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Blood Fire Death, the fourth album by pioneering Swedish black metal band Bathory is arguably the most influential black metal album ever. Since it's release countless bands have copied the the innovations of this album.
Blood Fire Death displayed an unexpected progression from the first three Bathory albums. The first three albums, Bathory, The Return of Darkness and Evil and Under The Sign of the Black Mark were simple raw primitive black metal, whereas Blood Fire Death was much more epic, and atmospheric.
The album opens with the wonderful track Odens Ride Over Nordland, and it is quickly apparent that there is a focus on the atmosphere of the music, there are no vocals, just sounds of horses and chariots. This builds to the first real song on the album, the epic and intense A Fine Day to Die. Opening with an acoustic guitar and spoken vocals, the track builds to a powerful mid tempo song with a few amazing solos.
Blood Fire Death contains not only long mid tempo epic tracks, A Fine Day to Die, and the title track which is amazing. There are also several shorter up tempo songs, a few of which sound almost like thrash.
The songs show a progression in song writing and arrangements. Many of the songs do not use the verse chorus structure rather incorporating various riffs and acoustic passages. The lyrics have become more matrue, no longer satanic but focusing on viking history, culture and the loss of that culture at the hands of christian invaders to Scandinavia. The vocals are mostly shrieked, and sometimes buried by the guitar tone. The guitar tone is low and very distorted. The drums suit the songs very well, during the faster songs the drums are very bombstic.
Most of the second wave of black metal took their basic ideas from Blood Fire Death. If you like black metal, this is a must have, but if you like black metal then you should already own Blood Fire Death