Manowar - Battle Hymns
That would be one way to describe this album.
Magnificent, Essential, Classic, Majestic would be others.

But enough of the superlatives. Here's another, more lengthy description...

Battle hymns is Manowar's debut album and it established them right away as something special. It is a classic and one of the great and important Heavy Metal releases of the eighties. Today it still shines pure Metal, Power and Coolness.

The album has both straight ahead rockers, powerful anthems, epic masterpieces and even a bass adaption of Rossini's classic William Tell Overture. There should be something to satisfy everyone. Every song is delivered Manowar style, with that extra burst of power and confidence that gives them that special feel.

For a long time I lived with the somewhat thin sound of the original release. That was until the splendid Silver edition arrived. If you haven't got it yet, then go and buy the Silver edition of Battle Hymns, not only has the sound quality been magically improved, but it also includes some very funny and insightful liner notes from the band members as well as pictures and lyrics. I wish I had a poster size picture of the one with Joey and Eric on rollerskates... :) The warning on the back is also hilarious.

Death tone sort of sets the image of the band straight right from the start. The sound of Harley's speeding into the night along with a simple, yet driving riff kicks of the song. The Kiss my ass attitude that Manowar have become known for is apparant as soon as the first verse has been sung. There is an air of nostalgia about this song and it has a distinct eighties feel. I love it. While the simple riff doesn't rate among Manowar's best creations it still works here and gives the song its special drive. The lengthy guitar solo is one of many examples from the album where the solo just fits perfectly with the song.

Metal Daze is a true Manowar hymn for Heavy Metal and of course it includes a monster riff. I'm always amazed at the power of Eric Adam's voice at the start of this song. It feels like his voice is the most powerful force in the world and if you listen to this at a loud volume I dare you not to take a step back from the speakers when he sings the line "I feel the power rolling of the stage". This is also one of the highlights of the Hell on stage live album.

Fast taker is maybe the simplest song of the album, both musically and lyrically. What I like about it is its fast pace and the way Eric sings the chorus. Shell shock is a song about the Vietnam war and its casualties. There is a special vibe to this song that fits it very well. Sometimes the song reminds me of Apocalypse Now, both with the almost menacing way Eric sings the opening lines and the well written lyrics.

Manowar has been the opener of every Manowar live show from day one (As far as I know). It has a classic and timeless status and is worthy of being called the definition of Manowar.

Dark Avenger is one of the most epic songs Manowar have ever recorded. It is in a class of its own, and tells a dark story of vengeance. The narration done by Orson Welles is perfectly chilling and the final line "The pounding of his hooves did clap like thunder" has an otherworldy feel. But the narration is just one of several highlights during the song's 6 minutes. During the opening moments the instruments set the right mood and Eric's slow way of singing is quite brilliant. When the song finally picks up speed, set off by an ear shattering scream from Eric Adams, it is impossible not to stand up and either jump up and down, bang your head like a madman or just sing along at the top of your lungs. I usually do a combination of all three, much to the amusement of my long time suffering friends. I can't help but be caught along by the power of this song and the final part is a real adrenaline rush. I still remember that time at Wacken Open Air where we partied with our Finnish Brothers of Metal, and Skoll totally nailed the Eric Adams scream in this song. That was a most excellent day.

I remember the first time I heard Battle Hymn. I thought it was the most powerful song I'd ever heard. If any definition of magic in music is needed then this song is a good example. Starting out slowly with just a bass melody and some atmospheric guitar, the song builds momentum using only drums, and when the guitar and bass finally enter the sound again the result is an unmatched burst of power, so mighty that if you're not prepared, you will still be wondering what hit you long after the song has finished. The emotional middle part just goes to show that what Manowar truly is about is feeling. The feeling of being alive. The feeling of being free and being able to live your life only bound by your own limits. To me this song is not about war in the literal sense. It is about sticking together and always fighting for what you believe, through losses, pain and whatever, always growing stronger. The guitar solo is simply magical and filled with emotion. During the final crescendo leading to the last verse everything gets turned a notch higher and the way Eric's voice rises in power during this part is a completely over the top spine tingling moment. It is times like these when I just sing at the top of my lungs and give myself away to the music completely. This is a song that will stir your blood and make you ready to take on the world.

Dare I say: The perfect song? Well, I don't believe such a thing exists, but this one comes very very close.

One thing that cannot go unmentioned is the guitar playing of Ross-The-Boss. The solos that burst from his strings really have a magical feel to them. They have an air improvisation about them and you never quite know where the solo will go. But it always ends up fitting the song perfectly.

This is one of the most impressive debut albums ever recorded and a true classic. If you haven't got this album, you owe it to yourself to at least give it a listen and see if you like it. Other than that I can only say that this is heavy Metal in its purest form.

Written by Steen
Wednesday, September 3, 2003
Show all reviews by Steen


Steen: 9/10

Members: 9.16/10 - Average of 3 ratings.

