I realize this may seem a bit off-topic, since this forum is supposed to be for discussions of Shadow Demon. But I'm actually really curious to hear the opinions of Shadow Demon's band members on this one, so hopefully it's not too out of place. The topic? Manowar. What do you guys think about them? Not only as fans of metal music, but also as professional musicians in the same genre of the industry. Do you think their over-the-top themes, cover art, and public personas give some people the wrong impression about a genre of music that you'd rather was taken completely seriously? Or do you look at it as being all in good fun, and perhaps even as being a good counter-balance for the vast majority of bands out there who would never dream of doing anything less than "hardcore." I had been marginally aware of Manowar for several years now, but never actually picked up one of their albums. I didn't know a great deal about them, but was definately a bit turned-off by their Renaissance-Fair-Style costumes, and album covers that resembled Conan-inspired wet dreams. In short, I thought they were pretty much a joke, and not worth the time to fully check out. However, I noticed in passing recently that their latest album, "Gods of War", is heavily inspired by Norse Mythology. Which just so happens to be a major passion of mine. On the one hand, part of me cringed at the thought of what kind of treatment that subject might recieve at the hands of a band that I considered to be little more than a campy parody, but on the other hand, I felt compelled to check it out. So I listened to some samples of tracks off the album, and found myself... well, blown away. I'll be honest here, these guys really impressed me. I've since purchased the album and listened to it several times. These guys even went so far as to write all the song lyrics in the CD booklet in Runic script. I thought that was pretty damn cool. And now I find myself completely reassessing the band. Rather than looking down on Manowar because of their over-the-top presentation, I'm actually starting to appreciate it as being all in good fun. Perhaps even likening them to the fire-breathing and blood-spitting antics of KISS. What do you guys think about Manowar? Fans and fellow professionals alike. Do you think they help or hinder the genre?