Manowar took us to Valhalla to rise our hammers high along with Odin’s Sons…. Honestly now… When you have in front of you the mega beasts, the Kings of Metal, what more do you need? A mesmerizing show? Vocals, which give you the chills all over your body? Fire, thunder and steel?  Well, their Release Athens Festival concert had them … ALL!

But first things first.  The band, which opened the event, was Battleroar, one of the most known Greek metal bands. The guys were perfect, and, in my humble opinion, it was a great choice as the local support band! With the amazing Yiannis Papanikolaou (Diviner, ex- Inner Wish) in vocals and their energy and enthusiasm, they managed to make people say … “too bad they didn’t play longer”! This band definitely needs more recognition.

Next band was Imperia, an atmospheric metal band formed by Helena Iren Michaelsen, the first singer of Epica (formerly known as Sahara Dust). I’m not going to lie to you, I didn’t even know their existence before they were announced as a support band. Now, even though I love atmospheric metal, I really don’t think that Imperia was a good choice as a support band for Manowar. I can think at least ten bands in the category of atmospheric metal, which could had been chosen to play instead! Their performance wasn’t terrible but not good either. I think the right word is mundane ... Helena’s appearance will stay in our minds for her cute/psycho dancing part on stage. The songs were really mediocre and they definitely weren’t worth playing on the same stage with a band like Manowar. People didn’t even pay attention to them, which makes sense, since Imperia became even more boring and tiring, as the minutes were passing by.

Last before hell were Rhapsody of Fire, a band with which almost everybody is familiar. They prepared us with some of their familiar fantasy sounds, with the vocals of Giacomo Voli making us want to fly with the dragons! His vocal technique was amazing, and he was really communicative with the crowd. Excellent performance in everything, great chemistry among the band members on stage, the guys seemed to enjoy the whole thing.  Unfortunately, and maybe this was the only negative thing in the whole festival, their sound was poor. I’m not an expert, but the microphones’ volume was low and in Rhapsody’s case, sometimes you felt the one instrument was higher than the other. The band made us want to raise our “Emerald Sword” with their epic performance, as they finished to make room on the stage for the beasts.

And now the time for us to fight hell on earth had come (I was in the center front, so believe me, I know what I’m saying)! Our Metal Kings are here! They proved that their Guinness record as the "loudest band in the world" is TRUE! Joey De Maio’s bass was so loud we thought our hearts were about to jump from our chests! E.V Martel on the guitar was great and he absolutely stood up to the occasion! Great technique, amazing on stage, he seemed like a worthy member of the band, even if he is a member of Manowar only for a while. As a special guest on stage, the band introduced for the first time their keyboardist Joe Rozler, who has been present in all the studio recordings of the band since 2002. Manowar were just EPIC! They had so much energy that they could easily pick up their swords any time to call us to arms! The setlist was bloody strong and mighty! With a huge surprise for their Greek fans, the Kings played also for the first time ever "Hector's Final Hour”, from the "Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy Ιn Eight Parts" opus - brilliant way to honor their Greek fans! Adams was impressive with his chilling voice, as he was going all over the stage … Honestly, we all wondered how the hell he still has this killer voice. The show included fireworks, lava, a huge video wall with terrific special effects, fighters from all over history, and fire! It was an once in a lifetime experience! Totally worth all the bruises, the pain, the waiting … Joey was as always incredible at EVERYTHING!!! At the end, he broke his bass strings like he was in a sacred ceremony to the Gods of War!

The show lasted one hour and forty-five minutes, minutes that will never be forgotten. I can’t say anything bad for their appearance – surely there were negative things, however, I headbanged my ass out, so I just didn’t notice them, or better, I didn’t care to notice them. This live experience will stay forever not only in my mind, but also in every Manowarrior’ s mind. We were truly honored to witness this show. Thank you Manowar!

Sylvia Argie Crystal