You know what metal needed more than anything right about now? Another gimmicky project aimed entirely at the fragile masculinity of teenage boys. The hotshots at Napalm Records have of course realized as much, and in an effort to fill this void put together Warkings, made up of musicians from already known bands, but hiding behind cool skull masks because everyone loves a mystery - and we can’t reasonably expect the warcraft dwellers to find Georg Neuhauser (Serenity) to be the spitting image of manliness; a badass tribal warrior with a skull for a face on the other hand… To put all doubts to rest as to whether or not this is the next big thing in hyper manliness, the album cover has plenty of sexy female butts (conquest) and a giant warrior with a colossal battle axe phallus (conqueror). Hey, it worked for Manowar, and they’re totally what manliness is all about!
As already stated, Warkings is all about gimmick, and little about substance, with most of it trying to cash in on the imagery and fitting into a category of bombastic power metal. You have the competent musicians to back it up, (Neuhauser, known in this project as “Tribune” is a pretty good vocalist, after all), and a couple of flashy tracks with some gritty riffing from “Crusader”, as well as the soaring catchiness in the choruses. I’m talking about the two singles, Hephaistos and Gladiator, the former sporting a fleshy chorus and the latter some effective, eerie references to the movie. These are two sole above decent-ish tracks on the album, the rest topping at mediocre at best. The songs are about 3-4 minutes in length, all same-y and with little variation in structure or build. (This could work, if the material was stronger.) In this it could be considered something like Sabaton (also super manly, they have a tank!) but Warkings at least don’t pretend to be history teachers. Of course the album ends with a ballad. In German. Because that’s what this album sorely needed.
Don’t get me wrong, I can look aside from Manowar’s imagery, because they’re world class musicians and they’ve written timeless metal pieces. This is not the case with Warkings; they might be good musicians, but the project is, from the beginning, a venture into money making (okay, maybe Manowar do that too) and little in way of above average power metal, to appeal to as many in the target audience as possible. If you want to hear flashy songs about war and warriors and other such cool things, give it a go, but if you want musical depth and/or lyrics with substance, maybe go with one of the musicians main bands. Early Serenity comes to mind. Sure, “Crusader” has some Mystic Prophecy (not a bad thing) like riffing on here, and more than a couple of good solos, but it isn’t carried by the whole. In conclusion, Reborn really isn’t that good, but I’m afraid to say it because Warkings might come after me with their giant axe penises.
Standout tracks: Hephaistos, Gladiator