|Classic Review: Manowar - Battle Hymns (Silver Edition)|
|Battle Hymns (Silver Edition)|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2001
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: May 16, 2003
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
for:Battle Hymns (Silver Edition)
Rated 4.36/5 (87.27%) (44 Votes)
Manowar's debut album is often seen as a mandatory metal release, so it's not surprising that some 20 years after its initial release, this remastered Silver Edition came out as a commemorative release. One thing that's immediately noticeable is that Eric Adams' voice has improved tremendously over the years. His performance on "Warriors of the World" overshadows that of the debut by an order of magnitude. That's not to say that the vocals aren't any good on this debut, his technique is just not as good as on the band's later releases, which kind of make sense anyway. ;)
The music is quite straightforward, a good mix of early 80s American metal, NWOBHM, and a little hard rock-ish influence à la AC/DC. Some of the tracks have this "party rock" vibe that was quite common in the heavy metal circles at the time - think early Twisted Sister and early Mötley Cr¨e - not that there's anything here that sounds like these bands, but the vibe is there, along with the so-so lyrical content. :) The first song opens on the sound of motorcycle engines, but some of them sound more like lawnmowers... I tried to suppress a smile when picturing the Manowar boys mowing their lawn, I really tried!
There's only one track that sounds out of place, and from the liner notes it seems like this was also the opinion of reviewers back when the album was released: "William's Tale" is essentially the William Tell Overture played on bass. Not very interesting coming out of a CD, but I guess it's cool to see it performed live. The others songs, however, just plain rule. You've got some easy-going rockers like "Death Tone", "Metal Daze" (covered by its share of bands over the years), "Fast Taker", "Shell Shock" and "Manowar" (which is filled with some very cool guitar solos - air-guitar at the ready!) Then there's a couple of more epic-sounding songs, a bit less easy-going than the others: "Dark Avenger" and the closer "Battle Hymn". "Dark Avenger" is a bit of a moody, dark song with a much slower pace than the rest of the album, and includes some narration by Orson Welles that is amazingly well-fitting for this song. "Battle Hymn" is one of the band's classic, pretty much mid-paced, epic as epics go, a very good performance by Eric Adams who is brought forward in the middle of the song where the instruments die down for a minute or so, only to come back stronger with the drums followed by a guitar solo. I'm trying to put into words something that must be experienced with one's ears here. :) Excellent song.
The band hasn't changed its sound much over its 20+ years career, but then again they have sort of this "timeless" sound, something that still sounds good two decades later, so it's pretty much a winning formula - just look at the size of their fan base... Although the lyrics can be a bit of a deterrent for more... reality-driven people. :)) Anyway, "Battle Hymns" is a classic metal album that everyone should have in their collection.
Originally released in 1982.
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