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This was a bad idea, this was always a bad idea, it's a bad bad bad bad idea by a band that is up there with Anthrax in terms of "creative bankruptcy". Battle Hymns for me is a rarity; a classic, unashamedly rocky album that I not only 'appreciate for it's influence' (blah blah blah wank) but genuinely love, one that I can listen to, and do listen to very very often. It's definitely one of my top 10 albums, it is fucken good, I love it, I want to whisper sweet nothings to it while I tenderly enter it, etc etc.
But it's not an album that can take a rerecording. The original was one of a kind, Adams' whacked and really youthful vocals, the cluttered as hell mix that nevertheless worked brilliantly, the all over the place guitar solos, and the energy. The energy, the key point of the album, what made the original sound so good, and the lack of which makes this stink so much. Battle Hymns '82 was obviously recorded by a bunch of very young dudes who as my seedy, definitely-not-gay co-worker would say were "young dumb and full of cum". And it works! Battle Hymns moreso than any other Manowar album was the one where there drunken, cheerful hyper-masculinity worked the whole way through,
But that was '82 and this is/was 28 years later. Manowar aren't the young bucks they used to be, Adams isn't the singer he used to be (anything with a scream on it is pretty painful to hear), Logan sure as shit isn't Ross the Boss, so on and so forth. Metal Daze is a serious disappointment, surely with all these fancy production values you could get a decent "HEAVY METAL" bit for the chorus? No? Oh well. Fast Taker, long part of my "lose my voice trying to do screams" playlist, has a serious lack of screams, and energy, and the guitar solo is crap, so on and so forth. Well, it's not crap, Logan isn't rubbish but he is tight and controlled; which sucks as a huge part of the first Battle Hymns were the sloppy, super fast and all over the place solos and here they don't exist, which also leads to some huge disappointment in the title track. And most of the tracks, basically. Don't get me started on Dark Avenger, where the frenzied final speed metal section of the original version becames a staid, safe procession. Or the production, which for all of it's million-dollar vibe has a few clear mixing errors with the vocals and a serious problem with dynamics or lack thereof.
Ugh man i'm disappointed with this. Well, I'm not disappointed, as this is pretty much what I was expecting, I guess I'm sad this even exists. I'm sad Eric sounds like an old man and can't hit high notes. I'm sad that they kept the bass solo in here. That the whole thing reeks of "tired old men cashing in" instead of the youthful hunger and independence that the original stood for. I'm sad that the rockier songs turned into boring plodathons. In the end, it's a more depressing album than you may think, lots of "end of youth", "end of idealism" things you could twist out of this, for sure.
Here's to Metallica never rerecording Ride the Lightning!