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Few bands can retain the long term popularity and success that Manowar has. Only legendary bands like Maiden, Priest, Ozzy, and Sabbath continue selling records and concert tickets on the scale that Manowar does. How do they do it? Like them or not, they are tremendous showmen. Everything they do is over the top. Their latest release "The Sons of Odin" is the perfect example of the group taking something seemingly minuscule—a single—and making it massive.
"The Sons of Odin" was supposed to be a mere single; instead, Manowar added two new tracks and two live tracks. The version I am reviewing "The Immortal Edition" is an immaculate gatefold album that comes with a slip case cover. This version also comes with a bonus DVD complete with a Fan Convention Documentary, Heart of Steel Choir and Orchestra rehearsal, Earthshaker Fest 2005 promo trailer showing Manowar and the Orchestra playing together in front of thousands of fans, and a slideshow of pictures from the convention with the album's audio tracks playing in 5.1 Surround Sound.
The album portion of this package begins with two live tracks, "The Ascension" and "King of Kings". These classic tracks are a testimony to Manowar’s superb live sound. Bands will often exclude any orchestral or keyboard arrangements when playing live. Not Manowar. They perform these tracks exactly as they appeared on the album. After nearly thirty years of screaming his lungs out, Eric Adams still has it in him, perfectly hitting his highs.
The new tracks are classic Manowar battle hymns. "Odin" could be used in a movie score for movies like "Conan the Barbarian" or "Beast Master". It's melodic notes hover somberly like a warrior sadly watching his family incinerate on a funeral pyre. Horns and drums, and even a gong change the downtrodden tone to one of awe and bravery.
The grandiose orchestrations of "Odin" transition into more classical anthems of might with "Gods of War". Like Heimdall signifying the coming of Ragnarok, this track is called in with majestic horns and thunderous kettle drums. The rhythm created by the orchestra is mimicked by Manowar's instruments of electricity and steel—guitar, bass, and drums. The said guitar riff is heavy and potent, the type of rhythm a Norse king would have wanted in his mead hall after a victorious battle. This track will be great for fans to swing their beer to while singing along at home or live.
The title track is good enough that Manowar could have released it by itself as a single and it would have kept the fans happy. This track features a chugging riff, seemingly made of chain mail backed by magical choirs. The music breaks into a drum and bass verse made to draw attention to Eric Adams valiant narrations. The steely-toned guitar cuts in as Adams voice becomes more frantic, exciting the will for war, until Adams hits his trademark warrior cry near the end of the track. An organ signifies the closing of battle, and what looks like our characters losing the battle. Soon the horns and drums kick in and the narrator (Odin) tells us the warriors hit their berserker rage and overcame their foes.
The DVD portion shows a documentary of their fan convention. Manowar fans are nuts! They are some of the most faithful fans in all of music, some coming as far as Brazil and Australia to witness this once-in-a-lifetime event. Fans from a total of thirty-five countries came to pay tribute to one of metal's greatest bands. The organizer got with Manowar to put on an awesome spectacle of Manowar memorabilia and events including a framed contract singed in the band's blood on display, a beer drinking contest, fans interview past and present band members, Miss Manowar 2005, and many other events geared toward the Manowar lifestyle. The whole convention was a Manowar fan's dream, which further shows the band’s devotion to its fans. It also makes for a great video for those who couldn't attend this monumental event. Oh yeah, and there were plenty of boobs!
There are other sections of the DVD worth noting, but the documentary is the majority of the disc. More than enough has been said for this album, especially considering it is only a five-song E.P. Fans of the band will buy this album to see for themselves, anyway. Mark my words, these fans will not be a bit disappointed with the final product.
originally published on metal-mayhem.co.uk
Manowar. The name of the group itself can spark a thousand words, yet Manowar is such a legendary band in several ways. Everything from the band's heavy riffing, to the soaring vocals, and to the bloody Viking imagery; Manowar is a hell of a band. There has been a good four year since the world last heard from this dynamic powerhouse, but Manowar fans can once again rejoice. Manowar's newest release, "The Sons Of Odin," is an epic EP that displays the utter dominance of this classic band.
The two live tracks make this EP shine. "The Ascension" and "King of Kings" are the featured live tracks on this EP, and they sound fantastic. The production manages to capture the electricity of Manowar's live performance while maintaining a crystal clear sound. The title track off the EP is a classic Manowar song that hardcore fans will gobble up. The traditional metal riffing is right up the alley of classic Manowar songs, yet "Sons Of Odin" is clearly part of an evolved Manowar. There are a lot of symphonic and operatic effects scattered throughout the song and it seems darker than older Manowar material.
This is a really nice EP. "The Sons Of Odin" lacks any kind of filler and is an exciting preview of Manowar's new record. If you like Manowar, this is a must have.
This review was written for: http://www.Thrashpit.com
Just when you thought Manowar couldn't get any more epic, any more broad, or any more heroic, they pull this EP out of their ass. It's worth it for the 3 new songs alone (an instrumental, and 2 new songs.) It's darker than Warriors of the World or Dawn of Battle, and more epic than King of Kings, which was included (in a live version) here. What can you expect here? Symphony, midpaced epic anthems. You can expect chanted chorii, and excessive viking themed lyrics.
However, as one astute reviewer said, Manowar is Manowar is Manowar. You will only be surprised by the absolute epicness and wagnerian magnitude of this EP. It's surprisingly un-cheesy, but the thing is Manowar have combined the great production values of their newer material with the songwriting of Hail to England and Into Glory Ride, with the darker edge of their newer material.
If this was longer, this would be my favorite Manowar release. The quality of the material, however, is top notch. A must get.