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What if this were released in 1984? - 88%

Iron Wizard, June 14th, 2017

Requiem is another example of a failed comeback album. Many bands do this a lot, after either softening or changing their styles. After the sort of half-hearted Twilight of the Gods came out, Bathory sort of fell to ashes for the time being, with Quorthon then favouring his solo project. When he decided to return to Bathory, the result was a less than triumphant comeback album, Requiem. This album is generally regarded as a fuckup in Bathory's discography, and generally a piss poor album, however, one should think about one thing. What if this were released in the 80s alongside albums like Kreator's Pleasure to Kill. It would likely have been hailed as an influential thrash masterpiece, and possibly an important element of the conception of black metal. Unfortunately, however, it's sound did not resonate well with most metal fans.

Requiem is a very stripped down blackened thrash metal album, and it follows an almost punk-like underground ethic. There is also some discernible death metal influence here, with the blastbeats and thrash riffs slowing into heavy grooves. The production is dismal and empty, however it happens to work masterfully here. It sounds like what one would expect to hear after looking at the field of crushed skulls on the album cover-it's raw, thrashy, militant extreme metal. This is a very fitting return to a more brutal sound after the softer Twilight of the Gods. Quorthon's vocals strive to achieve a black metal rasp, however his voice seems a little burnt out by this point, and comes off as a very unique cigarette laden scream.

Lyrically, one could consider this to be an extreme regression. The epic, Pagan themed lyrics of the previous two albums, and the macabre imagery of the ones before that is gone in favour of lines like "Holy Jesus fucking Christ, forgive my fucking head, it's full of doubts and questions, did you really raise the dead?". While he does sound immature, these lines are fun and at times make very valid points. No one can argue against how much fun it is to sing along with the belligerent chorus of "War Machine", one of the best songs on the album. Other highlights include "Crosstitution" "Pax Vobiscum", and the more death metal sounding "Distinguish to Kill" and "Apocalypse".

While Requiem is not hailed as a masterpiece, and honestly it has no reason to be amongst Bathory's higher opuses, it is still a worthwhile album to listen to.