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Holy shit this one came in as a surprise.
I really enjoyed Quorthon's "Twilight of the Gods" a lot, an album, which I’d put into the top 10 Scandinavian metal releases I’ve heard so far and the only real masterpiece that Bathory ever released. Then I heard about Quorthon changing his sound after "TOTG" and got curious. I was expecting a slight change in style, but not this!
"Requiem" is an album chock-full of chaotic old school thrash riffs and sloppy craziness similar to early Brazilian death/thrash acts. Quorthon is spitting, gargling and screaming his lungs out (CROSTITUTION!!!! UARGH!), pounding on the skins relentlessly while beating the harshest tones out of his guitar.
It's clear that Bathory went towards a thrashier approach on "Requiem" but hardly have I heard an album with such an intense feeling of primitivism, which is, in this album's case, a good thing, since it really creates some kind of ritualistic, barbaric atmosphere. The only similarity to older Bathory works is the intro of the first track "Requiem" which sounds a bit as if the album would develop into a well-known stomping rhythm, which mainly appeared on the albums before this one.
Normally, I'd criticise this album of being devoid of originality, the lack of technical prowess and sloppiness in the instrument handling, but "Requiem" does work for some reason - it simply bashes your skull in. It pounds, pounds and never lets you go. The rhythm section, while being quite sloppy, is extremely heavy, relentless and intense while providing an enormous amount of catchiness. "Requiem" is simply, for the lack of a better term, a "fun" album to thrash yourself to.
It can hardly be seen as a serious release in Bathory's catalogue, since all the sloppiness, the primitive riffage and the to-the-point lyrics simply command you to thrash your way to an early grave. No thoughtful poems, no literature, simply a skull-basher for the thrash loving metalhead.
I know I should give this one a low score for being mediocre and full of the aforementioned flaws, but for some reason, I have to rate this higher because I've rarely heard an album which is so much fun to listen to.
Recommended to anyone looking for a quick dose of skull bashing.