Nearly 30 years after releasing their debut, Battle Hymns, Manowar haven’t merely reissued and remastered the landmark record—they’ve rerecorded it entirely, and to mostly outstanding results. Arguably the band’s greatest album, it offers some of the meatiest riffs and anthemic songs the battle-metal stalwarts have ever recorded. Even all these years later, Eric Adams’ multi-octave vocals have lost little of the range that makes him one of heavy music's most awe-inspiring singers (even though he can’t quite hit some of the more high-pitched screams like he used to). Meanwhile, Karl Logan’s agile guitar work ably replaces the signature feedback-coated licks of original axman Ross the Boss. Logan delivers more technical prowess but less bluesy feel while adhering admirably to Ross’s solos. The guitarist joins original drummer Donnie Hamzik, who has returned to the band after a 28-year absence and doesn't miss a beat here. The album also includes bonus, never-before-released live renditions of “Fast Taker” and “Death Tone” culled from two 1982 Texas concerts. With state-of-the-art production, Battle Hymns MMXI adds new life to a classic old-school metal album and is a must-have for any Manowar collection. JOE LALAINA
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