Now that the retail edition has released on iTunes and will be shortly released on CD to the world, and I've also had the opportunity to give the Hammer edition a few more spins, I can confidently say that I was right. :P That Hammer edition sucks balls.
I have heard the 90-second previews of all 11 tracks on iTunes, and just from that little bit of information I can safely say that the mix was the biggest problem with the preview release. Thank God they decided to tone down that overamplified, fuzzy, farting bass guitar in the new mix. Each song snippet I've heard is so much fuller and more powerful than before. Believe it or not, "Hail, Kill and Die" might be one of the stronger tracks on the album now that there's some true, thundering, visceral power behind it.
Now that this album's been out for a while it seems like there's a little bit of backpedaling going on, with the Manowar camp saying the Hammer edition was meant to be a rough cut preview of the final project. That's not what their own hype machine said in June. Back then they billed it as a special edition which, "blazes with pure power, untamed energy, and a sound as raw and wild as a force of nature...features sure-to-slay tracks like El Gringo, Hail, Kill And Die!, Annihilation and Expendable and is an essential album for every true metal fan's collection." It wasn't.
Well, regardless of that fiasco, at least we finally have the definitive version releasing worldwide in a couple of days. I'm curious to hear the rest of that eleventh track, too, as the iTunes preview doesn't really do it justice. I will end up downloading this one, but I doubt I'm going to pay for it if I can get away with it. I'll shore up my guilt by deleting the only copy of the shitty version I already have, never to speak of it again. I did the same thing with Metallica's Death Magnetic when the Guitar Hero version got out, since they really screwed up the mastering on that original release too. My conscience is clear.
Moving on, here's some exciting news:
- Manowar has been tapped to do the soundtrack for an upcoming Jean-Claude Van Damme action flick.
- "Sons of Odin" has been appropriated as the theme song for an online PC RPG-type fighting game called Smite, wherein players take the roles of gods and goddesses from various cultures throughout the history of the world. The game is currently in beta version with over 500,000 players worldwide. A trailer with gameplay featuring the Manowar song can be found on YouTube.
- El Gringo releases on DVD today. It's at the top of my Netflix queue. I'll let you know how it is once I've watched it, and how well the Manowar tune fits it.
- Joey said in a recent radio interview with Eddie Trunk that the band has been approached by two major touring agencies in the US regarding tours that would give us around a dozen US dates each. No word on whether the band will be entertaining their offers yet, but the interest alone is a freaking FANTASTIC piece of news. They are finally making a mark in the States! The rest of 2012 is already on paper, but maybe 2013 can be the year of the Conquest of the Stateside Manowarriors.