Manowar is an American Heavy metal band from Auburn, New York. Formed in 1980, the group is known for lyrics based on fantasy (particularly sword and sorcery) and mythology (particularly Norse mythology). The band is also known for a loud and bombastic sound. In an interview for MTV in February 2007, bassist Joey DeMaio lamented that "these days, there's a real lack of big, epic metal that is drenched with crushing guitars and choirs and orchestras... so it's nice to be one of the few bands that's actually doing that." 

In 1984 the band was included in the Guinness Book of World Records  for delivering the loudest performance, a record which they have since broken on 2 occasions. They also hold the world record for the longest heavy metal concert after playing for 5 hours and 1 minute in Bulgaria (at Kavarna Rock Fest) in 2008. They also have been known for their slogan "Death to false metal".

Although the band has never been a mainstream commercial success in the United States, they maintain a strong cult following. Dedicated fans are known and referred to by the band as "Metal Warriors", "Manowarriors", "Immortals" or "Brothers of Metal".

Although the band has never been a mainstream commercial success in the United States, they maintain a strong cult following. Dedicated fans are known and referred to by the band as "Metal Warriors", "Manowarriors", "Immortals" or "Brothers of Metal".

Origins (1980–1981)

Manowar's history began in 1980 when Joey DeMaio, the future bassist of the band, met guitarist Ross the Boss while working as a bass tech and fireworks manager for Black Sabbath on the Heaven and Hell tour.

Ross the Boss, a former member of the Punk rock band The Dictators, was the guitar player in Black Sabbath's support band, Shakin' Street.

The two bonded over their shared musical interests, became friends and decided to form a band.

At the end of the tour with Black Sabbath, the duo got together to form Manowar.

To complete the roster, they hired singer Eric Adams, a former classmate and friend of Joey DeMaio.

First album (1981-1982)

On the strength of their debut demo, Manowar secured a recording contract with label Liberty Records in 1981. The label pressured the band to produce a good number of songs in a short time towards a debut album. The resultant album, Battle Hymns, was released the following year. The legendary actor and director Orson Welles served in the role of narrator on "Dark Avenger".

Soon after the album's release, Manowar engaged in their first tour. The band played support for hard rocker Ted Nugent, but their collaboration lasted only a few months. Manowar then decided to put together a short tour by themselves and all the arrangements were made in a few weeks by their manager. Despite these setbacks, the band gained domestic fame on this short tour and also began to get their first European fans, particularly in the United Kingdom and in Germany.

Stressed from the strain of the continuing performances, Donnie Hamzik decided to leave the band at the end of this tour and was replaced with Scott Columbus.

Into Glory Ride (1983-1988)

By 1983, the band left Liberty Records and struck a deal with Megaforce Records in the US and Music for Nations in Europe, signing the contract in their own blood. The signing was a cover story in the 1983 July-August issue No. 47 of Kerrang!.

When Manowar returned home, they immediately went into a recording studio to produce what, in the intentions of the group, would have been a simple EP, but came out instead, due to the quantity and quality of the tracks made in that period, as the band's second album, Into Glory Ride. An EP was actually published in 1983 with the title "Defender" containing, as its main track, the eponymous song, which included more work by Orson Welles. The atmosphere of the album evoked classical heroic fantasy and  mythology, and served as a predecessor to Viking metal. It contained several innovative features, both in style and sound, and led to a huge increase in the number of fans of the

group, particularly in the United Kingdom, where the band planned a long tour that was ultimately canceled. The song "Defender" was later re-recorded and included in the Fighting the World album of 1987.

To apologize for the failure of their UK tour, Manowar decided to dedicate their next album to the United Kingdom. The album, Hail to England, was recorded and mixed in just six days and was released in early 1984. Its promotional tour, "Spectacle of Might", had a large number of dates in England. The tour saw Manowar initially as support band for Mercyful Fate, but soon the group led by Joey DeMaio was put in the headline slot.

Manowar soon returned to work in the recording studio. After leaving Music for Nations, the quartet released Sign of the Hammer ten months after their previous album. The new record presented stark changes in rhythm, with very technical tracks characterized by a slow pace, like the epic "Mountains", and quick ones, as the eponymous "Sign of the Hammer". Its success enabled band to embark on a two-year world tour, after which they took 1986 off.

Following further disagreements with their new label, the group changed record label to Atlantic Records in 1987. Via Atlantic, they released  Fighting the World, which enjoyed more extensive distribution and increased the band's prominence in the international Heavy metal scene. Album art was designed by Ken Kelly.

