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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.