Death Dealer

DEATH DEALER – Warmaster

Death Dealer - War MasterWhat’s in a name? That’s what people usually say when you comment (often when it’s done in a negative way) on some band’s name. Well, sometimes it’s everything, or at least a whole damn lot. What kind of music do you think of when you hear a name like Death Dealer? Well, yes, heavy metal or some form of metal, naturally. When you decide on a name like this, talk about painting yourself into a corner. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be really cool if Death Dealer played jazz-pop or something? But they don’t, of course, Death Dealer plays… wait for it… metal! How predictable. Death Dealer is Ross The Boss of Manowar’s new outfit – which is so ironic when you know the fact that Ross’ replacement in Manowar, David Shankle, went under the name “Death Dealer” under his short stint in that band. Prior to this, Ross released two solo albums (well, he claimed that Ross The Boss was name of the band, but…) full of Manowar-like heavy metal and to be honest, they weren’t really that good. Now, Ross left Manowar back in 1988 because he was fed up with their image and he also stated that he was growing tired of metal and wanted to play more bluesy hard rock. He joined forces with Handsome Dick Manitoba (with whom he had played in The Dictators prior to Manowar) in Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom and he also reunited with Shakin’ Street (another pre-Manowar band to Ross). That’s why it felt weird that Ross then started a solo career in metal that didn’t sound like anything else than a poor man’s Manowar.

As you might have guessed, I didn’t hold high hopes for this release when I heard it was out. Not that I have anything against Ross – quite the opposite. I find him to be a good guitar player, easily the best one Manowar ever had and I also think that after he left, Manowar were never the same again. I have never heard that he had a fallout or such with his former bandmates Joey DeMaio and / or Eric Adams either, so I don’t see why a reunion couldn’t be in the cards. Anyway, enough of that, Ross has a new album and a new band, a band that has more Manowar connections than Ross as they also hold ex Manowar drummer Kenny Earl “Rhino” Edwards. Other members are vocalist Sean Peck (Cage), guitarist Stu Marshall and bassist Mike Davis (Halford, Lizzy Borden). The album sets off with one of its title tracks, “Death Dealer”, a song that more or less sets the standard for the record. It’s  a worn out Judas Priest “Painkiller” pastiche, that really doesn’t work at all. “Never To Kneel” is pretty good though, it has a Manowar feel to it, the other title track “Warmaster” is hard, fast and aggressive, but unstructured and I just don’t get the melody at all and “Children Of Flames”, a heavy metal ballad, bares heavy similarities to Savatage, only not as great. The song is not bad, though. On “Curse Of The Heretic” they are trying their best to create a King Diamond vibe. Did they succeed? Well, let’s just say they gave it their best shot. “Hammer Down” is a really good track, though. Here they have put Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate and Manowar in a blender and just went for it – and it turned really good.

Unfortunately, the good times come way too seldom on this album. I’m not gonna compare it to the Ross The Boss albums – even though they’re both metal, the two projects doesn’t sound the same at all. But what they both have in common is that I don’t like either of them. This album keeps on rolling on in the same direction all the way through – double bass drums played really fast, screaming vocals with a huge Priest influence – Ripper era, not Halford – and chugging guitars, on and on and on. It’s just too much of the same thing and it didn’t take me many spins to grow tired of this. With the two bonus tracks “Judge, Jury And Executioner” and “Triumph And Victory”, the album is way too long and it makes the album become really tiresome. When Ross keeps on making halfarsed albums like this and Manowar hasn’t really cut it in ages – their latest album The Lord Of Steel didn’t make many fans happy – isn’t it really time for Ross and Manowar to put their irons into the fire together and make one great band instead of two that are decent at their best? I really hate bashing musicians that I used to dig, but there’s not much else that can be done here. Or maybe it’s just me – maybe I just don’t get the concept of this. Still, I’m a sucker for a really good metal album, but in my book, this is not one of those.

Jon Wilmenius (4/10)

Tracklist:

01. Death Dealer
02. Never To Kneel
03. Warmaster
04. Children Of Flames
05. Curse Of The Heretic
06. Hammer Down
07. Devil’s Mile
08. Liberty Or Death
09. Heads, Spikes, Walls
10. Wraiths On The Wind
11. Judge, Jury And Executioner
12. Triumph And Victory

8 comments on “DEATH DEALER – Warmaster

  1. Cheers for this. As a Manowar fan I was contemplating this but I didn’t dig the Ross The Boss albums either so I was reluctant to waste money. Now I know not to! I did enjoy Lord of Steel but I agree that a reunion is a great idea. I just wish Scott Columbus was still around to be involved.

  2. Yes. Scott Columbus might not have been the greatest drummer in the world, but to me he was the true Manowar skin beater and it’s not the same without him.

    As for this album, you can always listen to this clip and see what you think.

    • Cheers for the clip, Jon. Not bad but not great either. I can see how a whole album might get wearisome. Your Ripper-era Priest comparison sounds pretty close (right down to their singers taste in clothes it seems!).

      • Heavy Metal Overlord. Don’t listen to this guy maybe take a run at the 2000 other reviews that love it. It is all opinions so we understand but if you like true metal you will probably like this. When people say an album is too long they need to get another hobby.

      • Like you said, it’s all opinions and this is only mine. I just write exactly how I feel. And it’s not about if I like true metal or not, style hasn’t anything to do with it it. I have a very broad taste in music and when it comes to rock I love everything from AOR to Black Metal. I am a Manowar fan and I kinda believe that they are what you call “true metal”. It’s not about genre, this album just wasn’t to my liking, as simple as that.

  3. Jon thanks for your review. Tho I don’t agree with your take on it you are entitled of course . Just a few things I’d like to clarify. First , the arch lie that was put out there by someone saying that I “left Manowar to play more bluesy music ” is at best whimsical . I was asked to leave Manowar by Mr. Demaio on the eve of releasing Kings of Metal . Why would I do this before our biggest album ? Surely history has proved that move one of the worst in metal history . Secondly DeathDealer the band and the name is Sean Peck and Stu Marshal’s creation . I was asked to join 16 or so months ago which I did gladly . Our Warmaster CD has received a constant 9/10 9.5/10 ratings except yours of course . But in the end all that matters really is the response from the fans and that has been awesome. DeathDealer will be touring the world in the coming months and gracing the biggest festival stages next year . I hope to meet you Jon at one of these gigs !! Cheers

    • Wow. Thank YOU, Ross, for reading and taking the time to post a comment here. As a Manowar fan, I am honored.
      I’m sorry if I wrote something that wasn’t true. The thing about you leaving Manowar to playing blues is something that I have read on many occasions since your departure and I had no idea that Joey asked you to leave. Sorry about that.
      I have read some reviews of this album and clearly a lot of people really like this album and that’s great. Still, when I write I can only write what I feel and believe me, I don’t like to bash music, especially when it comes from musicians I respect and grew up listening to.
      That said, good luck to you and your band and I really hope you’ll do well in the future. Thanks again for stopping by. Peace.

  4. DEATH DEALR will always be for HMFANS the HM CULT band from Jonquière-Canada who played for the first time in ’83 on the historical Metal Blade records alond side with Sacred Blade. DEATH DEALER will always be This ’80 Canadian metal band with famous songs as ‘The Faddist, Death Dealer, Occident Tale, Sherry, Cross my way, … ‘ SEE THEM ON YOUTUBE …DD is not this socalled new band with ROSS Something!!! DON’T CHANGE THE PAST OF THE BEAUTIFULL HISTORY OF THE HEAVY METAL………….. USE an OTHER NAME Please ROSS!!!!

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