Manowar were (and still are, as far as I know) utterly ridiculous. This poster (click link) tells you all you need to know:
Big, bombastic, sword and sorcery, macho (with homoerotic over/undertones) nonsense basically. More Spinal Tap than Spinal Tap. Yet they were also quite wonderful.
They weren’t just a heavy metal band, they were a whole way of life – for them and for their hordes of teenage boy followers. Boasting that they were ‘true metal’, they declared ‘death to false metal’ and forged a career that suggested they at least understood they were in the entertainment business.
Their first album, Battle Hymns, is full of the usual heavy metal cliches but is strengthened by some great tunes and fantastic playing. There’s also a fantasy epic narrated by Orson Welles (‘Dark Avenger’) along with main songwriter Joey DeMaio backing up his claim that he was the fastest bass player alive on a re-worked version of William Tell’s Overture.
This track, Manowar, is the most poppy of the songs. It’s essentially the story of how they formed, backstage in England somewhere (I think some of them, or one of them, were roadies or technicians for Rainbow or someone). But rather than being a straightforward telling of what happened, their story is turned into some kind of Arthurian tale, with them being chosen to fight the good fight. It’s all very silly but also very sweet – the fact that they’re grown men makes it all the more endearing.
Born to live forever more
The right to conquer every shore
Hold your ground and give… no more!”