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Return to Nordland - 90%

Perpetual_Winter, April 2nd, 2005

To begin with I am admittedly a sucker for Viking related music so this album (and so many others) scored points with me before I even heard it. Now this was really my first exposure to Bathory (what? You? No? Yes!), so I really didn’t know what to expect. I’d heard portions of Hammerheart before, but never really grasped any of Bathory’s early work. I immediately fell in love with this album. There is a lot of contrast musically on Nordland I that ranges from acoustic folk tracks (Ring of Gold, eerie song that creates amazing atmosphere absolutely remarkable) to the more rock based tracks following the line of 1996’s 'Blood on Ice' to thrashier tracks with blasting drums (Broken Sword). Quorthon’s vocals are, again, most attuned to the style of ‘Blood on Ice’ and are very smooth and very accessible. Production-wise it is very clear; you don’t have to strain to catch much at all. The vocals may seem a little distant at times, but I really feel that it helps create an atmosphere that takes you back to Nordland in the time of the Vikings (the obligatory Bathory horse sample is at the beginning of ‘Foreverdark Woods another stand out track on the album). Though by far this isn’t my favorite Bathory album (yes, I’ve listened to a lot of Bathory now…) this is a very good album, and I recommend it to those who are fans of thrash, power metal, folk, etc. and of course to fans of later