without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Bathory is an enigma, as is its alter-ego Quorthon, defying any uniform characterization from one era to the next. Some attribute to him the role of pioneering what became the Nordic black metal scene, though in the 80s when he was laying much of the ground work, the term was used all but interchangeably with death and thrash metal. Others are quick to point out his later 80s and early 90s creations where some of the sounds of the likes of Manowar and elements of folk music were blended together into a heroic mixture that now calls itself Viking metal (though today’s incarnations tend to draw a bit from the blackened era that preceded “Hammerheart” as well). But not much is spoken regarding the 3rd era of this band, ergo the one where Quorthon changed his mind about retiring the Bathory name and brought it back in the mid 90s with a very different sound, yet again.
The first offering of the band’s rebirth can be considered as both a throwback and a somewhat modernized answer to a very real and arguably troubling trend in thrash metal. At face value, one could perhaps draw comparisons to Slayer’s “Divine Intervention” when considering what direction “Requiem” takes, at least in terms of its raw, chaotic, yet oddly focused production. The drum sound is all but abrasively prominent, the bass is also unusually loud and raucous when comparing it to similarly frenzied works during the mid 80s, and the guitars are crisp and possessed of an equal amount of punch and bite. But this listens less like a full out copy of “Divine Intervention” than a composite hybrid of the frenetic, all speed all the time character that dominated much of the early incarnations of thrash/crossover, particularly that of Nuclear Assault and S.O.D., though Quorthon’s vocals are about twice as vicious and agonizing as the most dark and twisted of Angelripper’s vocal jobs.
To put it in more basic terms, “Requiem” is a contender for the most vile and raunchy of offerings ever to be conceived in the thrash genre, Had it been released by Kreator 2 years before and had a slightly denser production it would have been hailed as an interesting evolution of said band’s consistent career since 1985 and a stark contrast to the slowed down, safe, almost rocking character of most other bands at that particular time. The riff set is a bit on the limited side, drawing up obvious allusions to a more punk infused mentality within the genre paradigm, but whether it’s the raging fury at mach 3 that is “Necroticus”, or the equally nasty yet slightly slower “Pax Vobiscum”, the relentless combination of anger and political fatalism intended is all but perfectly captured. Whenever a mood of absolute revulsion at events depicted on the news overtakes me, this is one of the albums that I usually go to in order to vent any misanthropic tendencies in my feelings, as if Quorthon teaching a lesson along the same lines as the parent who locks his kid in a closet with a carton of cigarettes for being caught smoking.
It’s understandable why this is not very highly regarded amongst Bathory’s studio efforts, it’s definitely a far cry from anything put out under their moniker before. But when treated in the specific context of a thrash metal album that actually pushes the boundaries of sick, twisted irreverence, this is about as extreme as it gets, especially circa 1994 when most of the thrash world was either dying off or getting in touch with their inner homeboy. Picture the love child of Anthrax and Sepultura, the bastard son of Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies, or any other spawn of a fiendish union between extreme thrash, death metal and hardcore, and this album fits the bill every time. It chooses its audience primarily by weeding out casual consumers of the genre who’ve only dabbled in Metallica, and its low-fidelity presentation will probably scare away most Pantera fans. This is precisely what thrash was about at its inception, giving a giant middle finger to mainstream music, and whether by accident or not, Quorthon found himself coming full circle with his roots in a time when the tree was all but dead.
Requiem doesn't feel so much a 'new Bathory' as one that branched off into an alternate reality at around the time it might have followed Under the Sign of the Black Mark, then somehow found its way back to the natural chronology of the band. After the pair of rather lacking Jubileum compilations, I would have taken just about anything new and original from the vaunted Quorthon, but was not expecting an album which clung so tightly to the pure thrash aesthetics one would expect elsewhere in the scene. Essentially, Requiem is what we might have gotten had Quorthon decided not to delve into his self fulfilling prophecy of viking majesty, but instead attempted to trade blows with a lot of the grimier, aggressive US and German thrashers that dominated extreme metal in the mid through late 80s.
