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Manowar - Hell On Earth IV (DVD)

Hell On Earth IV - DVD
by David Kaluza at 10 August 2005, 4:45 PM

First off all - let me start this review off by stating that, no matter how much fun I occasionally might poke at the band and their fanbase, I actually do consider myself to be a fan as well. After all, if you put aside a lot of the imagery, the band has written many great songs in the past (and hopefully will do so in the future too).
The main problem with Hell On Earth IV however, is that it simply contains a bit too much imagery and less misic to actually be an essential purchase for the average Heavy Metal fan. While the discs are absolutely stacked with content (more than four hours with an additional third disc containing a completely new and yet unreleased song) there really is nothing on display here that we have not yet seen or heard on any of the previous HOE DVDs. We already know about the fans, their adoration for the band and have already heard every true Metal speech or statement that Joey has come up with about a million times before and quite frankly it is getting old rather fast.
But let's look at the content of the discs before everyone starts accusing me of simply writing a review to slagg the band off. The Main Program on disc 1 is easily the most enjoyable of the two discs. As with the previous Manowar DVD releases we are treated to a mixture of live songs and touring footage. We actually also get an option to simply play the songs and leave everything else out (which in my opinion is a really good decision since even though the touring footage is fun to see once or twice, it really is not worth seeing over and over again). It all sounds and looks absolutely stunning, like we have come to expect from the band by now (as far as production values are concerned, there hardly are any contenders out there) - although I must also add that certain songs are edited in a rather dubious way by having the screen spliced in three or four, with each part showing a different image, something which is rather distracting and annoying. Luckily this only happens on a few occasions and the rest of the songs are quite enjoyable (with the highlights being the acoustic songs this time around - which really show off Eric's vocal abilities).
Disc 2 exists entirely out of behind the scenes and touring footage, with an additional easter egg of about 30 minutes simply containing more of the same. Unless you actually appear in any of the segments yourself, it is highly unlikely that this disc might get played too much, and while entertaining enough on a rainy Sunday afternoon you'd only wish the band would come up with some more Live footage instead (how about giving us some older shows or rare live songs ? Or a lengthy retrospective with various members discussing various stage in the band's career and the albums ?). Both DVDs also contain options for commentary by various members of the band / crew  (which is quite rare for music DVDs) and are surprisingly entertaining (especially the one containing the entire band) but why on earth Demaio needs to have two seperate tracks (one featuring the entire band and one on his own) is a bit beyond me.
The third disc finally, contains the new song King of Kings and its intro The Ascension, and while it might absolutely be a by-the-numbers epic affair (including the slow, dramatic bit in the middle and the rather annoying chick-chack drum sound we have come to expect from Scott Columbus the last 10 years) it also is quite a decent song which can easily hold its own when compared to anything on Warriors of The World or Louder than Hell and does wet the appetite for the forthcoming album.  
Final conclusion ? While the disc might be a must have for the die-hard Manowar fan with too much money in his pocket (if only for the new song), casual buyers or people not yet owning a  Manowar DVD are better off buying the 2002 release Fire And Blood instead.

3 Star Rating

Disc 1

- Entire 2002 Warriors Of The World promotion and touring cycle.
- 1 hour 30 minutes of main program.
- 6 bonus songs for 30 minutes of additional bonus material.
- 11 full live songs:

Kings Of Metal
Brothers Of Metal
Warriors Of The World United
An American Trilogy
Call To Arms
I Believe
Spirit Horse Of The Cherokee
Swords In The Wind
Master Of The Wind
House Of The Death

- Subtitles in 12 languages.
- 5.1 surround sound mix.
- Various personal band interviews.
- Private behind the scenes footage.
- A true visual tribute to the fans.
- Highlighting concerts in 35 cities throughout Europe.
- Shot with 70 camera angles.
- Commentary track with all band members.
- Director Neil Johnson's commentary track.
- Personal commentary track by Joey DeMaio.
- New artwork by fantasy art legend Ken Kelly.

Disc 2

- 1 hour of bonus behind the scenes footage.
- 1 hour of complete TV shows featuring Manowar.
- (incl. TV-Total, Olli Pocher, VIVA Comet and Popkomm Gala).
- Special commentary track featuring director Neil Johnson.
- Personal commentary track by Joey DeMaio.
- Subtitles in 12 languages.
- 30 minute easter egg.
- Special commentary track by editor and director.
- 4.5 hours total.
Eric Adams - Vocals
Joey Demaio - Bass
Carl Logan - Guitars
Scott Columbus - Drums
Record Label: SPV / Steamhammer


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