Kings of Metal (1988-1992)

In 1988, Manowar released the album Kings of Metal, which is the band's best known work. Songs like "Heart of Steel", "Kings of Metal" and  "Hail and Kill" are performed regularly in concerts. Kings of Metal is Manowar's highest-selling album worldwide.

Manowar embarked on a world tour, for a period of approximately three years, with stops in almost all European nations. During that tour, Joey DeMaio "fired" Ross the Boss.

According to a 2008 interview with the guitarist, "Joey felt that Manowar would be better without me."

He was replaced by David Shankle, who was chosen by members of the band after a search among about 150 candidates. Scott Columbus later also decided to leave the band during the Kings of Metal tour.

Scott Columbus himself picked his replacement Kenny Earl Edwards (soon nicknamed 'Rhino').

New albums, first video and live publications (1992-2002)

A new musical unit after the recent changes, Manowar released The Triumph of Steel in 1992. It gained some success and was particularly famous for the presence of a suite lasting no less than 28 minutes entitled "Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts", inspired by the events of the Iliad and the hero  Achilles. After this release, the band went on a world tour for two years. After the expiration of their contract with Atlantic, the band signed with Geffen Records. In 1994, David Shankle unexpectedly left the band to form his own group. He was replaced by Karl Logan, a musician met by Joey DeMaio  during a motor meeting. The same year saw the unexpected return of Scott Columbus, who replaced  Kenny  Edwards.

In 1996, they released Louder Than Hell, their first new studio album in four years. Despite good sales the album was criticized for its simple style.

released by BMG International in the guise of a double CD containing all the most popular songs of the group. Not having the time to record a new studio album because of the ongoing promotional tour, Manowar released a second live album, Hell on Stage.

Warriors of the World, Hell On Earth and Magic Circle Music (2002-2005)

In 2002, six years after the last studio album, Manowar released the Warriors of the World album.  Warriors of the World presented a sound somewhat renewed in style, but maintained the usual energy and power. The most famous tracks from the album became "Warriors of the World United", "House of Death" and "Call to Arms", in addition to Puccini's aria "Nessun Dorma", covered in honor of the Italian fans and sung live for the first time in a concert in Milan.

Manowar then began a long world tour, called "Warriors of the World United Tour" that kept them busy and away from a recording studio for a long time.  To compensate for the lack of studio albums, the band released several DVDs: in 2002 the video Fire and Blood Hell on Earth part II, in 2003 "Hell on Earth Part III" and in 2005 "Hell on Earth Part IV".

These (and all DVDs since the year 2000) were directed by Neil Johnson, and have all been certified Gold in Germany.

In 2003, Joey DeMaio founded his own record label, Magic Circle Music, which became the official home of the band, having been created to fit the needs of Manowar, and other bands of similar genre. Under the label Magic Circle were also released the EP The Sons of Odin with footage taken during the  Earthshaker Fest 2005.

Gods of War (2006-2009)

Manowar released Gods of War through Magic Circle Music in 2005. After playing numerous shows in Europe, including a concert that spanned the course of two nights,

they worked on a new EP, entitled  Thunder in the Sky, which was released in 2009.

The EP consisted of two discs: the first playing the regular track list; the second playing the song "Father" in 18 different languages.


On June 1, 2010, Classic Rock magazine published an interview with drummer Scott Columbus who said he had not worked with the band since April 2008 and had left the band. Later that year, on October 15, 2010 Joey DeMaio announced on Facebook that Donnie Hamzik was officially a member of Manowar again after a 26-year absence.

Scott Columbus died less than a year later on April 4, 2011 aged 54.

On april 5, 2020 his daughter Teresa publicly annaunsed that her father's dead was suiside, and urged for more awareness on mental illness and depression.

Manowar's subsequent release was a re-recording of their 1982 debut album, Battle Hymns. This album was released on November 26, 2010, with the narration of Sir Christopher Lee and formally entitled  Battle Hymns MMXI.

A special edition of the album featuring 4 live tracks from the first leg of the Battle Hymns Tour was released on July 26, 2011.

On July 21, 2011 the band played a UK tour for the first time in 16 years in November and played Battle Hymns in its entirety.

Manowar's new studio album, The Lord of Steel, was released worldwide on June 16, 2012 exclusively on iTunes and on the band's own online store. The album sees a reversion from the symphonic elements present on the Gods of War album back to a more straightforward, heavy metal sound.

The song 'El Gringo' from the album has also been featured as a part of the soundtrack to the film El Gringo.

After the Lord of Steel tour was over in 2013, Manowar released a live EP, titled The Lord of Steel Live, which included six live tracks recorded during the tour.

