without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
The improvement shown in The Return…. album was evident to anyone. If the first album was still a bit influenced by Venom and Motorhead, the following one was quite different in terms of song writing and production. Quorthon grew in skills and abilities in playing instruments and the whole album seemed a bit more mature, even if it was always devastating and truly evil. Well, the technique was not excellent because they didn’t need that, but the changes were near. Some of the compositions were a bit more epic and slow and in this Under The Sign Of The Black mark we have the natural continuation.
The first assault, “Massacre” is an up tempo song with lots of brutal sounds and obscure vocals. It could fit perfectly in The Return…. album. The production is raw, especially in the drums sound that, with its power, almost deletes the guitars sound. Anyways it’s always quite audible but not that powerful and this also contributes in creating a gloomier, primordial atmosphere. It seems like they are playing in a cavern. With the following “Woman Of Dark Desires” the new influences come directly in the riffage and mostly during the epic refrain.
“Call from The Grave” shows epic/dark guitars riffs and a new sense of “melody” for a band like Bathory. This is completely new. The song is mostly mid paced with a ritualistic tempo and truly extreme vocals. The solo here is fantastic and sounds like a horn for the long notes. This is one of the very first example of epic black metal. This march can be seen as a big influence for funeral black metal too, concerning the down tempos and the really sick air we can breathe.
“Equimanthorn” shows no will to slow down a bit, being completely on up tempo with an evil riffage and the chainsaw bass distortion in the first line. The vocals are always raspy and brutal, showing no mercy or signs of change. Here the solo is more shredded and fast, in old thrash metal style. But with the majestic “Enter The Eternal Fire” we can find again the new influences, here even in a higher dosage if compared to the other songs. The epic-distorted riff are perfectly balanced with arpeggios and even some Viking chorus on the back ground. This song features a longer length and perfect epic parts. This is truly innovative.
After that great, glorious song, one of the best from Quorthon, it’s time for “Chariots Of Fire” to destroy our ears with a brutal black/thrash riffs orgy, supported with almost blast beats tempos and apocalyptic feeling. This is where you can really notice how Bathory were important for the future generation of blacksters and, most of all, for one of the most important groups in this genre: Immortal. “13 Candles” is another slow march in the obscurity with again some epic passages, like in the riffs or the chorus! This is a perfect balanced song between innovation and tradition.
The hyper fast “Of Doom…” puts an end to this milestone for the black metal genre, that was already showing some new characteristics and innovations in a sound that was still brutal and raw, but also evocative and extraordinary. Another masterpiece for Bathory.