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This is what Manowar should sound like. Singing about Metal in every single song may get a bit repetitive, no matter how good the songs are. Battle Hymn still holds true to the “Heavy Metal or no Metal at all” tradition of Manowar, but it also offers exciting songs that don’t necessarily deal with Metal. “Death Tone,” which is a song about going to war while the other pussy hippies stay at home, is a great representation of what Manowar started of as, and should have stayed throughout their careers. Fun, stimulating, sing-along-to are all examples of the greatness that is this album.
“Metal Daze,” the song that probably everyone knows, and sounds likes the self-proclaimed Metal anthem, is one of the best songs on the album. Singing “Heavy Metal, Metal Daze, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal Daaaaazze” over and over again send chills of electrifying power through your body, sort of speak. This is a very fun album, which does not contain as much of the “cheese” factor as the later Manowar albums have.
Songs like “Fast Taker,” “Death Tone” and “Shell Shock” are all fast-bang-your-head-to-tracks that are not about the glory of Metal, which, in all honesty, is a good thing. These alterations in a Manowar album are welcome changes that only improve the quality of the album. This first album by Manowar has a much higher replay value than the albums that would follow because of the three songs that I have mentioned. Sure, singing about Metal is great, and it’s awesome to sing along to, but it shouldn’t be overdone.
The song “Manowar” is a bit weaker compared to the other tracks. It still is well written, and offers a similar punch as the other tracks, but I expected a tad more from a song titled after the band. No big deal, as it does add variation to the album, and is well positioned in the track listing. The track that follows is the epic song “Dark Avenger” with narration by non other than the great Orson Wells. A great story of Greek mythology, I believe, tells of a dark avenger, that stands against the elders and rebels. The song begins with singing vocals, with simple melody in the background. At about two minutes and 30 seconds Orson Wells narrates the story, which is the introduction to the exhilarating-bang-your-fucking-head-to-throw-the-horns-rape-the-daughters-and-the-wives part of the song.
“Burning, death, destruction raping the daughters and wives
In blood I take my payment in full with their lives .”
Lyrics that are very memorable, and music that makes your ear drums bleed. Great guitar and drum work and amazing vocals that kill posers without even trying.
“William’s Tale,” is the track that most other Manowar albums have. It’s the track that doesn’t really belong there and should have been deleted. Of course it’s not “Nassun Dorma” of Warriors of the World, because it is much better than that. “William’s Tale” is basically a guitar instrumental rendition of the famous melody. It is very well played, therefore I can’t complain that much, as it is certainly not another “Nassun Dorma” but it still isn’t up to par with the rest of the album.
The last track, which is also the title track, is a familiar song to the later Manowar songs. It is basically a “We’re all united and fighting for Metal” type of song. It may be a bit cheesy but it does have great sing-along-to lyrics and therefore is a great finish to a great album. The instrumental parts, even the simple guitar parts at the beginning are all exceptional. Not so much in technicality, but in composition style and overall fitting melody to the “Metal anthem.” This song is one of the highlights of the album, and well deserving the praise. Manowar will later be known for such songs, but surely not in this caliber. “Battle Hymn” is a most excellent ending to one of the greatest Manowar albums.
Manowar is known for their “cheesy” songs, but make no mistake, Battle Hymn is not the album that gave people that impression. Filled with amazingly fun and headbanging songs, Battle Hymn should be in every Manowar fan’s collection. Others, who don’t necessarily like Manowar should also give this a well deserved listen, as it is not your typical Manowar album.