure you remember their name by repeating it 21 times. Who else thinks, that the main-riff of Warking sounds a lot like Rammstein’s Links 2,3,4?
I’m not someone, who uses the term “guilty pleasure”, but if I were, I’d definitely use it here for this record. The music is not really that new or impressive. The lyrics are almost interchangeable with each other. But damn it, the album is just a whole lot of fun. If music is serious business to you, then you better stay the hell away from this record. If you use music to unwind and clear your head, and “cheese” doesn’t bother you, you can definitely give this record a listen. I’ll go now and measure my chesthair, because it feels like it grew 3cm in the 44 minutes I listened to this album.
I like music. All of it. Except for schlager… And ballermann. Oh boy do I hate ballermann.