Released: 2005, Independent
HAIL! Stand and FIGHT or be cut down by the TRUE POWER of the TRUE STEEL of the TRUE SWORD OF THE POWER made from TRUE IRON and PROBABLY SOME OTHER ELEMENTS BUT ONLY THE ONES THAT ARE TRUE METAL!
Ahem. Sorry, got carried away there. Italy's Nanowar was formed (or perhaps I should say "forged in the TRUE FIRES of..." okay, I'll stop now) in 2003 and has released an EP, two full-lengths, and an extremely-limited-edition live album, and in case you somehow haven't already figured this out, they are a parody act who show their love for other metal bands...by poking fun at them, exaggerating the already over-the-top to the point where it goes right over the edge of ludicrousness. Their most obvious target is, of course, Manowar, but other groups get locked into their sights as well.
The idea is certainly all well and good for metalheads who don't take themselves so seriously that they can't stop and laugh at themselves now and then, but what good would it be if the idea were badly executed? Fortunately on OTHER BANDS PLAY, their second full-length, it's anything but. The production is solid, and Nanowar writes and plays great-sounding full-on "true metal" tracks with headbanging riffs, shredding guitar leads, and Euro-power-metal vocals complete with Italian accents so strong you half expect them to say "'Ey, itsa me-a, Mario!" at some point or another.
The album isn't perfect, that's for sure. There are several tracks that seem to be nothing but people talking in Italian...and what they're saying is probably hilarious if you speak the language. Unfortunately, I don't, so those are negative points for me. But what remains on the album is a riot. Songs like "Tricycles Of Steel," "True Metal Of The World," and "Triumphant March Of The Nano-Warrior" sound musically like previously-undiscovered bonus tracks from Manowar's FIGHTING THE WORLD and KINGS OF METAL sessions and lyrically like what you might expect to hear on those same tracks if they were overdone to the point of silliness. "Gioca Truè" is a bizarre little jaunty metal tune that in its central section launches into a rapid-fire medley of Manowar parodies ("Nanowar, Nanowar, living on the road...when we're in town, poseurs explode!") Parody targets aren't limited to Manowar, though, as demonstrated in "The Number Of The Bitch," which turns the Iron Maiden classic "The Number Of The Beast" into a song about phone sex. And while it's more oddity than parody, there's "Entra L'Uomo Di Sabbia," which translates approximately to "Enters The Man Of Sand," and is exactly what you might think it is from that title...Metallica's "Enter Sandman" performed near-note-perfect musically but lyrically translated into Italian. The real killer on the album as far as ridiculousness goes is the 'epic introductory' piece "Introducing The Power (Potentia Magni Gladi Vobis)"...which after two minutes of dramatic keyboard, melodic guitar, and choral-vocal buildup leads into "Power Of The Power Of The Power (Of The Great Sword)"...which lasts six seconds and consists of the band singing (and I quote):
"Power of the power of the power of the power of the power of the power of the Great Sword!"
One thing is for certain. Okay, make that two things. One: Nanowar will never, ever, EVER be signed to the Magic Circle label. And Two: If you have a sense of humor and don't think it's sacrilege to have a little fun listening to parodies of music that in itself is a bit of a self-parody, you really should give Nanowar a try.