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Manowar Albums Ranked by the Hotness of the Sweaty Beefcakes on the Cover

Manowar is to metal, what KISS is to rock and roll: Iconic imagery. Rabid fanbase. Debatable music (at best).

But one thing that we can all agree on is that Manowar loves putting hot, sweaty beefcakes on their album covers. And we at The Hard Times love a hot sweaty beefcake. So let’s do this. Also, we’re only doing non-live, full-length albums, because cash-grab live albums are the opposite of hot, sweaty, or beefy.

11/10. Battle Hymns (1982) & Sign of the Hammer (1984)

Can an album cover get less than zero? Because what the shit is this? I mean I sorta get it with “Battle Hymns” as it was their first album and they probably hadn’t learned that all anyone wants from this band is hot, sweaty beefcakes on the covers. But 4 albums in, there is no excuse for “Sign of the Hammer.” More like “Sign of the Not Gonna Listen to This Album Unless They Change the Art and Put a Hot Ass Dude Holding an Axe on There.”

9. Gods of War (2007)

Now you might look at this cover and think “super ripped sweaty beefcakes and boobs?!?! How is this not number one?” But here’s the thing. If you’re gonna show nudity, show nudity. Boobs are great. We all love boobs. But why the hell are the dudes with swords wearing pants? We get that they’ve got those dope codpieces, but not one of them is hanging dong?!? Horseshit. At least let one testicle hang out of the side. And you know what’s the worst part? We guarantee there was a conversation about it. At least one guy in that band was like “why aren’t the sweaty beefcakes showing their dingle dangles?” And deep down everyone involved knew what should happen. But nobody stood up and did the right thing. And that’s how fascism takes power.

8. Hail to England (1984)

No. England gets no hails. We do like the sorta comic book style of the cover art and it’s definitely moving in the right direction, but still no. Manowar’s whole thing is being from New York and dressing like “Game of Thrones” Chippendales. We don’t need to bring Royal Family nonsense into it.






7. Louder Than Hell (1996)

Teasing is great. We all love a tease, especially when the tease is this vascular. But we don’t like Manowar covers because of the tease. We want a full-on, hot sweaty beefcake. And while there is some of that, we’re just not seeing enough. Definitely appreciate that it’s a closer shot than usual, so we can get some beefcake details, otherwise known as beeftails. But other than that this cover is meh. Who knows? Maybe it folds out into a dope, hot, sweaty poster. But we’ll never know, because we’ve moved on to other albums.


6/5. Kings of Metal (1988) & Warriors of the World (2002)

Both of these covers would be waaaaay cooler without the flag nonsense. Imagine seeing a hot sweaty beefcake in real life and thinking “Dope. That is a hot, sweaty beefcake, which I support.” And then they pull out a broad sword and you’re like “Hell yeah. Didn’t think this could get cooler, but then it did.” And then in the most non-Chad move of all time, they then pull out an American flag. Yikes. Nothing wrong with being from the States. Some might even say Hard Times is based in the States. But we don’t wanna have to be worrying about where this dude was on January 6. Keep your nationalism out of my hot sweaty beefcakes.

4. Into Glory Ride (1983)

You know when your friend started referring to exercise as “gains”? That’s the whole vibe of this cover. Meanwhile there are no gains to be seen, despite the fact that it feels like they probably won’t shut the fuck up about it. And to be clear, we don’t body-shame at The Hard Times. But what the hell is this? We don’t want an actual photo of the band. We want greased up, hot, sweaty beefcakes, regardless of body-type. At least the dude on the left understood the assignment. Everyone else is giving off the vibe of that feeling when you thought something looked great in the store dressing room but now you gotta wear it to the dinner party and you realize it’s kinda ridiculous. Not the guy on the left though. When he bought his fur thunderoos, he knew exactly what he was getting into, and there is no way in hell he’s not showing them off.

3. The Triumph of Steel (1992)

This would probably be number 2 if it wasn’t for the use of the word “triumph.” Just literally any other word not associated with the rise of fascism and all we’re focusing on is this fictional, faceless hot sweaty beefcake who thankfully has dropped his flag-waving nonsense from some of the other albums. Call this album “Gains of Steel” and we’re all in.





2. The Lords of Steel (2012)

Here we go. This is getting good. This feels metal, without any of the weird vibes of some of the previous covers. And it’s scary metal. Dark and grim. There’s like a snake and a dragon-looking thing. But still, as always, hot, sweaty beefcakes. The sweatiest. And they have weapons. That’s probably the band surrounding the center beefcake, which is sorta cool. But it’d be a lot cooler if they were wearing less clothes. Not in an “objectification” but more in a “we’re here for the hot, sweaty beefcakes” way. Which we’re pretty sure is different.


1. Fighting the World (1987)

This. This is it. This is what we want. Before social media, it was very hard to see how someone else viewed themselves. Unless that someone else was Manowar. Because this album cover is exactly how they see themselves. Wish-fulfillment is kinda the whole Manowar thing. Which is another reason this cover works so well. It’s the actualization of everything Manowar is going for. It’s over-the-top, and seemingly not in a self-aware way. It’s four dudes paying an artist to paint them as the D&D warriors they always wanted to be and also maybe actually think they are. In chaps. Can we talk about the chaps? Because two of them are wearing chaps. That’s a real choice. And this is a painting. So there was time to see what the artist was doing and say “No, no. It’s absurd to be wearing chaps.” But instead these guys saw that and thought, “Goddamn I look awesome.” And that, in and of itself is in fact awesome. It’s “The Room” in an album cover. You don’t have to like anything about it to appreciate that what it is. Because what it is, is four hot, sweaty beefcakes.