As such, it's not all that poor of a choice. This was a musician unafraid to reinvent himself, who in doing so helped give birth to a number of sub-genres that remain massive today. Requiem is not some monotonous, point for point impersonation of Exodus, Slayer and Metallica, but there is clearly a bit of US street thrash influence circa Anthrax, Dark Angel, Exodus and S.O.D. in pummelers like "Suffocate", "Requiem" and "Distinguish to Kill", some of which even feature rock out solo breaks that also remind me of the more down home, contemporary American thrashers. The tone used on some of the meatier guitar lines is fairly boxy, redolent of the Finnish band Stone, but the fact that Quorthon sticks with his ghastlier black metal vocals through much of the disc does help it stand out from most of the other 'modern' thrash metal that was spewing forth to an unwelcoming audience in the mid 90s.
Unfortunately, I found them to be the least distinguished and charismatic of Bathory's repertoire to its day, with little but their dry, raw timbre to really propel them. Little of the memorable, vile slather of the Bathory s/t or Under the Sign of the Black Mark. The album inevitably becomes a potpourri of a few finer, choice moments and a bunch of average thrash riffing which, while not even bordering on incompetence, might not have even been effective if it arrived when that music was at its peak momentum. I really like the atmospheric intro to the title track with its distant tolling and eerie synthesizer, and Quorthon wrings a lot of corpulent thrust out of the ensuing, palm muted frenzy, but the riffs just aren't that memorable. Another piece I mildly enjoy is "War Machine", for the simplistic, swift flow of the central guitar and the use of sirens to create a belligerent atmosphere, but even this one has a filler riff in the chorus. "Apocalypse" has a bold, churning martial appeal to it, with some subtle melodic overtures that hint towards Blood Fire Death or Hammerheart, but it too falls shy of perfection.
Hell, even the cover image, while not terrible, is underwhelming, but I don't think I could argue that it didn't capture the stripped down aesthetics of the record. Requiem is the Bathory that might have been, were Quorthon not so inspired and inspiring in the first place, but just another in a sea of thrashers so crowded that some of its most brilliant European authors failed to garner the audience they deserved. This album was a little late for that boom, with most of the thrash audience moving on to hip hop, alternative, grunge and other 90s genre giants. It still sounds like Bathory, just not the one that would launch a thousand dragon ships and etch itself into the annals of immortality. A hollowed out headbanging experience, the aggression dialed up and the atmosphere available only in small pockets. It could get worse, and maybe it will...
When it comes to knowing which to listen to between Bathory mid 90's thrash metal material, "Requiem" is the obvious choice. This is because "Requiem" still has a blackened feel to the mainly thrash metal sound still that has more in style with Bathory's sound in general than the Pantera-wannabe bullshit that was a pile of dog shit album "Octagon".
First off, you know it's Quorthon singing, because on "Reqiuem" is actually SOUNDS like Quorthon with his trademark evil vocals, rather than some dickhead who wanted to sound like a bad Dave Mustaine/hardcore punk singer. So again, at least we know it's Quorthon singing. Second the music is actually a damn good blackened thrash sound that is more old-school Destruction, and early Kreator and eerily resembles South American death/thrash. Oh there are riffs and plenty. Not to mention the sound production is very raw, yet warm sounding and you can actually hear the bass. Drums have a very underproduced sound, but this actually adds to the black metal influenced sound.
The first 3 songs are fast and will induced some air drumming, or air guitar worship, whichever your preference is. Also some cool song titles like "Necroticus" and "War Machine" seem like a throw back to 80's metal cheese. Also, the song "War Machine" is fucking excellent. It's a mid-tempo thrasher that has a nice head-bangable main riff and an excellent guitar solo. "Blood And Soil", Quorthon sounds like a rabid dying dog about to rip your fucking head off. "Pax Vobsicum"...Quorthon nails the basic thrash metal riff. The last 3 songs are in the same style and don't differ at all. Last but not least the lyrics are cheesy, but there are a few lines which deserve mentioning such as ;
"how the bitch is cut wide open from her cunt to her throat" - Apocalypse
"The altar covered in lifegiving cum,
the smell of forever running wet cunts" - Blood And Soil (I don't know what he's talking about, but it's hilarious)
Bottom line, I can see myself listening to this album from time and time again. It's very enjoyable. For thrash metal-era of Bathory, stay the fuck away from "Octagon" and listen to this instead.
