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Confounded song choices, excellent extras (part 2) - 82%

hells_unicorn, January 26th, 2012

Not more than a year after Bathory temporarily hung it up, Black Mark decided why not have 1 collection of great songs in a jumbled order when there can be 2 for twice the buying price. While the economics of this decision become a bit more bizarre given the customer demographic being played to, it does present that label with another opportunity to provide the black masses with yet another helping of rarities to sate the otherwise insatiable appetite for more after the party was apparently over (curse you, accursed 90s). But the question is does the cuisine measure up to the sensibilities of the patrons?

While sequels generally tend not to measure up to their predecessors, this is one of those occasional exceptions where the rule doesn’t apply. Yes, what occurs here is the same mishmash of blackened thrash madness from the first 3 albums with an equally proportional representation from the Viking era, to the point where the goal seemed to be an interchangeable selection of songs in terms of pacing and style. But the overall song selection here is just a little bit stronger (particularly with the inclusion of the massive title song from “Twilight Of The Gods” closing things off and the near equally riveting Manowar inspired “One Rode To Asa Bay” near the beginning), and the extra offerings are just a little bit sweeter to the refined, thrash metal pallet.

As was the case before, the extras represent the earlier incarnation of Bathory that is largely responsible for what was starting to come out of Norway at this time like an avalanche through the lands of fimbulwinter. The lead off song “The Return Of The Darkness And Evil” in its original Scandinavian Metal Attack form, along with the previously unheard “Die In Fire” march out Quorthon’s early influences ala Motorhead, churning out a longer and darker version of “Overkill” in the former, and a similarly blues heavy speed metal number in the latter. The other odd song out “Burnin’ Leather” may seem a rehash of 1983 Metallica or Judas Priest, but the musical result sounds like it was born during the “Under The Sign Of The Black Mark” sessions, being possessed of the same grim guitar crunch and massive drum backdrop that paved the way for “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas”.

The verdict here is mostly the same as was the case with part 1, save the fact that the song selection is a bit more coherent, though the same can’t be said for how the songs are ordered and the overall coherence of putting the “Hammerheart” and “Twilight Of The Gods” material in with the earlier stuff. While these would still have been inferior to a simple, singular release of all the rarities on a single album, both of these would have been better from a playability standpoint had the Viking and black metal stuff been put on separate releases. Still, given that these are obviously aimed at the rabid followers that tend to make up the vast majority of Bathory’s fan base, the advice is to buy cheap.

Counting kronor II of III - 32%

autothrall, January 20th, 2012

If it's not painfully obvious just how conniving Jubileum Vol. II seems in the long term, just take a brief glance through the track list. You'll find more tracks lifted from the same albums that the first volume outsourced the year before, and other rarities that were held back. Had Boss and Quorthon decided to just release the 4 obscurities there and the three here as a single EP, or perhaps tossed on some other unheard material, it might have felt a lot less cheap. Fuck, if they had just kept it in their pants until the later 90s, they could have combined the unreleased material from all THREE Jubileums to produce a single, comprehensive collection that would have been both mandatory and highly anticipated by their original fans and the many that joined the procession through their individual discoveries through the emergent black metal genre earlier that decade.

Nah, this just feels like an incomplete 'half' to shove on your shelf next to Vol. I and forget all about it. As proof of this, look at how they've included Bathory's OTHER track from the 1984 Scandinavian Metal Attack split, "The Return of Darkness and Evil". Granted, both of their contributions to the release appear elsewhere in the Bathory canon in a form that does not greatly diverge in quality, but I'd rather have these remnants in one place. The other gems here are "Burnin' Leather", a straight black/speed/thrash blitz from before the Blood Fire Death album was released with Quorthon's most Germanic, Mille Petrozza presence perhaps in all his legacy (not only for the voice itself but the syllabic patterns); and "Die in Fire", which was taken from the same 1983 demo recordings as "You Don't Move Me (I Don't Give a Fuck)". The vocals are a little more hacked here, but I still quite enjoy the primal riffing and think that element alone is just another of the myriad reasons Bathory has been such an influential band. Try and count how many of these throwback speed/black bands today owe their very existence to a tune like this...great that we can finally hear it.

