The band decided that their fans deserved to hear these songs with the massive sound and production that has become their signature over recent years and records.
Finally, technology has caught up with MANOWAR's custom-built equipment and studio innovations. Now it is time to revisit Battle Hymns and reinterpret it with the unbridled power of today's technology!!
"Battle Hymns 2011" - A New Chapter in Heavy Metal History!
1. Death Tone
2. Metal Daze
3. Fast Taker
4. Shell Shock
6. Dark Avenger
7. William's Tale
8. Battle Hymn
9. Call To Arms Live at O2 Academy, Birmingham, England 3/27/2011
10. Hand Of Doom Live at La Riviera, Madrid, Spain 04/10/2011
11. House Of DeathLive at O2 Academy, Birmingham, England 03/27/2011
12. Thunder In The Sky Live at Campo Pequeno, Lisbon, Portugal 04/02/2011
Posted by Unknown on 30th Sep 2016
A few weeks ago, after we went to his first Kiss concert, my 14 years old still in awe, asked me what was the best heavy metal album I ever owned. I thought for a moment and told him about Battle Hymns. That same night, I ordered Battle Hymns 2011. A few days later, the CD arrived with a little extra - thank you very much ; ) - and both the kid and dad had a blast (re)discovering this very awesome song collection. Metal Daze sounds more powerful than the original, Fast Taker, Shell Shock (and the rest) are as fresh as was the original when it first came out.
Posted by Daniel M on 23rd Jul 2014
The 21st century dawned and Manowar were faced with a choice. Should they remaster their classic debut album to give it a more modern sound or should they just re-record the whole thing using today's technology and production capabilities. To their credit Manowar chose the more difficult and risky of the two options and set about re-recording Battle Hymns, a remarkable undertaking given nearly all bands just go the easier route of remastering their old albums.
As I said in my review of Kings Of Metal MMXIV, re-recording an old classic album is a real gamble for a band, mainly because you just don't know how the older fans are going to receive it. Older fans are attached to the original recording which is familiar and dear to them, so it makes it extremely hard for them to judge a re-recording of that album in its own right and according to its own merits. It's always going to be compared to the original. Too much deviation from the original recording and fans will be crying foul and claiming the band has desecrated one of their favourite albums, but too little deviation and you also risk the fans accusing you of pointlessly trying to revisit your past glory just to milk some cash out of it because you're all washed up and have no new ideas. You almost can't win.
While Kings Of Metal MMXIV saw Manowar take a much riskier approach in terms of deviating from the original album (e.g. changing musical arrangements, retitling songs, changing the order of the songs etc), Battle Hymns MMXI does a better job of walking the tight rope between too much and too little deviation from the original. This in my opinion is why Battle Hymns MMXI has been criticised far less by fans than has Kings Of Metal MMXIV. Battle Hymns MMXI struck the sweet spot you might say.
The album is still totally recognisable as the one we all know and love, with only some minor changes here and there. To begin with, I suspect many of the songs have probably been down tuned a step. This may be to accommodate for Eric's inability to hit some of the high notes he used to be able to hit when the album was first recorded while the guy was still in his late 20s. If so you can't really hold this against the guy. Everybody ages and the guy is still performing damn well for his age. Or the down tuning may have simply been done to give the songs a heavier sound. Whatever the case may be it doesn't make the songs any less enjoyable, and some may even dig the lower tuning more.
Then of course we have Orson Welles' conspicuous absence from the song Dark Avenger. Unfortunately given the man is dead this couldn't be helped, but in finding a suitable replacement Manowar got the right man with Sir Christopher Lee (come on admit it, the idea of Saruman narrating on a Manowar album is pretty fucking cool). Lee's narration is quite different to that of Welles, but it's still epic and fits the song perfectly.
Then there's the title track. This version is longer than the version on the original album and I'm pretty sure the tempo has also been slowed down slightly. The tempo change is actually quite a welcome change with me because I've always thought that when Manowar performs the song live it's a little slower than the original album version and in my opinion the song has more power at the slower tempo. The original album version is still cool and all but it does seem quite brisk to me and it's all over with a bit too soon. It's a very grand and epic song so you should take your time with it I think.
Other than these minor changes what you have is essentially the same kick arse album but beefed up a bit and with a much more modern sound. Most older fans of Manowar should be able to embrace this without too many problems, and newer fans should love it. I should mention the 2 bonus tracks that come with the regular edition of the album. They're 2 live tracks recorded in Texas back in 1982. The tracks are Fast Taker and Death Tone. These are bootleg quality recordings, but you really can't complain about that because Manowar didn't have to give us any bonuses at all if they didn't want to but instead we get to hear these two very raw recordings made way back in Manowar's career before they became established as a worldwide force for Metal. It's a gesture from the band that I appreciated.
In conclusion I think this is an album every Manowar fan should give a fair hearing. You might have reservations at first but seriously this album is quite good for what it is. Try to keep an open mind and crank this one up on your stereo. I'm quite confident most of you won't regret it. My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.