Quorthon had a quite drastic musical change during the 90s. Maybe too many letters by the fans brought him to compose again some old school material, preferring the death/thrash direction. It was a quite courageous choice because at the time his status was representative for the Viking metal and many didn’t like it. However, this choice brought him to compose this Requiem album, the first one in this direction. Let me say that the following one (Octagon) is one of the most catastrophic attempts to bring back the glorious day but with this one we can enjoy something in a different style.
Requiem is a goodish/average death/thrash effort and obviously can’t beat the first albums in malevolence and darkness but has some good points. The beginning is ultra doom for the title track. The bells sound is on the background and we can notice the Twilight of the Gods oriented production, without the epic feeling. The sounds are very similar to those ones on that Viking masterpiece even if this time the instruments are definitely more violent and faster. Actually, the production is not clean and all the sounds are melted together to create a fuzzy assault with several up tempo parts and hyper vicious bass drums parts.
The vocals are childish, raspy and Venom oriented in their will to bring to life the old school days. As always, forget about the technique because here it’s all about the sheer impact with sudden stop and go with furious restarts. The drums sound so metallic or plastic too, especially on the hammering snare. However, some epic traces can be found in very short sections like at the end of the title track or on “Blood and Soil”. The rest is more or less on total speed with pure thrash metal riffs and suffered vocals. Everything sounds so bare-bone and aseptic, with cold sounds as a post-nuclear attack. The structures are always quite simple even if the refrains sometimes are easily recognizable, like the one on “Crosstitution” among the others. On several parts, the Sodom spectrum is far more present and this is a good thing for some aspects.
The cons come with the too monolithic assault of the instruments and the riffs are not always that great. Sometimes the tracks are too similar in their violence and some peaks like the ones on “Necroticus” can’t be reached again. Here Quorthon is just vicious and really violent. The more mid-paced “War machine” is quite boring because the ideas are not that well-developed and the weird sounds on the background are annoying after awhile. The last tracks have few memorable peaks and the desire to skip is quite strong. They are quite lame in some parts and here Quorthon simple does his homework, without passion or strength. He takes riffs from everywhere to create a collage (the ones on “Suffocate” are incredibly copied by Sodom).
All in all, this is not like Octagon but it’s not that great either. The simple truth is that Quorthon wasn’t that able to play this style anymore…he made his time with the first, great black/thrash albums but that time was over. The natural evolution brought him to compose the Viking milestones like “Blood Fire Death” and “Hammerheart” and it was difficult to be convincing changing once again.
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.
Bathory's Requiem is almost a reverse swansong of sorts. Many fans were split into two when Bathory started meddling in Viking / Folkish anthems rather than blackened metal of the earlier albums. So Quorthon went and wrote a thrashing album with the Christian-bashing back intact. I believe this album, when placed beside its previous effort, is even more heavy. This album takes Bathory to a place where God-bashing, primal riffs, and substandard drumming work well.
This album is not Bathory's musical climax, nor is the heaviest work; but it still does what it set out to do... quell the naysayers! The riffs are very heavy, almost an 80's German thrash feel (such as Kreator or Destruction). The drums, like I said before, are very substandard, but they keep the time, and they actually work well within this album. The lack of frills within the drumming helps the listener focus on the thrashing riffs and the lyrical concepts of this album. The vocals are very raw, almost like a grating shout: a mix between the black metal rasp of old and the German thrashers hoarse shouts of the late 80's.
The production is actually quite good for the style. Despite what others may say, I believe that the instrument levels and muddy quality lend an amazing chaotic air to the album. By having the guitars and vocals high in the mix, the focus is on the lyrics and guitar riffs. The drums are good enough to be heard, and the bass can be heard most of the time chugging along. The muddy quality of this recording makes this album sound more primal than thrash albums though. There is a very energetic feeling about this album, and a sense of urgency that Quorthon uses to his advantage.
Overall, this album is best viewed as a way to qualm naysayers about Bathory's heaviness. Is should also be viewed as a stepping stone in one metal's most amazing careers. Once again, this is not Quorthon's best musical work, but the lyrical content, the riffs, and the basic structures are impressive. This is recommended to fans of thrash looking to get into Bathory, as well as Bathory fans and completists. This is not an essential album, but a fun listen none-the-less.
