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The original Battle Hymns is one of the greatest heavy metal albums I've ever heard. The first half of the album has some face melting traditional heavy metal tunes whilst the second half has two songs which can only be described as epic.
So, where was the need to rerecord this? Well, anybody who has seen Manowar play live will say that the old songs have a whole new dimension brought to them when played live, they are brought to life. Manowar wrote these tracks to sound massive and they most certainly succeeded. Unfortunately, the production techniques in 1982 were not what they are today. Manowar's last few albums sound heavier than almost anything because modern production comes closer to being able to capture what this band is about. In this version you can hear everything. Every incredibly technical flourish on Joey's bass guitar, they no longer have that 'cardboard box' drum sound that was on the original recording, Karl's guitar sounds precise and excellent as usual. The recording as a whole is generally a lot more powerful than the original, as is to be expected.
Eric's voice is obviously lower than it was, but it is still wonderfully powerful. At his peak I genuinely believe that Eric was the best singer in metal - today he is still at the top of the game. He sings his arse off. It is true that in some parts he lacks the momentum to carry parts of the songs, but he does better than almost anyone else will and he can still sing very high. Donnie Hamzik always was a beast of a drummer, but you can actually hear it on these recordings - the drummer solo on Battle Hymn is powerful and perfectly executed. Karl Logan isn't the guitarist that Ross the Boss or the mighty David Shankle are, but his new solo on the title track is an inspired and admirable effort.
In conclusion, this is a very different record to the original. It does lack the youthful energy of the 1982 version, but it makes up for it in other areas. It's heavy, it's precise, it's perfectly produced and it is ultimately a gesture to the fans who want to hear these classics with updated production. Hail to the Kings of Metal!