Upcoming twelfth studio album, Karl Logan's arrest, and continued touring (2015-present)

On May 22, 2015, Manowar announced that they were currently working on a new studio album that was set to be released in early 2016. This album was not released, instead they went to Europe in early 2016 for the "Gods and Kings World Tour 2016" which included their first concerts in Slovakia, Latvia and  Belarus.

On May 25, 2016, the band announced that they would embark on their next world tour dubbed "The Final Battle". They would later recruit drummer Marcus Castellani from the tribute band Kings of Steel as their drummer for the tour.

On October 25, 2018, it was revealed that guitarist Karl Logan was arrested on August 9 in Charlotte, North Carolina for allegedly possessing child pornography and was charged with six counts of third-degree exploitation of a minor. Manowar issued a statement shortly after saying that Karl Logan would not perform with them.

They then said that their upcoming album and tour would not be affected. Following Karl Logan's arrest, former guitarist David Shankle expressed interest in rejoining the band.

On January 1, 2019, Manowar announced that guitarist E. V. Martel would join them on their tour. On March 22, 2019, the band announced that they would release a trilogy of EP's based upon The Final Battle World Tour.

The first EP, "The Final Battle I", was released on March 29 in an exclusive pre-sale at the merchandise booth in Frankfurt and also during the European shows. It was then released on iTunes worldwide that day. The EP was digitally and physically released on May 30.

Former Hammerfall and  Yngwie Malmsteen drummer Anders Johansson was announced as the new live drummer shortly after and made his debut at the March 25 show in Brno. Despite the tour being dubbed "The Final Battle", bassist Joey DeMaio dismissed any claims of Manowar's retirement, mainly due to the fans' demands to have them continue to perform.

In June 2019, the band's appearance at Hellfest was cancelled for undisclosed reasons. Fans who were to attend the show expressed their disappointment towards their cancellation. Manowar stepped in and said that they did not cancel their performance, but that it was the festival's organizers who cancelled their appearance in an announcement that appeared on their website. Joey DeMaio later said that the band has filed a lawsuit against the Hellfest organizers.

In May 2020, Manowar announced that they would embark on a tour, beginning in April 2021 in Europe, to celebrate their 40th anniversary.

The Faceless Warrior

The Faceless Warrior, also known as "The King Of Metal", is the band's mascot. The character first appeared in 1988 on the cover of the album Kings Of Metal, and has since appeared in the cover artwork of almost every following Manowar album, as well as on merchandise and in almost every Manowar live show to follow.

In a May 2002 interview with, vocalist Eric Adams was asked, "Who is that guy in your album cover? Do you have any name for him?". He replied,

"No because he is you, he is her, he is this person he is that person and so on. He has no face and that was in purpose because everyone needs heroes in their life and our music is all about heroes and you know being the leader not the follower. It's picture of hero and you being that hero is that what it is all about. So there is no real name for it. It's a fantasy world man. Put your face there are you are the hero!"

The Sign Of The Hammer

"The Sign Of The Hammer" is a cultural gesture developed in the early years of the band, after the release of their fourth album of the same name, and serves as a signature of the band. The sign is most likely to have been shaped from vocalist Eric Adams. It is formed by raising a right fist above the head, while using the left hand to grab the back of the right wrist. The Media Company "Heilbronner Stimme" published an article describing the Sign of the Hammer as, “the striking greeting. A gesture that unites.

A gesture that fits the pathos of the self-proclaimed Kings of metal. A gesture that has become the  trademark of the group founded in 1980". The first official appearance of the gesture was on the front cover of the band's fifth album, Fighting the world, where vocalist Eric Adams is shown making the gesture in a drawing of the band members. The gesture then appeared in the official music video for "Blow Your Speakers",

shown being made by the band members and crowd during a concert, as well as in the full cover art of the album The Triumph of Steel. Since then, the sign has been featured in almost every official music video of the band.

Accomplishments and breakthroughs in the heavy metal genre

Ross the Boss Friedman (Manowar, ex- guitarist): "We wanted to look like something never before seen in heavy metal"  (Interview- Website Magazine- 'Louder' June 16, 2020). ;"We wanted to be one step beyond, what is happening in that day…" (Interview- Documentary show- 'Metal Evolution'-2012). The first Viking Metal band are "the genre's forefathers", Manowar were the first idolizing, rely heavily the ancient Norsemen and mystic Nordic tales.

The longest heavy metal performance - In the year 2008, in Bulgaria was a five hours and one minute concert - crowd of 20,000 people with a setlist of more than 40 songs, a selection reflecting the band's history and all its studio albums. At this year's show, invited representatives of Guinness World Records were on hand to witness the event. The loudest heavy metal band in the world (a record they have broken on three separate occasions)- In the year of 1984, in Germany, they overtook The Who's record when two sound specialists measured them playing at 129.5 decibels.

