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Quorthon's Return... - 88%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, April 7th, 2008

Just one year passed and Quorthon is back with an another great release and big influence for the worldwide black metal scene. In the same year another group came into the scene like a tornado: Possessed with Seven Churches. There were a lot of differences between these two groups but, in their way, they contribute in changing something in metal. If Kreator, Sepultura and, partially, the already cited Possessed were important for the death metal genre, this “The Return…” is another milestone for the black metal one.

After a short intro, “Total Destruction” explodes with its burden of violence, speed and malevolence. The production is far better than the debut and Quorthon, as a musician, grew enough to give a more impact to the song, starting to create truly a personal form and approach. The riffs are in pure death/black metal style with the inevitable influences from thrash metal and Hellhammer. The vocals are blacker here, so more screamed even if they’re not excessive, keeping that Cronos touch. The things change when the group decides to point on the mid paced, pure evil, doom parts. “Born For Burning” is an example with down tempo and rituals atmosphere.

“The Winds Of Mayhem” is full of raw up tempo; with the snare drum, the bass drum and the cymbal played together, on the same beat. This is a real, primordially example of black metal with screamed vocals. The sounds and the tempos on “Bestial Lust” are more punk/thrash metal style with plenty of open chords riffs, fast sections and the mythical, clean, sharp solos sounds. After another fast black metal attack like “Possessed”, it’s time for “The Rites Of Darkness” to bring the down tempo again in an atmosphere always more and more apocalyptic, satanic and gloom. This is a great song and my favourite one here, because it’s better structured in its simplicity and evilness. You can really taste what black metal was about during the 80s.

Without a second to relax, “Reap Of Evil” destroys our ears with a massive dose of up tempo, growl vocals from hell and doom parts. The palm muting guitars parts are more canonical thrash and this thing signs an improvement in technique; but it’s only during the savage, open chords riffs parts that the band shows the most evil side. If you want to know where groups like Immortal, Mayhem or Dark Throne took the inspiration for the guitars sound, check out the great “Sadist” with a raw, long part at the beginning and a quite sudden (also for the sound) massive thrash riff on the mid paced tempo.

The final, fast as a train, “The Return Of Darkness And Evil” (with a great, more epic refrain), ends this second black metal opus by one of the biggest revelations at the time and one of the best metal bands of all time: Bathory.