Reviewed: September, 2020
Released: 2020, Magic Circle Music
If there ever was a band that is overdue for a book it is mighty Manowar. The army of immortals have asked and the band has heeded the call and delivered…THE BLOOD OF THE KINGS VOL I.
Long known for their high quality merchandise, this first book is no different. It is an oversized, hard bound, coffee-table book printed in full-colour on glossy paper. It is a couple of hundred pages long and total quality.
Well, what exactly is THE BLOOD OF THE KINGS? It is an illustrated history of the band covering 1980-1988. This is the only thing that confuses me about this book. Why eight years? Why not the more traditional ten years? The band had albums in 1988 and 1992, so it could have been easy to cover the first decade of 1980-1990. Overtime the bands productivity dropped and between 1992 and 2002 they only did three albums, as compared to 1980-1988 where they churned out six albums. What will Vol II look like? Will it be organized by date or by album? Only time will tell. I will own it regardless.
Manowar is one of my favourite bands of all time so for me, this book is a real treat. Each chapter is loaded with cool things to look at; memorabilia, lyric sheets, laminates, clippings, and more. There are a metallic ton of photos and the vast majority (like 95%) are not press/promo photos that have been before, most of them are never before seen stuff. We get live shots, pictures of the Manowar warehouses, tons of shots of gear (Manowar always had lots of gear!) back-stage, and photos from the band on the road. There are pictures of the various studios and venues and buses and historic sites that Manowar have visited along the way. There are lots of candid shots that are really cool. The behind-the-scenes stuff from video shoots are gold.
What I also appreciate is the size. Many books that are a standard paperback size have a few microscopic photos in the middle of the book. These photos are huge and bold, just like Manowar. You don’t have to squint to make out the details. Each picture comes with an accompanying helpful explanation.
When it comes to text there are several contributors from the Manowar camp, audio engineers, journalists, fans, roadies, and of course the band themselves. Everyone shares interesting stories and funny anecdotes from the particular era being discussed. I’d say the book is 80% visual and 20% text.
The clever thing about this book being presented as an illustrated history is that a true biography and autobiographies from various members can still be produced. In fact Joey DeMaio even hints that one day he will tell his full story. What a tale that will be! Manowar has always been ahead of the pack when it comes to quantity and quality of merchandise and THE BLOOD OF THE KINGS is just another jewel in the crown of the band.