Member ratings

RevelationZ StaffStuart (Staff)

Rating: 9.5/10
Pretty much a perfect album. If they had only put another actual song on it and not a belo... · Read more ·
Profile pictureSandra

Rating: 9/10
Battle Hymns is my favorite album by Manowar. When I listen to Manowar I feel as if I can ... · Read more ·
Profile pictureDark Lord

Rating: 9/10
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RevelationZ Comments

Comment by Mads (Anonymous) - Thursday, September 4, 2003
classic indeed

Comment by Mav (Anonymous) - Thursday, September 4, 2003
Great review, but I dont't understand why you didn't give it a 10... Anyway, this is easily the best Manowar album!!!

Comment by Steen (Staff) - Friday, September 5, 2003
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Comments: 518
Hey Mav!

Have you read our rating system? Battle hymns is not the ultimate perfect masterpiece of all time, not in my opinion anyway. Personally I like Into glory ride even more than Battle Hymns. Check the Into Glory Ride review for more info.


Posted by Steen (Staff)
Friday, September 5, 2003

Comment by Mav (Anonymous) - Friday, September 5, 2003
...just meant that Battle Hymns beats Into Glory Ride by far...

Comment by E. G. (Anonymous) - Friday, September 12, 2003
I agree with '9/10'. The first four songs are not so great as 'Manowar', 'Dark Avenger' and 'Battle Hymn'. But especially the latter is one of the best songs in metal history. If anyone disagrees...

Comment by Lennart (Anonymous) - Friday, September 19, 2003
This is a great album. Sheer energy. When I was younger I used to play Animal from Sign of the Hammer to speed up a little before going to a party. Recomended:-)

Comment by kris s (Anonymous) - Friday, September 26, 2003
classic 8.5/10

Comment by Hyena (Anonymous) - Monday, February 14, 2005
Battle Hymns was a good starter for Manowar's long career. Although being far from perfect, some classics are found within. Dark Avenger and Battle Hymn are both cool tracks and would stand tall on any today's Manowar album.

The rest of the tracks have worn with age a bit more. Guite simple in the beginning, they now seem a touch outdated. Shell shock for example, while being lyrically pretty good, just sounds quite bad.

Still this is a good album and every Manowar listener should have it in one's collection. For the rest of people, some other Manowar plate would propably prove a better purchase. 6,5/10

Comment by 3wesftgk (Anonymous) - Friday, June 3, 2005

Comment by Sanity (Anonymous) - Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Excellent review.

This is definitely one of the best metal albums of all time.


Comment by Son of Odin (Anonymous) - Friday, April 6, 2007
My favorites: dark avenger, manowar, metal daze, shell shock and battle hymns.

Review by Stuart (Staff) - Tuesday, January 6, 2009
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Comments: 116
Pretty much a perfect album. If they had only put another actual song on it and not a below par bass solo then I reckon it would get the full 10 out of 10.

Rating: 9.5/10

Posted by Stuart (Staff)
Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Review by Sandra (Member) - Friday, June 5, 2009
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Comments: 36
Ratings: 25
Battle Hymns is my favorite album by Manowar. When I listen to Manowar I feel as if I can fight all the crap we face in life, all the power from the band goes straight into my blood. I have many times found my power in Battle Hymns... and the suffering friends... Tell me about It ... I can't sit down and be calm when this album is spinning - it's is impossible.

I love listening especially to Metal Daze as loud as I can while singing along and headbanging because the old neighbor down stairs hate it as hell - or everyone in my surroundings... So don't even start thinking:" why do all my neighbors hate me?" When you receive a letter... it's the Eric Adams factor ;) however: NEVER surrender.

Battle Hymn is magical, the composition of the song is magical and it ends totally out of this world... Yeah I also remember the first time I heard this one... I was totally mesmerized and I still get the same felling every single time I hear it...trying singing along (although it is impossible) will make you hoarse... it shows no mercy to your throat and your lungs :D

Rating: 9/10

Posted by Sandra
Friday, June 5, 2009

Review by Steen

Released by
Liberty Records - 1982

01 - Death Tone
02 - Metal Daze
03 - Fast Taker
04 - Shell Shock
05 - Manowar
06 - Dark Avenger
07 - William's Tale
08 - Battle Hymn

Silver Edition released in 2001 by Metal Blade

Heavy Metal

Related links
Visit the band page

Manowar - Official Website

Manowar - German Defenders of Steel

Other articles
The Triumph of Steel - (Tommy)

Warriors of the world - (Steen)

Warriors Of The World - (Tommy)

Band information - (Steen)

Into glory ride - (Steen)

Live At KB Hallen, Copenhagen - November 28th, 2002 - (Tommy)

The Dawn of Battle (Single) - (Steen)

Interview with Karl Logan - (Tommy & Steen)

Fire and Blood - (Steen)

Hell on Earth Part III - (Steen)

Hail to England - (Steen)

Sign Of The Hammer - (Tommy)

Hell On Earth Part IV - (Steen)

The Sons of Odin - (Steen)

The Day The Earth Shook - The Absolute Power - (Steen)

Live with Rhapsody of Fire and HolyHell in Germany, March 2007 - The Tour Report - (Steen)

Gods of War - (Steen)

Fighting The World - (Steen)

Gods of War - (Alanna)

Live At Birmingham O2 Academy, March 27th 2011 - (Stuart)

Hell On Earth - Part I (DVD) - (Steen)

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