Germany’s Mandowar is yet another band in the genre of covering metal classics in a foreign manner. The band’s line-up consists of an acoustic guitar, a bass and a mandolin and provides a raw, stripped down version of various metal tracks from bands such as AC/DC, Metallica, Dio and more.
Hellboys From Cow is an interesting mix of tracks with some really well done combinations. Most of the songs are done fairly well making you snicker at times and jam along with the band at others.
The opening track, “Alexander Strack,” is a mix of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” and “You Shook Me All Night Long.” The majority of the track, as well as the entire album, is acoustic with a tiny bit of distortion mixed in at lower levels.
The Rammstein cover of “Engel” is fun at times, but it is where the band starts to sound too much like Jack Black. At that point, you begin to take the band less seriously. The folk version of Holy Diver is not bad, but makes you want to put Dio on straight away to wash your ears of what you just heard.
Once you start to get to tracks like “Kashmir” and “Master of Puppets,” a lot of similarities to Rodrigo y Gabriella come to mind. There are still the folk overtones, which keeps Mandowar unique in their way. The “Radar Love” cover is a pretty good cover for all intents and purposes with the mixture of riffs working well.
The one thing that sticks out on the album for me is the “Wish You Were Here” cover from the legendary Pink Floyd. I had no idea what to expect and the band played this cover pretty straight, which I appreciate immensely. I would have hated to hear a folk version of one of the greatest mellow songs ever written.
There is some exceptional musicianship on the album without a doubt. The vocals are strong and dynamic and the guitar playing is done very well. The main issue with this album is that this is really something that has little playback value. This is one of those albums where you listen to it once. Perhaps, you may play a song or two for friends to show them that you are in the know, but you will not reach into the catalog to listen to this one often at all.
Mandowar: Hellboys From Cow Tracklisting
1. Alexander Strack
3. (Ghost) Riders in the Sky
4. Hellboys From Cow
5. Holy Diver
7. Master of Puppets
8. Radar Love
9. Wish You Were Here
Official Site: www.mandowar.de