Released: 2006, SPV
Still waiting for that elusive new Manowar full-length? Well, Manowar have thrown their fans yet another bone, this time an EP. While it’s been 4 years since Manowar’s lukewarm (though I won’t lie, I love it) follow-up to 1996’s LOUDER THAN HELL, the band hasn’t exactly been quiet on the release front. So far there’s been 3 parts of the HELL ON EARTH DVD series as well as the KING OF KINGS single (which was included with 2005’s HELL ON EARTH PART IV) since 2002’s WARRIORS OF THE WORLD was released.
This new EP, SONS OF ODIN, has been released as a way to drum up interest for both the new album (due in 2007) as well as the band’s upcoming concert DVD that, as of this publishing, should be freshly released. With this EP there are two versions, one being the standard version, which is merely the stand alone CD with 5 tracks, the other being, what is called, the “Immortal Edition”. This second version includes a DVD and comes in a slipcase/digipack format.
First thing’s first though, what are you getting with the audio? Well, you’re getting two live tracks, which basically amounts to the KING OF KINGS single, except live, 2 brand new songs, and an orchestral interlude (think “Valhalla”). The two live tracks are good, but certainly not essential. Both, “The Ascension” and “King of Kings” were recorded at The Earthshaker festival and these will be released again on the upcoming DVD from this performance. In “The Ascension”, you have a build-up to the up tempo track, “King of Kings”. If you’ve already heard the track before, there isn’t much to note here as the live version is essentially the same thing, just a tad rawer. “Odin” sits as the interlude or separator between the live tracks and the brand new songs. It’s an orchestral track; big, pompous, and overblown. I’d expect no less, but really, with this track and “The Ascension” on here, I’m getting three actual songs. Both new tracks cap off the audio section of the album, “Gods of War” being a mid-paced Manowar styled hymn, certainly the type of track built for the live crowd to sing-a-long to. The chorus is epic for sure and the song doesn’t disappoint. In “The Sons of Odin” we have a mid-paced typical Manowar bone cruncher. The track uses a lot of the Manowar trademarks, like delaying guitar use till the chorus and the spoken word section tacked onto the end of the song. This one sits as the better of the two new tracks.
For those that get the Immortal edition you have the bonus DVD to look to after you’ve digested the audio. Visually fans get a half hour documentary of the Manowar Fan Convention that took place in 2005, a trailer for the upcoming DVD, a slide show, 5.1 surround sound mixes of the EP, and a video of “Heart of Steel” played in rehearsal, with a choir and orchestra, for the Earthshaker Festival.
Now, what’s the problem with this release? There’s barely any exclusive material. Both new tracks, along with “King of Kings”, are to be on the new album. The live version of “King of Kings” will be on the upcoming DVD. The fan convention documentary is to be on the upcoming DVD, but instead of being a half hour long, it’s going to be 3 hours in length. So, out of all of this… what are you getting that you won’t get elsewhere? A slide show, surround sound mixes, “Heart of Steel” in rehearsal, and possibly the “Odin” orchestral track (though I’m thinking this will be on the next full-length as well).
This EP is only for the diehards that can’t get enough of their Manowar fix since you’ll be able to get just about everything of note, elsewhere in the coming months. I’m still happy I bought it, though I can’t figure out why…