MANOWAR History: June 7, 1982 – Battle Hymns Album Release


On June 7, 1982, MANOWAR’S debut album, Battle Hymns, shook the Earth with its release, leaving speakers blown and audiences gasping.

Battle Hymns put this new band on the map immediately, not only among hordes of heavy metal fans who were seeking the most brutal of sounds, but also among many music critics. Portrayals of hardship and disillusionment set the tone (a Death Tone) that is offset by the catchy celebratory anthems “Manowar” and “Gloves of Metal”. A dazzling bass solo and the booming voice of Old Hollywood creative genius Orson Welles add to a whirlwind of thrills that concludes with one of the most majestic metal epics of all times, the titular “Battle Hymn.”

This dynamic collection of songs contributed to what would become the first in a series of ground-breaking records. It also marked the beginning of a new genre, Power Metal, that would become synonymous with this band who would go on to conquer the world with their complete devotion to true metal and their unshakable commitment to their principles: honor, integrity, and loyalty.

The Title Track: Battle Hymn

At the heart of this legendary album lies the title track, “Battle Hymn.” This brilliantly composed anthem encapsulates the spirit of MANOWAR, blending powerful lyrics with a thunderous arrangement that leaves listeners feeling invincible. The orchestration features soaring guitars and pounding drums and paints a vivid picture of warriors preparing for battle. It’s more than just a song; it’s a rallying cry for all those who seek strength and unity in the face of adversity. The heroic themes and rousing chorus have made “Battle Hymn” a timeless piece that continues to inspire fans across generations.

The Dark Saga: Dark Avenger

Another standout track, “Dark Avenger,” takes listeners on a dark and thrilling journey. A gripping narrative is voiced with authority by Orson Welles, one of the greatest and most versatile talents in movie and theater history, whose deep, commanding voice adds a layer of drama and gravitas to the already intense musical composition.

The story told is one of vengeance and justice, a common theme in MANOWAR’s discography, yet uniquely compelling in this early work. The juxtaposition of melodic interludes with heavy, aggressive riffs creates a dynamic and unforgettable listening experience.

A New Band with a Legendary Voice

One of the many outstanding aspects of Battle Hymns is the appearance of the legendary Orson Welles. True to their belief to aim high and follow your dreams, the notorious Hollywood rebel was MANOWAR’s first choice for the narration. Known for his monumental work in film and theater, Welles took an immediate liking to the ambitious newcomers, joined their project, contributing spoken words with gravitas and drama – almost as if he was one with the band. His collaboration with MANOWAR was a testament to the band’s vision, setting them apart from their peers and establishing a precedent for high-concept metal albums.

Influencing a Generation

Battle Hymns did more than just announce the arrival of MANOWAR; it spawned a generation of sound and style. The album’s blend of powerful lyrics, epic themes, and innovative use of narration set a new standard in the metal genre. It inspired countless bands to explore more grandiose and narrative-driven compositions, laying the groundwork for what would become known as Power Metal. MANOWAR’s influence can be seen in the music of many subsequent bands that continue to follow in the footsteps of their idols.

To be continued …

C.H. Miller