Manowar was formed by ex-Dictators and Shakin' Street guitarist Ross the Boss. The original lineup included vocalist Eric Adams, bassist Joey DeMaio, and drummer Donnie Hamzik. The group's kitschy approach was designed to be the raw, primal, macho antithesis of classic rock. Their music was based on raw, aggressive riffs, and their lyrics were mostly about fighting, violence, and death. The group dressed in animal skins in concert to underline the point. Their first album featured a solo bass arrangement of the "William Tell Overture," and the press branded the group as a joke. The band tried to become even more extreme with each album and usually ended up dropped from their labels. They tried to take a more commercial direction in the late '80s, but this approach failed too, and Ross the Boss quit in disgust in 1988; undeterred, Manowar continued recording into the next decade, issuing records including 1992's Triumph of Steel, 1994's Hell of Steel, and 1996's Louder Than Hell. With each release and subsequent tour, Manowar began to build a devoted fan base, especially in Europe, where the group regularly sold out stadiums. A flurry of live DVDs followed, each boasting hours of music, interviews, and Viking machismo. The band returned to the studio in 2002 for Warriors of the World, followed by the Sons of Odin EP in 2006 and Gods of War in 2007. ~ Steve Huey
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