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The Return... - 93%

IronHell666, February 5th, 2008

This is the first Bathory record I got my hands on and I was forever changed that cold fall day.

The intro seems worthless to some but I think it is a good way for building suspense and creating a sense of tension. "Total Destruction" completely annihilates you when listening. The production sounds very raw and this is the type of sound that influenced bands for decades to come. Somehow, it is raw and heavy at the same time which is something you don't hear often.

"Born for Burning" is a thrashing classic! On this album, Bathory really killed any other band that even thought of being in the same class. This destroys Venom and annihilates Hellhammer in every way!

To hit this in a song by song way is useless but it must be told that this album is the blueprint for black metal. There are tons of really fast riffs and other thrashy ones that really break it up and make this very easy to digest. Also worth remembering are the great little solos. Not many use guitar solos in black metal but Quorthon does it very well.

The guitar sound is not as trebly as on the first album. There are less Motorhead-inspired riffs on here as well. This is altogether darker and more evil than the first album could ever have hoped to be. The mood is black as night on every single track. There are still a few moments of rock and roll to be found, but not as much as on the debut.

The vocals are very raspy and sound evil as hell. Compared to Quorthon, Cronos and Tom Warrior may as well have been singing like Vince Neil because this is the voice of death itself!

Songs like "Possessed" and "Sadist" are very memorable and wicked but it is the final song, "The Return of the Darkness and Evil", that really pays homage to the eternal throne of Satan. This song fades in and is true mayhem all the way through. the song is very catchy for being so fast and evil, but that is the mark of Quorthon's genius.

I think what he would accomplish on "Under the Sign of the Black Mark" would surpass this, but for the time being Bathory had just created the masterpiece of black metal and one of the most influentual albums of all time.

Best songs: Born for Burning, The Return of the Darkness and Evil