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A Black Jewel - 92%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, April 2nd, 2008

I remember the day Quorthon died. It was a complete out of the blue thing. Few days after, a metal magazine in Italy published a quite old interview by the mighty composer with lots of even older journalists’ questions during the 1984-1988 period. A part from the various curiosities about the recording process of the albums and other things, in an answer he talked about his main musical influences at the time of his homonym debut album. At the time in Sweden it was so difficult to find something metal because of the insufficient distribution. The heaviest things they could listen to at the time were the Iron Maiden but one day he discovered Venom and Motorhead and his life changed.

Shocked by such violent groups (for the period, of course), he began to practice the instruments with two friends. They wanted to take to the extreme that genre that was already brutal. They wanted to play DEATH METAL. Yes, that is what he said in the interview. Death metal. Not black. And the history begins here. They were very young but in a short period they had few tracks to put out in an album. It was 1984. The Bay Area thrash metal was unknown to them and the Swedish death metal period was quite far, so here we can really understand how they were ahead in mentality. I can consider him a sort of a genius for the intuition and the creativity.

The owner of the Black Mark production (we don’t know yet if he’s his father or not) gave them the possibility to record and the result was epochal for the growing death/black metal scene. In 1984 it was so hard to find someone who played so fast, brutal and black metal in the whole world. Anyway, don’t believe to find a pure form of black metal here because it’s a genre, like the others, that evolved through different bands and albums. Here we can find a sort of Venom on speed with the Motorhead dirty sound and attitude. The vocals by Quorthon are truly evil and they can be seen as an exasperation of Cronos ones. After the intro, hell’s unleashed by never ending sessions of up tempo with various stop and go.

They were not technical at all but I don’t care at all when you have the heart, the mind and inspiration. Each song is a pure black jewel. The guitars are fast in the riffage and the solo on “The Reaper” is total thrash style. “Necromansy” is a bit doom with a malignant guitars work and satanic lyrics. They took this kind of lyrics exactly for their groups-influences but Quorthon, after few years, said that they were totally ridiculous and childish. To return to the music, each song is quite simple, made of catchy verses and refrains in pure dirty hard rock style. “Sacrifice” is again total speed with a massive death/thrash metal main riff and a more melodic, excellent guitars solo.

The tempos are always in Venom style, especially in the drummer’s way of playing but here they are faster. The Venom worshipper-praise-homage title song like “In Conspiracy With Satan” is a clear proof of how much they loved that group. Anyway, in general, all the titles are in that direction, giving new inspiration for the future generations of black metal composers. In “Raise The Dead” you can hear more or less the same sound style of several mid paced Venom songs while the last “War” is something unbelievable for malevolence and speed.

Here Bathory yet were a very young band but they, I don’t know if voluntary or not, invented something new in the whole world showing to everybody how extreme metal was evolving, making other groups follow them on the damned path to the real black metal.