This is kind of Bathorys comeback album since Quorthon intended Twilight Of The Gods to be Bathorys last album. But after doing his side-project album he regained his will to continue with Bathory, resulting in 3 new Bathory albums within 1,5 years!
This album entitled "Requiem" was meet with alot of criticism, I think the reasons for that are quite obvious: Very bad production and poor vocal perfomance. And I must admit that I too thought this was simply terrible when I first popped it in my CD-player. But beneath the terrible production & vocal perfomance there is quality stuff to be found. The opening title-track begins with an intro that reminds me of something out of "Under The Sign Of The Black Mark", but as soon as the guitars kicks in its obvious that this was gonna be a thrash album. The build up riffs sounds like something that Slayer would have done back in the day. Not a bad way to open up the album at all! But the true highlights of the album lies in the second half of the album. Blood And Soil immediatetly grabs your attention with its heavy riffs and Suffocate, Distinguish To Kill & Apocalypse all contains killer thrash-riffs that have been sadly overlooked. War Machine & Pax Vobiscum got its moments too, decent but not that good either. Same goes for Crosstitution but that one took some time for me to appriciate. Achully, the only track I think is completely crap here is Necroticus, that one still only ring annoyance in my ears. But my favorite must be Distinguish To Kill with its speed, great riffing and Quorthons sick-sounding vocals!
If this album was recorded by, lets say Destruction or Sodom it would have been an awesome album! Or if Quorthon would have given this album the same treatment as Blood Fire Death in production & vocals it would have been great! In my opinion this is still Bathorys third worst album but I still think its a good album non the less, the production & vocal perfomance do wear it down but the songs are still strong. And after all, isn't that the most important thing?
So if you think you can listen & enjoy an album beyond the shallowness of production & vocal perfomance then give this album a couple of tries (it deserves it). But if you haven't heard much of Bathory I suggest you begin checking out their first 5 before you try anything els.
One strange note on this album is that the track-list on the back of the CD is in alphabetical order, makes no sence to me why anyone would do this. Strange but ahwell...
Overall its a good album but it got its flaws.
Killer songs: Blood And Soil, Suffocate, Distinguish To Kill, Apocalypse & the title track
After two great Viking albums, Bathory brings us this great piece of Thrash Metal. What? Bathory playing Thrash Metal? Well, why not? They already played Black, Death, Viking... and yeah. Now also Thrash (Although Bathory already released some thrashy songs in 1993's Juabileum Volume II compilation album).
1991's Twilight of the Gods was intended to be the last Bathory album, but after recording a Solo album, Quorthon decided to keep Bathory alive. Well. Lets center now on the music:
Heavy and thrashy riffs, wild thrash metal solos and not death / black vocals on this album. Quorthon is screaming the whole fucking album! All songs contain the same kind of main riff, that we could also listen in next album, Octagon. Concretly there is the "Damned Riff", one of those u keep in your mind cuz is simple, but fucking catchy. Alterations of this riff can be listen in almost all the songs. Its the main riff for "Suffocate", maybe the best song in the album.
The lyrics deals with earthly occult matters and death.
A great and different (dont know exactly why) thrash album. Brutal and fuckin thrashy and fast, this deserves nor less than 80% or 85%.
After two releases that lost me ("Hammerheart" and "Twlilight of the Gods"), I was hopeful for this album to reclaim some of Quorthon's glorious thrashing madness. It does, but something is missing. Maybe it's just that he made an album to silence those naysayers who said he'd lost it, because there is certainly a lot of gratuitous thrashing on this album--none of the dynamics and class of "Blood, Fire, Death", and none of the distinctively sick feel of the earliest material. Just a lot of 100mph and not much else, plus weak production without the trashy character of the old days. Don't get me wrong, this has its moments--the title track blasting off right away, "Crosstitution" with its amusing title and severely anti-Christian lyrics--but it lacks identity and variety. Every song blasts by at 100mph with little variation and he plays basically the same solo on every song--how cool is that? Not very. "Distinguish To Kill" even features a blast beat ending the song with seriously atonal riffing over the top, but that feels tacked-on. Not one of his better albums, for certain, and do yourself a favor by avoiding this unless you are a completist. Or better yet, download the songs I mentioned and save a few bucks!