But that's where the value ends to this collection. The rest of the tunes are just lifted off the full-length albums. Two more from Twilight of the Gods ("Bond of Blood" and the title track), which seems rather silly. It was their most recent record and yet now we've got 50% and 30 minutes of its content reprinted within 2 years. From the first three albums, there is a small contingent including "Possessed", "Raise the Dead", "Total Destruction" and "Call from the Grave", and then more of their Viking fare in the form of "Shores in Flames" (Hammerheart) and "The Golden Walls of Heaven" (Blood Fire Death). So, yes, now 5 of the 9 tracks from Blood Fire Death are also repressed for these two compilations...if anyone is THAT interested, why not just buy the damned thing and experience its full, consistent glory.

Alas, the same frustrations apply here to this release as they do for every other largely needless printing of plastics and paper that I've experienced, and it's difficult to regard Jubileum Vol. II as anything more than an incomplete commercial venture targeted at collectors and fanatics who will purchase this on its logo/brand name alone. Two of the unreleased tracks are worth hearing, as they'd not been available to those who bought the original pressings of the full-lengths. But the remainder of the content does not flow any better here than it did in its original configuration, and to most of good taste, Bathory's a good enough band to drop the 60-80 bucks on their exceptional backlog anyway. As it stands, the net worth of this particular collection is about as long as it takes to rip "Burnin' Leather" and "Die in Fire" to your portable mp3 player or desktop folder and then sell it off to some other sucker.


Outstanding - 95%

VaderCrush, April 25th, 2008

I'll admit it: This was the first release by Bathory I ever picked up. I saw it beside a copy of Octagon in my local record store and decided to pick this one( Thank god.)
Jubileum is a collection of various Bathory songs, picked from the first five albums, as well as a couple of unreleased tracks...And honestly, they couldn't have done a much better job with their compilation. it's an excellent piece for newcomers to the band who want to hear their transition in sound over time, offering both gritty black/thrash classics like "Cry From the Grave" and "The Gold Walls of Heaven," alongside the booming viking/folk sound of "One Rode to Asa Bay" an "Twilight of the Gods."
The unreleased rarities included on the disc are quite interesting as well, mainly consiting of a thrash-based sound along with Quothorn's unique vocals. The first being a cleaner, surprisingly more upbeat version of "The Return of Darkness and the Evil" with slightly different lyrics, the lightning fast "Burning Leather", and "Die in Fire", which is a catchy tune with rather disturbing lyrics.
The only problem I can place is that the order of the tracks of questionable. The album skips around from viking to black somewhat often, leading one to believe that little thought was put into that category.
Nevertheless, it's all hear for people that want to sample Bathory's sound before diving into the band. Those already into them may be dissapointed that some excellent tracks were left out, but there's nothing really wrong at all with this album in terms of sound.

A Nice Collection of Tracks - 97%

mercyfulfate666, September 3rd, 2004

This is the second of the three Jubileum albums from Bathory. This basically is a greatest hits collection. This one focuses more on the Viking era and some unreleased stuff but does have some black metal on it. The album starts off with a classic "the return of darkness and evil." this just sets an evil mood for everything. This was the original version of the song and not the one that appears on "the return." This album, as i said before, contains many unreleased and rare tracks like "Burnin' Leather," "Die in Fire," which reminds me of Judas priest for some reason, and the early version of "The return of darkness and evil." This is really a cd worth getting for new fans of Bathory and older fans because you get a little bit every style Bathory played. From the black metal classics like "Call from the Grave," "The Return of Darkness and Evil," "Raise the Dead," and "Possessed," to the more thrashy "the golden walls of heaven," to the epic Viking masterpieces of "twilight of the gods," "shores in flames," and the legendary "One Rode to Asa Bay." If your interesting in getting into the legend that is Bathory this is a good place to start because you see the many sides and forms that is Bathory.