Holy hell, Manowar has released so many concert CDs and DVDs (and VHS tapes, back in the mists of time) that I’ve lost count. But I have watched them all over the years, and am proud to say that I’ve been there in person to see the self-professed Kings of Metal perform on several occasions. The band’s energy is absolutely amazing in the live setting, and so is their precision. Naturally, I was eagerly awaiting the release of this EP, with each of its six tracks recorded in a different country on the band’s 2012-13 tour. Other than the first song, “Thunder in the Sky,” everything is from 2012’s excellent The Lord of Steel album. Of course, the group’s many other live albums cover the earlier material, so perhaps it’s not strictly necessary here, but this makes me want to hear the classics. Every night must have been recorded in full, so conceivably a more comprehensive live CD/DVD/Blu-Ray/whatever could be on the way? In any case, sticking with the nearly-single-album theme, where are “Born in a Grave” and “Annihilation”?! Unfortunately, I missed the tour and haven’t seen any set-lists, but if they don’t play those two live… I just don’t get that. Such questions aside, the recording and sound quality on display are absolutely phenomenal, although everything is edited to seem like a single show, with the crowd noise blended from track to track. I like it, but it’s kind of odd to think about, and makes me wonder how much other studio magic was done. There is no way to know by just listening to it that this was recorded separately in Milan, Stockholm, Helsinki, Frankfurt, Moscow, and Prague. If I had to, I’d have guessed it was all from a gig in Italy, since Eric Adams says, to thunderous applause and cheers, “Fuck the world! Hail to Italy!” after the end of “Thunder in the Sky.” I’m not sure if I wish that he’d done that for every city or not. (“Fuck the world! Hail to Elkhart!” -said by no one, ever.) The bottom line is that the only real flaw with this live EP is that 27 minutes of Manowar just isn’t enough.
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