In the year 2008, during intense rehearsal at the Magic Circle Festival, Manowar reportedly reached an hit a SPL of 139 dB during the sound check.

The first Power metal band - frequently lauded as the first-ever power metal album, Battle Hymns.

The first metal band to be seen performing and posing in loin-cloths and furs, brandishing swords and sporting strategic pieces of leather; ("We wanted to be wilder than just denim and leather. What would be wilder? Animal fur!" -Ross 'The Boss' Friedman ex- guitarist 2020).

Legacy and influence on other artists and the genre

Manowar are one of the most successful and influential bands in their genre with over 20 million records sold and numerous platinum, gold and silver certifications and more than a hundreds of millions of streams in the music streaming services and in the online video sharing and social media platforms.

Manowar have a very important place in the history and evolution of heavy metal music and are a huge influence in the Heavy metal genre a specially on subgenre such as: Power metalSymphonic metalGlamm metalViking metalWar MetalPagan MetalFolk MetalDoom MetalGothic Metal and Death Metal and "on every power metal band to emerge in the past 25 years".

Manowar's influence in the Rock Music industry is undeniable, they have left their mark in the Heavy Metal genre thanks to a combination of unique craftsmanship and characteristic songwriting". Manowar influence on a huge amount of Heavy Metal bands and artists around the world, such as:

Sabaton, Burning Witches, Rhapsody of Fire, Brothers of Metal, Warkings, AvantasiaAmon AmarthBattle BeastBeast in BlackDeathElvenkingSymphony XFirewindAbbath, Battleroar,  Exmortus, Hammer King, Jack Starr's Burning Starr, Battle Born, Rocka Rollas, Týr, Warrior Path,  Wotan, WizardHammerfall,  Van CantoEnsiferumAvatarTriviumMajestyAngra, Eternal Champion,  Evertale, Death Dealer,  Burning PointCrystal Viper, Scared Outcry, Imperial AgeTherion, Hercules, Lost Horizon,  Visigoth, Atlantean Kodex, Vhäldemar, Grand Magus,

HolyHell, Skelator, Doomsword, Ironsword, Metal Law, Orden OganPegazus, Battlerage, Hellish War, Holy Martyr, Grey Wolf, Moonspell, Cryonic Temple, Runelord, Iron Kobra, Trick or Treat, Hürlement, Assedium, Wrathblade, Rosae Crucis, Validor, Stormburner, HystericaStormwarrior, Skullview, Steelpreacher, Kramp, Mike Lepond's Silent Assassins, Axe Steeler, Paladine, Vanlade, Claymorean, Arch EnemyKorpiklaani, Marius Danielsen, Seven Witches,  Adramelch, Steel AttackStormwarrior, Aktarum, Atramentus, Derdian, Dread Sovereign,

White Skull, Heathen Foray, High Reeper& Hippie Death Cult, Ironflame, Khemmis, Nocturnal, Seven Kingdom, Silver Bullet, Vanir, Veonity, Winter's Verge, Winterhymn, WintersunFalconerChildren of Bodom, Destroy Destroy DestroyHoly Dragons, Arryan Path, Guardians of Time, Sons of Apollo, Sound Storm, Sulphur AeonUnleash the Archers, Wolfthooth, Crom, Coronatus, Perpetual Etude, Brainstorm, Untamed Land,  Feuerschwanz, Immortal, and many more.


Battle Hymns (1982)

Into Glory Ride (1983)

Hail to England (1984)

Sign of the Hammer (1984)

Fighting the World (1987)

Kings of Metal (1988)

The Triumph of Steel (1992)

Louder Than Hell (1996)

Warriors of the World (2002)

Gods of War (2007)

Battle Hymns MMXI (2010)

The Lord of Steel (2012)

Kings of Metal MMXIV (2014)

Into Glory Ride Imperial Edition MMXIX (2019)

Hail To England Imperial Edition MMXIX (2019)

Complete discography


Joey DeMaio – bass, keyboards (1980–present), guitars (2018–present)

Eric Adams – vocals (1980–present)

Anders Johansson – drums (2019–present)

E.V. Martel – guitars (2019–present)

Former members

Carl Canedy – drums (1980–1981)

Ross the Boss Friedman – guitars, keyboards (1980–1989)

Donnie Hamzik – drums (1981–1983, 2009–2017)

Scott Columbus – drums (1983–1991, 1994–2008; died 2011)

David Shankle – guitars (1989–1994)

Kenny Earl "Rhino" Edwards – drums (1991–1994, 2008–2009)

Karl Logan – guitars, keyboards (1994–2018)


Former live members

Marcus Castellani – drums (2017–2019)

Source: Wikipedia

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