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Bathory, the lethal and mystical band from the lethal and mystical Quorthon, master and lord of almost everything that has been born in the kingdom of european black metal, was confronted in 1988 to one of the most important moments in the development of Bathory's music. And not only Quorthon’s music. The black metal world, still primitive, wild and controlling, was going to experience changes, to mutate, to become more accurate, more epic and unhealthy than ever. Bearer of an intense musical seed, the swede wanted to enter in our souls, to corrupt them, to teach a nihilistic and poetic world, bloody and astral.
The music is, in itself, rather simplistic, but every riff is memorable. The guitars are a brilliant mix of thrash metal speed, death metal riffs and distortion, and black metal soloing. The bass is rather audible throughout every track and provides the onslaught with the rhythm needed to keep you listening along. Even the drums are ranking high on the scales of perfection, they aren't a constant double-bass assault, but rather, more of a blend of all the genres Bathory is associated with. Each song carries a different drum beat, if the guitar riffs are thrash-oriented, the drums will accompany them with a thrash blastbeat, and so on, so forth. It's the beginning of the viking era with many remaining elements of the Black Metal. The quality of the music is the same as the previous album, but with some arrangements and sophistication, and the vocals are still fast and dirty.
The lyrics are a big step up from the Satanist lyrics the band had penned for their self-titled album and the few that followed. Finding a more personal inspiration, Quorthon took to his heritage and wrote down odes to his pagan forefathers and their gods, but didn't drop the anti-christianity theme, as can be seen in "The Golden Walls of Heaven". As for the vocal performance, they're raspy but easy to understand if you have an ear for scream vocals.
“A Fine Day To Die” is the first epic that includes viking elements, which posteriorly perfected in Hammerheart. And like Enter The Eternal Fire, it was one of the first songs to enter in the long and epic atmosphere. It begins with acoustic guitars and whispering voices, then explodes with blasting guitars. A great song mixed with silent places but noisy and hard points. “Blood Fire Death” is unbeatable. It starts with a choir and acoustic guitars, then guitars are going very loud and sound very coordinated. At the end is going slowly again with the same acoustic guitars as in the beginning. One of the best and essential black/viking masterpieces.
All in all, if you do not have this album, you're missing out. It is a classic metal and is an album that cannot be missing in your collection. It was with this album that Quorthon scored his high water mark with the theme of odinist paganism. If the epic move is your thing and you love to feel, to notice the pressure of a musical note in the soul, and you would sell to your mother to touch the pure adventure, to smell and to taste the past and to live a total viking war, Blood Fire Death awaits you.