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Waaay ahead of their time - 95%

noinnocentvictim, January 19th, 2006

This album is damn near artistic perfection. Bathory blends classical structure and theory with modern music years prior to the popularization of this concept in black metal. The intro track shows this fascination that Quorthon had acquired with classical music. "A Fine Day to Die" sets the stage by introducing the battle and viking themes early on in the album, sounding production-wise centuries old, faded but not wrinkled with time. The rest of the album holds this sound and atmosphere well, yet has more energy in the tracks, ditching the "2-minute intro" approach found in "A Fine Day to Die."

This album is extremely enjoyable to listen to, and makes you want to dust off the ol' viking cap and have a go at another nation. It's beautiful, in that regard. The vocals are discernable, yet included the scream not quite popularized yet in black metal - another element placing Bathory above the rest (especially at the time). They feel rushed at parts, yet rightfully so, as the music often feels lightning fast, whether or not it's simply mid-tempo.

Some parts of songs feel like Venom in guitar simplicity, yet it's still wonderfully done, with much less cheese to be found here. Dark, but still not hyperbole. Bathory strays away from Venom's humorous take on Satanism and occult themes in this album.

The best part? I'd have to say it's "Blood Fire Death," a war anthem that's perfect for running, weights, everything. This is one of the greatest pieces ever composed, and is executed so well that it sounds eternally old, yet seems not to age like most. It's epic sounding, and it's worth buying the album just for this track.