Welcome to Throwback Thursday! This is the place where we get to indulge in nostalgia and wax poetic about excellent metal of years past. Today's 79th TBT warps us back a few decades to a time when the metal genre was still in relative infancy.
Thanks to the undisputed efforts of genre pioneers Manowar, the year of 1982 brought metal to an unprecedented place in musical and social consciousness. Releasing their debut record Battle Hymns along side the likes of Judas Priest's Screaming for Vengeance, Iron Maiden's Number of the Beast, and Motorhead's Iron Fist, Manowar pushed metal to diversify, conquer, and divide.
MANOWAR'S BATTLE HYMNS
Release Date: June 1982
Record Label: Liberty
Where else better to start then at the beginning? Part doom, part epic metal, part power metal, Battle Hymns is a conglomeration of many metal genre mainstays. Dueling solos, twangy 'talking' bass, and fledgling blast beats can be found throughout the 8-track record. While the album lacks an all-over consistency of theme, Battle Hymns delivers everything a metalhead could want. From noodly, shredy guitar to high-pitched, tight-vibrato power vocals, check out the track "Metal Daze":
Rarely do bands come fresh out of the gate with something entirely new to offer the music world – and pull it off so successfully. As if progressive drumming and harmonic leads weren't enough to establish Manowar as some of the founding forefathers metal, the band established mega-metal dominance with an image as over-the-top as the name Battle Hymns. Manowar could oft be seen performing and posing in loin-cloths and furs, brandishing swords and sporting strategic pieces of leather.
Manowar isn't simply a band – they're a complete force of nature. Check out the title track "Battle Hymns":
What the album lacks in polish it makes up for in ambition. While a cursory glance of the band in this early phase of fashion may make you want to giggle (it is pretty giggle worthy), it takes a lot of balls to ask to be taken seriously on all fronts. Ross "The Boss" has some outstanding career moments, specifically his solo in "Battle Hymns". Manowar took the fantastic (outfits and themes) and made them a central skeleton of Battle Hymns before being uncool became actually being cool.
Frequently lauded as the first-ever power metal album, Battle Hymns fits the bestowed title in theme, execution, and image. One listen through of the album will make it apparent to any metal fan where some of out most favorite far-out concepts were born. For a history lesson that's also fun to listen to, check out Battle Hymns.