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Despite Popular Belief, Lives Up To Prior Glory - 91%

divortium, June 24th, 2009

Destroyer of Worlds is sort of odd as far as Bathory albums go. It doesn't really have any sort of theme, and mixes seemingly unrelated tracks that sort of combine the different themes of past Bathory albums. Alas, a neophyte to black metal could be excused for thinking "Destroyer of Worlds" was a compilation album. However, I assure you, it is not.

A lot of people dislike "Destroyer of Worlds", and I really don't see why. The epic "Lake of Fire", the gritty, speedy ode to ice hockey "Sudden Death", the beautiful and shifting "White Bones", it has the best of all worlds. Granted, Bathory is at their most powerful when some sort of theme ties together an album. For example, Hammerheart is often regarded as their magnum opus, and for good reason (although Nordland came close, in my opinion). The crude production and dark content of "Under The Sign..." and "Bathory", the Odinist "Twilight of the Gods", the descent into musical Valhalla with "Blood Fire Death", "Destroyer of Worlds" is definitely the black sheep of the family. But it works. Magnificently.

A lot of people complain about how Bathory albums get stale after a while. As a big fan of Quorthon's work, I never experienced this first hand, but no one can possibly hold that complaint to this album. There is plenty of variety, and it's all done properly. Quorthon proved that once again, he knew what he was doing. Stylistically, it's sort of a combination of "Viking Bathory", Quorthon's "Album", and the band's eponymous debut. Is it a little scattered? Yes. It's by no means perfect. But the tracks are, for the most part, very strong. The album is accessable, and a good starting point for folks just getting into Bathory. I highly recommend it.

Side note: It's been my cycling album as of late. Functions admirably there too. Few things beat weaving in and out of traffic, illuminated by dim street lamps and moonlight, to the tune of "Sudden Death".

R.I.P. Quorthon.