Manowar - Hell on Earth, Part IV - DVD review
Heavy Metal

Release year: 2005
Manowar, SPV
Reviewed by Alex

Regardless of what anyone says or what this band does in the future, Manowar will always occupy a personal and special niche in my heart. One of my first metal bands, Manowar stuck with me through my metal formative years, through my brief moments of military service time, through my college years which were very lean on metal.

For those of you who don’t know, if metal wasn’t officially outlawed in the former USSR, the authorities made it very hard for the metal to flow out among the general public. Ridiculous articles in ideological publications never scared anybody, but free LP and tape trade was severely persecuted. There was a place in Kiev, not far from the Central Railway Station, where traders and sellers would gather to exchange and barter. Police, knowing full well about that spot, organized periodic round-ups capturing people and their priceless goods. If you were caught carrying both music and money you could have criminal charges filed against you for “speculation”. If you only had one or other, you were considered to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time, they would confiscate the LPs and might let you go. I heard later that police officers would resell the music to their own dealers. Corruption was rampant.

I generally bought my music from foreign students studying at one of Kiev’s universities. They had access outside of the “iron curtain” and brought in stuff for their own “personal enjoyment”. From them one LP could cost as much as a third of my dad’s monthly salary, who was a top flight mechanical engineer. Every Saturday I would round up my friends, so one of us, most often me, would carry LPs, and someone else would hold the money. Safer, if police gets you caught, and if a trade or sale pans out, then the two of us and a potential buyer/seller could momentarily gather for a transaction. One Saturday no one could accompany me to that park, so I had to go alone, both LPs and money in hand. As luck would have it, police staged an operation that day. Since it was totally unaffordable to part with money, I had to do something about the LPs I was carrying. As the cops were rounding us up I managed to dig a hole in the ground and hide my Into the Glory Ride and Hail to England LPs. By the time we got to the station I only had cash on me, and cops, angry that they could not do much about it, gave me a good beating and let me go. Next day I was over at the park, flashlight in tow, digging for Manowar’s music. I was 14 at the time.

When time was to join the mandatory military service in 1988, Fighting the World and Kings of Metal were my everyday companions, the only thing that could lift my spirits up. While briefly serving the country, I found that those precious few metal fans who were actually there in my unit also regarded Manowar highly. Those kids who never heard metal before were also turned on to it by the sounds of Manowar tapes some relatives managed to sneak through with letters from home.

Such is the power of Manowar. Never to be confused with the most sophisticated and/or technical band out there, this foursome (in its every line-up configuration) epitomizes the connection seemingly dissimilar people can have over metal. Manowar is a band for the fans, it is the band that manages to unite metal crowds, bringing together metal fans of all genres. Manowar has that undeniable “it”, a necessary prerequisite to a lengthy rock band career, despite how cheesy and over the top they might be.

Hell on Earth, Part IV, continues the series of Hell on Earth DVDs and does nothing to subtract from the notion expressed in the above paragraph. Filmed during the Warriors of the World tour and the European festival circuit, the DVD features a lot of the songs from the latest album. Instead of focusing on just one show where all footage is taken, it seems that every song is filmed at a different venue and all shows are packed with capacity crowds. Shoulder to shoulder, every European arena is crammed, fans of all ages from all over Europe flocking to participate in Manowar directed metal brotherhood. It is extremely effective when The Fight for Freedom is sung over pictures of European gigs overflowing with fans, one after another.

Disc I features 13 full-length songs with excellent sound and multiple camera angles. In between we have brief fan interviews, label and festival people singing praise for Manowar, Joey DeMaio making out with chicks (some portions of this DVD is not exactly your family entertainment), etc. Most of the songs come from the latest album, but Kings of Metal, Brothers of Metal, Spirit Horse of the Cherokee, Master of the Wind, Courage and Outlaw are plucked from various other Manowar offerings. The live versions of some of the songs from Warriors of the World made me appreciate them a little more than when I first heard them. For example, American Trilogy, an Elvis cover song, sung at Popkomm Gala in Germany makes much better sense now, with Joey De Maio “conducting” the orchestra. The DVD flows nicely, and you get the feeling because it is Manowar they can use about any song sequencing and it would work. The band is not afraid to string three acoustics in row, Swords in the Wind, Master of the Wind and Courage, when Eric Adams would just sit on stage between DeMaio and Karl Logan strumming electroacoustic guitars. Yet, when the need exists to kick it up a notch House of Death and Outlaw follow back to back.

Bonus material is vast and various: bonus alternative videos of Warriors of the World United and I Believe, a ton of Behind the Scenes footage and even an Audio CD containing the King of Kings track from the forthcoming full-length Manowar album. If this song is of any indication, the epic chapter will continue with symphonic orchestral elements, big sound, narration, choppy bass riffs, superb chorus hooks and underrated Logan’s solo.

In one of the interviews, Joey DeMaio says that his life is Manowar, that he never got married and dedicated all of himself to this metal outfit. Eric Adams chimes in saying that this is exactly what brings him happiness – to lead a life of a rock musician, writing songs, traveling the world, performing for fans. You get the feeling of sincerity in these answers, and I am envious. The person is truly blessed when what he does for a living brings him joy and happiness, whether he/she is a rock musician, chemistry professor, computer engineer or day laborer.

Killing Songs :
One great show
Alex quoted no quote
Other albums by Manowar that we have reviewed:
Manowar - The Lord of Steel reviewed by Olivier and quoted 59 / 100
Manowar - Gods of War Live reviewed by Jeff and quoted no quote
Manowar - Gods of War reviewed by Jeff and quoted 70 / 100
Manowar - Sons of Odin (EP) CD ONLY VERSION reviewed by Jeff and quoted no score
Manowar - Hell On Earth III reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
To see all 14 reviews click here
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