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Without this nothing would have followed - 98%

Taliesin, September 1st, 2006

This is the final part of Bathory's "satanic trilogy" after this they would do Blood Fire Death which is kind of an in between album, mainly moving into the nihilism of warfare, and the ability to transcend it to create a meaning for existence. The first three Bathory albums though in essence defined all black metal that would follow (at least in Norway), listen to the intro that turns into "Massacre" and tell me that it doesn't remind you of Darkthrone's Kathaarian Life Code. Bathory moved into a field more extreme then almost anyone else, even Slayer. By using the Motorhead idea of everything louder then everything else Quorthon created a harsh listening experience that really rubs raw your whole soul. The drums bash away in a minimalistic style that creates something almost ritualistic, never letting up they blast away with a harsh tone that if in the right stereo actually hurts, the guitar tone is bone dry and all trebble, blasting wave after wave of hatred and contempt. "Woman of Dark Desires" is even more harsh, with a drum sound that is so loud so insane, and all by accident on here, or so Quorthon says. That combined with the guitars which seem to move in an ambient sense, only several notes at a time, making me think of Ildjarn, then in the chorus there is a little more distinction, but also on this song keyboards are added that are way ahead of their time, this is repeated throughout the whole album, The kind of keyboards Countess would attempt to replicate, somehow adding a dark sinister horror movie atmosphere to the proceedings.

Quorthon's voice is possessed on here, demonic screams with a perfect tone, want to know what Dead was trying to do, it's all right here. This album is harsh and unrelenting even with the slower songs like "Call From the Grave" and "Enter the Eternal Fire" which even though slower and more atmospheric, are just as harsh as any of the faster songs. Of course one knows that Darkthrone and Mayhem both stole riffs from this album, but in an attempt to match the fury and intensity of the blasphemy and darkness that is contained on here, and of course since they were also original in their own ways, they managed to transcend the stamp of copy cat bands.

If you are thinking of picking this up just remember, though it is in many ways well produced, it is as harsh as putting your hand into an open flame, with metal stamper drums that hit hard and evil vocals of hatred, guitars that buzz with an intent to kill and a bass that is quite loud, but also quite distorted. Everything on here is designed to basically rip the flesh from your body and then rejoice in the misery of those actions. Combined with the dark occultic atmosphere, everything on here is what black metal wishes it could be, and of course very often bands suceed, but it's also good to listen to the originators, and not just the bands to follow.

This is like all Bathory an essential purchase, sure Quorthon was never fond of it, but it is effective in creating a demonic atmosphere, if hell existed this is what it would sound like. Cold, morbid and unrelenting.