Ah, as I approach my ten year annivesary of being into the “Kings of Metal”, I figured I’d write a review of what is their latest release, “Gods of War Live” (wow what an original title).
Anyway, as any Loincloth enthusiast should know, this is Manowar’s third live album, if you don’t count live dvds of Manowar (six and counting).
Now, I understand each live album is supposed to have more and more songs that aren’t played as much live anymore, and this is no exception.
As far as the album goes, it ranges from mediocre to great, and this album rating wise could fall in between the two “Hell” live albums, that is Hell on Wheels and Hell on Stage live.
One complaint I would have is the audience is slightly muffled. Not as muffled as on Hell on Wheels, but missing that audience interactive element in the mix that made Hell on Stage so great.
Also, Eric Adams flounders a bit on this recording. The first three songs feature him in mainly a lower register, and you can blame this on the rigors of touring, but he sounds tired on the first few songs.
The band really shines on most of the tracks though, especially the second half of the first disc (Mountains, The Oath, etc).
I am mixed on playing the songs in a different key. Yes they tune much lower than back then (I know some of the songs were tuned to D back then, and then now they tune THESE songs even lower now. The songs in E back then are tuned to D now), but I sometimes feel like it stunts how the music originally sounded. I suppose I’m a stickler about this, as I can make the same complaint about 90’s live Priest and also any live Black Sabbath. Unlike Priest (Sabbath has always been all over the place tuning wise), Manowar are able to get away with this up to a point. Also, some of the songs seem slower, maybe to add to their “epic” feel, I don’t know?
Minor complaints about playing aside, the band itself sounds great and tight as ever. Eric Adams is a little raw at times though, and maybe we could have had more overdubs, but then it wouldn’t be a “live album” would it?
Either way, Secrets of Steel and Gloves of Metal are CRUSHING in their lower tuning, and these songs are probably the highlight of the album.
Mountains is hardly ever played live, and its great to see that here as well.
Now on to the second disc: Gods of War is a concept album, and they only play about half of it live. The unfortunate thing with this, is that I feel that they are missing the better tracks. The earlier “Sons of Odin” that came out I feel was better performance wise and also the tracklisting was great. Of course, King of Kings and its intro are my favorite tracks off the new album (along with Army of the Dead, which is “played”, er, sung here) so having them absent makes the second disc feel empty in a way.
Also, I feel Loki God Of Fire would’ve given the second disc an energy boost.
So I will have to say that the live album is good, but lackluster considering the band and their history. The better parts are the second half of the first disc and the rest is good but Manowar has done better, Hell on Stage live remains their quintessential live release.