Ancient Mariner
Has any of you heard the EP Thunder in the Sky?

I am bound to find out what it sounds like because Donnie Hamzik, one of the best metal drummers I've ever heard, has returned to the band, in 2009. I must have lived under a rock.

I only know him from the first album but he made a memorable impression. What a groove, what an energy he possessed. I always thought it was a shame that he was fired (or left, whatever) because I thought he was way better than the consequent drummer, Scott Columbus (R.I.P!). After Hamzik left Manowar's music became less complex, less dynamic, and more straight forward (simpler) instead.

Scott Columbus' death led me to reading his and Hamzik's wiki pages. So that's how I found out:

Donnie left the band in 1983 and was replaced by Scott Columbus. He again appeared with Manowar on stage during "Earthshaker" Fest 2005 in Germany along with all other Manowar members past and present.

In 2009 Donnie reunited with Manowar, due to personal differences between Scott Columbus and the rest of the band. He took part in Magic Circle Festival 2009 and also recorded the EP "Thunder in the Sky".

On October 15th, 2010 Joey DeMaio announced on Facebook that Hamzik was officially a member of Manowar again after a 26 year absence.

The return of Hamzik looks like something unique in the metal business.

Drummer A plays on the debut album, and leaves soon afterwards, 1983.
Drummer B plays on all consequent albums, except for The Triumph of Steel (1992), on which drummer C played, but leaves the band after personal differences in 2009.
Drummer A returns, 26 years after he left. Who'd ever think Hamzik would return? I must have lived under a rock (but hadn't heard anything about this on this forum either).

Imagine Clive Burr (without having MS of course) replacing Nicko McBrain in 2009?!
I totally agree. Battle Hymns is by far my favorite Manowar album, and Donnie has put on the best drum performance on any Manowar album. Scott Columbus was a great drummer, but IMO Manowar used drum machines on Gods Of War and Warriors Of The World and maybe Louder Than Hell and Thunder In The Sky. I don't have anything that can validate my opinion, but I'm surely not the only one to notice that the drums are incredibly monotone and "inhuman" on those albums. That's, of course, not Scott's fault. I heard that Joey is obsessed with sound quality so he probably used drum machine to minimise problems with recording and stuff.
Damn I just heard Thunder in the Sky, and this also sounds like a drum machine, or at least very polished, cleansed.

And I do not like the idea of re-recording the debut album. Dumb!
There goes my enthusiasm already.
NightProwler666 said:
I heard that Joey is obsessed with sound quality so he probably used drum machine to minimise problems with recording and stuff.

If you consider what he has done in the past ten years or more, I wouldn't be surprised to the least.

Surprisingly, I am with Foro: I think Donnie Hamzik's performance on Battle Hymns is outstanding, especially on the title track. I don't usually pay all too much attention to drummers, but there are moments when I notice a performance and it wows me, and that was the case here. I'd be curious to hear if he can do something for Manowar now, but on the other hand, I have stopped caring for them after their recent cash grab.

Still, I stand by my words that Scott Columbus was a great drummer. I heard from people who couldn't stand Manowar but still heard him play with other projects live that what he did onstage was impressive. You could argue that what he lacked in groove he made up for in power. Sure, it's not the same, but I guess "power" is the first thing Manowar want to have people come to mind when they hear the name.

But, since this is a general Manowar topic, allow me to extend a little and mention what I like most about the band. They have had a great guitarist (Ross the Boss), they have a fine guitarist who thinks he's a bassist and who used to be an exceptionally gifted songwriter back in the hallowed days of history (Joey DeMaio)... but what is really special to me about them is that they have one of the greatest singers you could imagine. Eric Adams is easily one of my favourite metal singers, right up there with Bruce Dickinson and Ronnie James Dio. Sure, he sings a lot of crap lyrics, but he does it with such a powerful expression and fiery passion that not only do you forgive him for doing so, but also applaud him for it. He puts a lot of pathos in his singing, but then, that is what the material demands. What I gather from interview snippets and things fans told me, he still seems to possess the self-irony that is necessary to deal with this sort of thing, and contrary to Joey DeMaio, he doesn't take the whole think über-seriously, so it's easy to enjoy what he does. Half the time, when I listen to Manowar, it's because I want to hear him sound like he can defeat every god and demon you put against him with the power of his voice alone.
I just checked and Eric Adams is 56 YEARS OLD?! Compare his 1982 and 2010 performances of Battle Hymns, in some parts he sounds almost exactly the same... Amazing singer.
I have heard Thunder in the Sky, and it's pretty good though not great. Not being particularly musical, I didn't notice the drums but I guess that's an excuse for a re-listen. Most of the songs were somewhat uninspired, but recording Father in sixteen different languages was impressive.

On a broader note, I'm unsure quite what I think about Manowar. Technically, their lyrics are for the most part not particularly intelligent, and plenty of their stuff, particularly from the middle era is simply crap. Their saving grace is, as Perun noted above, Adams. He is quite simply the best singer in the world today, with the passing of RJ Dio. Also, a lot of their stuff is actually genuinely good - it has an uplifting quality that can't help but make you feel cheerful, and some of their songs are spectacular in depth of emotion and epic scale. On the other hand, there's Kings of Metal :/
I quite like Manowar. They're fun to listen to and have some great songs. They never re-reached the heights of Battle Hymns though and are also responsible for one of my biggest disappointment's in metal. I saw "Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in 8 parts 28 minutes" and assumed it was the greatest thing ever. One 5 minute drum solo and a bad bass solo later and even the very strong rest of the song can't compensate for it.

Still, the song, Battle Hymns is one of the most epic pieces of Metal music ever, the whole song is just awesome. Sound the charge, into glory ride! Over the top of their vanquished pride!
They played here in my hometown a while ago I think, but the tickets were indeed priced ridiculously high so that turned me off. It is after all a club-gig we're talking about. Of course I'd like to see them just because, but I'm not a fan of the band and thus my limit is at around 350 kr... not the 600 or so they want.
I have to drop this somewhere. There's just something about this interview snippet...

Tried listening to Battle Hymns again, it's their most tolerable album but still those fucking lyrics are so hilariously bad. I just can't enjoy it unless i'm really drunk, they're like Judas Priest without the cred
It seems that Manowar will release a new album next year, according to this interview with Joey DeMaio on their official site ->

Does MANOWAR have other projects?

Joey: We are currently in the studio, we are working on a new record.

A re-recording of one of your classics?

Joey: No, a new album, coming out next year.

I thought they were on their final tour..... but a new Manowar album, is always welcome.
DeMaio is gonna attempt to program every instrument, including the vocals, and production will be done by a robot.