Released: 2006, Magic Circle Records
Reviewer: Erin Fox
Other than AC/DC, the old saying “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” probably applies to Manowar more so than any other metal outfit. Having built up a tremendous legacy over the course of their stories career, the band has stuck by what works. In doing so, they have managed to craft a perception of value like few other bands in the realm of heavy metal. Fans know exactly what can be expected from Manowar. True to form, the band’s very first EP, THE SONS OF ODIN IMMORTAL EDITION, is a greatly impressive package that far surpasses what most metal fans anticipate from an EP release. As a precursor to the band’s forthcoming, highly-anticipated full-length record, GODS OF WAR, this package sets a benchmark for quality in such an effort.
In terms of packaging, this record will easily catch the eyes of many a metal fan from the record store shelves. Even cooler than an O-card release, THE SONS OF ODIN features a boxed digipak that’s of the highest quality. As always, this release is fully decked out with eye-catching artwork, with the swords of the warriors Manowar raised high in anticipation of battle with oncoming demons. When you open up the tri-fold digipak, a poster is tucked inside as well, with the audio CD and DVD nestled into each outward flap. It’s hard to describe how impressive this looks without seeing the entire thing for yourself. Presentation is paramount and in this case, it’s perfect.
So what of the new Manowar music? It’s powerful, symphonic and very well-written. Manowar has taken slight cues from their protégées Rhapsody Of Fire in creating theatrics. The live intro, “The Ascension” and the EP’s outro frame the three full tracks nicely, setting a foreboding, regal tone that bodes very well for the proper full-length and creates much anticipation to hear something further. “King Of Kings” is extremely dramatic, with a signature performance. Eric Adams sings with great passion and offers plenty of dynamics, Joey DeMaio’s trademark bass sound is evident and bold, Scott Columbus’ drumming is spot on-point (especially his rapid double kicks which build this particular cut to its coda) and Karl Logan shreds his fretboard like a madman. Next up, the movingly symphonic “Odin” rings in with an air of pure majesty, bridging the two full-length songs. “Gods Of War” resonates with an atmosphere of the most mighty of battle hymns. Starting with a low-toned verse, the track builds into a full-blown epic masterpiece. Logan’s razor-edged melodies complement the mid-paced, kettledrum enhanced rhythm perfectly and Adams’ vocal presence is nothing short of amazing, especially on the screams at the track’s end. “The Sons Of Odin,” closes the entire affair, first with a familiar, typical Manowar theme that serves to relieve the tension built by “Gods Of War,” while building anticipation for the music that’s to follow next year. This track is most representative of the sound Manowar is best known for. An ominous outro ends the audio presentation, setting the stage for what is likely to be a landmark follow-up, if these five cuts are any proper indication.
Next, you have the DVD. Here’s the rundown. 38 minutes of video from the 2005 Manowar fan convention. A rehearsal for the most excellent track “Heart Of Steel,” complete with a full orchestra and backing choir. All five EP tracks mixed in dolby 5.1 Surround Sound. A preview of the band’s upcoming double live DVD, Earthshaker Fest 2005 and a slideshow of fan-submitted Manowar photos to boot. Never in the history of heavy metal has such an awesome amount of work been put into releasing an EP.
Was it mentioned that purchase of this fantastic package also entitles the fans to enter to win their very own, fully customized Manowar chopper? What more could any Manowar follower ask for? Hail and kill, warriors! Behold the Kings of Metal!