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One of the best concept albums - 100%

Thunderwarrior91, September 3rd, 2017

One of stages which metal has been passed is the viking metal; which is a genre that tries to portray the moments, history and religion of vikings, being Bathory the pioneer or main precursor since the rhythm they use is an epic, troubadour feeling that makes you think "Wow, I'm listening to the heavy rhythm of vikings". I present you one of the albums which Bathory got to their cusp with. I also like the cover art, almost all songs are described there. Blood on Ice was recorded in 1989 but released in 1996, because when it was recorded, the band was very focused in black metal and Quorthon, the band's creative leader (rest in peace), thought this wouldn't work and fans wouldn't like it, but after a while, he polished his project and went on sale seven years later. Sincerely, I'd wish this album were the successor of Twilights of the Gods, so this band could've got a flawless catalog that every fan would boast having "their first seven albums". But not, this album came after constant pressures by fans and after releasing two retro-thrash discs.

The rhythms are perfect, they're coquettish as I normally like, overwhelming and epic as fuck, although sometimes slowed down in "Man of Iron" or "The Ravens", but that's perfect because it lets you rest from so many crazy epics and lets you think what's happened there. Although the production isn't raw and polished like their predecessors, the songwriting is pretty exceptional, enjoyable from start to finish, like a cinematographic trip while you listening to story. Quorthon gives us an awesome heavy metal stuff with a proto-viking touch which will accompany the child in his epic battles against outsiders. "Intro" means the introduction to work, a small instrumental piece that presents a well-developed exercise, like a cinema beginning. It doesn't take too long when the most rhythmic, elegant riffs do us enter to "Blood on Ice" and then, we've got entirely acoustic passages like "Man of Iron" and "The Ravens", which only add variety and novelty to the album. "The Woodwoman" and "The Lake" have exceptional performances (both vocals and acoustic intro) that give an emotivity and portray a purely viking ambient. As if war preparations were concerned, the potent and powerful "The Revenge" gives the way to great end that the story deserves, which gathers the album essence in ten minutes.

What would happen if this album had the same production as in "Twilight of the Gods" or that in "Nordland"? Surely, this one would've got the same estimation as those, also a massive recognition from the fans, which unfortunately didn't happen because this is a very underrated album, probably because it's interspersed between their worst albums. As I said, this album should've been released in 1994 or so, but everything affects to estimation that unconditional fan can grant to this, you probably prefer the "Nordlands" above this one, but anyway, this represents an essential puzzle about their viking records. Just like the missing link, as our friend hells_unicorn said, there's always a connector that unifies the pieces and explains everything, and this album is the connector between their early twins Hammerheart/Twilight and the later Nordland saga, which constitutes a collection of five albums representing the genre, being "Blood Fire Death" only a reminiscence of that.

Again, some people don't like this album and they despise it due to its technique or different sound. I must tell you, I disagree; therefore, I think I have the authority to defend this release, which was the saw that did split into two pieces the big steel beam that supported the grunge in 90s, along with Burzum's "Filosofem", also my favorite album from that year. The instrumental section has an exceptional job, especially on Vvnorth's druming and Quorthon's guitar playing, since his guitar riffs are fucking bastard, as well as the beautiful during the harmonious arpeggios in "The Ravens". With this masterpiece, we find again a melodic beginning, as if they told us the moments lived by the child and by all us, converted into a majestic experience that will be fought in a legendary world along with our hero, mounted on galloping guitars and epic drums. Also with the most hopeful choruses and perhaps the most successful album from their early viking era (1990, 1991, 1996). And this is friends, a clear example of how music makes us free, free to imagine, to create and to adorn the world for us. This has been my story... what's yours? Thanks for reading me.