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It’s not very often that you listen to an album that makes you wonder how in the world did an individual make such music? Well, that’s exactly what thought when I first heard Bathory’s Blood Fire Death a few years ago. For me, this is the album that defines Black Metal along with some other albums like Transilvanian Hunger or In the Nightside Eclipse; although you can’t really compare any of these albums.
Until Blood Fire Death, Bathory had released three studio albums. And the quality of the albums just got better and better after each release, and this was no exception. I mean, Under the Sign of the Black Mark was a great album; not just great, it definitely was in a class of its own. But when this album was out, it took Bathory’s and Quorthon’s name to a completely new dimension. To a level that no other black metal band had ever reached before. It changed the face of Black Metal, and I daresay, it changed the face Metal.
The album starts off with “Oden Rides over Nordland”. What a perfect name for the track! You can hear the neighing of horses in the beginning, and slowly the intensity of the background goes on increasing. Eventually, it brings up a soft choir. If you are listening to it for the first time, the choir might sound like “Carmina Burana”. Anyways, this is the track that sets the mood for the rest of the album. It generates the perfect atmosphere, and what follows this is just out of this world music. The song that follows is A “Fine Day to Die”. And this is undoubtedly the best song of the album. It might even be the best Bathory song; period.
“A Fine Day to Die” starts with a fabulous arpeggio on acoustic guitar; and this is exactly what one might entitle ‘The Calm before the Storm’. I say this because what follows this beautiful, slow intro is complete mayhem. And when it starts, I assure you, it will make you jump out of your seats. The guitars, drums and the vocals kick in simultaneously. Then, precisely at 2:05, you will listen to THE RIFF; I can’t really express this piece of sheer brilliance in words, but can indubitably say that this is one of the best riffs ever made. The instant you listen to it, your neck will start acting on its own, out of control and won’t stop until the entire album ends. You might say that I’m exaggerating here but no, I’m serious.
I’m not going into every song’s detail here, because it might take me days to portray it. There is no weak song in this album or even an average song as such. Each and every track is just mind-blowing to say the least. “The Golden Walls of Heaven” sounds more like black-thrash. This song continues and amplifies the pace that the previous song, “a Fine Day to Die” had set in. The album continues in a similar pace up to “Holocaust”. “For all those Who Died” is the next track, and it is a relatively slower than the previous songs. The word ‘relatively’ is very important here, since this song is in no way ‘SLOW’. “Dies Irae” is the next song, and again very fast. The best part of the song starts at 2:23, where there is a transition in the tempo, and picks up again when Quorthon screams ‘DIES IRAE’ followed by a blistering solo. The last real song is “Blood Fire Death”. This is my second favorite song of the album, and another one that starts with acoustic guitar, not to mention that this is the longest song of the album. There are so many parts in this song, innumerable riffs and pace shifts.
The album ends with the outro.
Simply put, this album is PERFECT.