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Really, Quorthon? Really? - 13%

BlackMetal213, June 10th, 2016

As we are all well aware, Bathory was one of the most important bands in the extreme metal scene. This band managed to pioneer two genres of music, releasing both of those genres' first albums. Of course, we are talking about black metal and Viking metal. "Twilight of the Gods" was supposed to be the final Bathory album but Quorthon would eventually return only 3 years later to release the seventh Bathory album, "Requiem". His sound for this release changed a bit but was it an evolution? No, although "Requiem" is an average thrash metal album, "Octagon" is one of the worst thrash albums I've ever heard.

Watered-down is probably the best description I can give this album. I often wonder just what Quorthon was thinking here. Clearly this was meant to be a retro-thrash album paying homage to many of the genre's forefathers; the 1990s was not a kind decade to thrash metal, with many of the bands changing their sound away from thrash in favor of "less extreme" genres. Kreator, Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Destruction, and many others all fell victim to this, and some bands actually managed to pull it off. More often than not, it didn't work. So why would Quorthon change TO a thrash sound during the genre's deteriorating years?

This could have been a great thrash album, no doubt. Quorthon was definitely a legendary musician and he could have easily made a great album like he had many time in the past, as well as future after this release. He just didn't seem to put in any effort here. The guitars sound like absolute crap in terms of tone and the riffs are very juvenile and poorly composed. The production is raw and dirty but not in a good way. Instead, it sounds far too tinny and disgusting. As I said earlier, everything sounds far too watered-down. The solos here are ridiculously bad. "33 Something" is one of the most horrendous songs on here both musically and lyrically. Not only are the riffs boring and uninspired, but the "eat my shit, suck my dick" lyrics really don't help the song at all. The music here is very messy and all over the place, but not in a technical, wanky way. Plus, the guitars are actually second to the drums in terms of volume.

The drums are definitely the loudest of all the instruments here and usually, that's a bad thing. In this case, however, it is still a bad thing. They follow the typical thrash formula of mostly d-beat, hardcore influenced drumming, and really don't do anything out of the ordinary or impressive for that matter. The fact that the drumming is boring is actually only second to that damn volume issue. Y'all thought "St. Anger" drums were bad? Nope. This was far worse. Way too tinny and plastic-sounding.

The vocals aren't QUITE as terrible. Quorthon uses a shout technique and here, he just sounds tired, and while they are probably one of the better parts of the entire release, they still pale in comparison to every other Bathory album. I can't say much more but lyrically this album is just a huge joke. Aside from that lyrical passage earlier mentioned, everything is just juvenile:

"As your spirit slips away and Earth drinks from your blood.
The irony is that the last thing you'll think is - "Oh my God!".
When your...
War Supply. War Supply. War Supply.
Not until that mine has torn you in two you'll
think just fucking "why" - "War Supply"

Come on, man. These lyrics come from the guy that wrote those classic Viking albums of "Blood Fire Death", "Hammerheart", and "Twilight of the Gods"? It's unbelievable but thankfully he dropped this sound on following albums.

This is easily the worst Bathory album and one of the worst thrash metal albums, period. I advise everyone to steer clear of this unless you HAVE to listen to his entire catalogue. It's your funeral.