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Manowar – Battle Hymns MMXI

Battle Hymns MMXI
by Jonathan Maphet at 14 December 2010, 2:12 AM

MANOWAR, also known as the greatest band of all time, have returned with a re-recording of their debut album, “Battle Hymns”. This is a superior recording to the original in every way possible. As a matter of fact, the first three MANOWAR albums have very bad production values. I am not sure as to why they would want to do this unless it is to regain the rights to the songs like KISS did in 2008, but KISS did it in case their songs were used in movies and commercials, so they would receive the full royalties since they no longer own their back catalog. They had to sell it to stay afloat as many bands have had to do; even THE BEATLES’ rights to their catalog were sold.

All that being so, I hardly expect that MANOWAR did this for add revenue. I have never heard a single MANOWAR song used for a commercial or in a movie. I am happy to say the recording is a wonderful surprise. I really didn’t know this was happening that far in advance. Another surprise is the fact that Christopher Lee was used to narrate “Dark Avenger”. Of course they couldn’t use the first man to do that duty, Orson Welles (RIP). Sir Christopher Lee manages to sound as ominous as he ever has, perhaps even more so. He sounds tremendous.

Since all songs are vastly improved versions of their original counterparts, it is hard to pick a favorite. While all songs did benefit from this new recording, I would have to say none did more so than, “Shell Shock”. I never knew how good this song could be. Just listen to the opening power chords riffing as cool as humanly possible. Eric Adams’ voice sounds great for the most part. He only struggles a few times with his screams, but it is most likely that he does so on purpose to match the original recording since more often than not the screams are pure banshee screams without any cracking or cut outs. These re-records are faithful to the originals. If anyone has listened to SAXON’s re-records on the special edition of “Killing Ground”. Those songs are from various albums, not just one, and they are much more bombastic and louder. The guitars are much more present and crunchy, much heavier. “Battle Hymns MMXI”’s songs are truer to the first album. I am glad they did this. These songs deserve the best production as can be done. Nothing will ever replace the first album, but this is a nice dedication to that landmark album.

If you are a MANOWAR fan, this is something you absolutely positively must have. Joey’s bass is over played just like it was on the original. Over the years, he has learned to accompany and blend in with the songs rather than stick out like a sore thumb the way Steve Harris does. I feel he did what he should have done. Karl Logan is a better guitar player than Ross the Boss, and it shows. Donnie Hamzik is back on drums. This is a great thing since “Battle Hymns”MANOWAR is the first and only album he played on, and you’re much more likely to get the original sound using the guy that helped create it instead of a session player to replace Scott Columbus or even Rhino. Donnie does a fantastic job keeping the sound as close to the original as anyone could hope to, even though it’s over 25 years later. He still has it, and so does MANOWAR! ALL HAIL!

4 Star Rating

  1. Death Tone
  2. Metal Daze
  3. Fast Taker
  4. Shell Shock
  5. Manowar
  6. Dark Avenger
  7. William’s Tale
  8. Battle Hymn
  9. Fast Taker (live)
  10. Death Tone (live)
Joey Demaio - Bass
Eric Adams - Vocals
Karl Logan - Guitar
Donnie Hamzik - Drums
Record Label: Magic Circle Music


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Edited 31 March 2023

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