Bathory: Blood Fire Death

Year1988
Label/DistributionBlack Mark / Under One Flag
FormatPicture-LP
Musical styleHeavy Metal
Additional infoLimited edition of 2000 copies
Rarity grading
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3 out of 6 - Extremely rare!

Review

Being the god has always been, BATHORY is one of the most respected bands around, and not just because they had pretty faces, rather a bunch of albums which are considered legendary in the extreme metal scene. One of these is Blood Fire Death”. Mr. mastermind Quorthon dared to climb the tallest mountain on that moment: to change his satanic approach for a totally epic concept of Nordic qualities. The result is this monumental opus of white noise and orchestral power. Curiously, when this album was first released back in 1998, very few fans were too happy, and the sells were no more than just” 60,000 around. Only die hard fans were prepared to understand the new offering of the Swedish trio, who certainly were very ahead of their time in terms of violence, speed innovation and aggression, which were already explored in their previous opus Under the sign of the black mark”. The opener Odens Ride Over Norland” is just the introduction for a world where snow covers the plains and warriors spill their enemies’ blood. The riding horses, the choruses, the atmosphere just make you feel the cold northern breeze caressing your face. One of the most fascinating facts here is that this tracks is fully orchestrated without even using an orchestra, to the contrary of all those ill-sounding new bands who use all that shit without succeeding. Suddenly enters a classical acoustic guitar which is the calm prelude for the devastating A Fine Day To Die”. Like a thunderstorm irrupts the whole musical section besides the beast-like Quorthon’s screams. The heroic winds of the whole track are remarked with the effects, pretty similar to those of the soundtracks. The barbarian atmosphere is essential for this song to reach its goal, taking you in the middle of a battle. The next track The Golden Walls Of Heaven” enters as fast as a sword in the chest. The total brutality of the song is just a masterpiece of noise and destruction. The flashing riffs/solos and the blasting drums are the keys for the power of this hymnal of aggression with very few precedents (perhaps only BATHORY themselves or SLAYER). The massacre continues with Peace Til Death” . One of the lines of the lyrics says it all: Mirror, mirror on the wall, I’m the fastest of ‘em all”. Totally mind blowing kind of Speed Metal, which has nothing to do with those new bands who claim to be Speed Metal and sing like the Spice Girls. The strong touches of Thrash Metal are noticeable all the album long, letting know the complex level BATHORY was reaching. The lethal dose is repeated with the ultra fast Holocaust, whose mighty devastation is enough to deaf any poser or fan of Nu metal”. The lack of production instead of being a problem, helps to increase the atmosphere, which is so difficult to do in a fast track…But as not all on this album is total hellpaced destruction, the side 2 opens with the skullcrusher For All Those Who Died”, which like a thunder hitting mountains, this song rumbles all around the room with total power thanks to the powerful drums and crushing guitars. For all those who only like melody, well, this is the wrong place actually, or better said the wrong song. The next bomb in line is the hit” Dies Irae” which goes from all-and-all total speed to heaviness of the most scary violence. Of what I can hear, here and there, this track used a time 4 guitar tracks, and even a couple of bass lines, something very few have ever dared to do, and this track is not the only one with such characteristics. Anyway, the atmosphere is not lost, being this one of the much reasons to consider this album as a masterpiece of all times. The last track is the (then) assorted Blood Fire Death”, a song much disliked and later loved. This was the beginning of the two following BATHORY albums Hammerheart” and Twilight of the Gods”, much recognized as the start fo the Viking Metal era (well, never forgetting the goods of Manowar, Heavy Load, even TNT). The acoustic intro, plus the heaviness and choral vocals background are the keys to make this song memorable, sadly an attempt that very few have tried to overpass. The media gave this album poor critics, but the Metal fans slowly discovered that this was a jewel far shinning of what the ignorance of the journalist could see. This album is essential to understand (al least a few) the slow transition of sheer aggression to over arranged metal, which in it self created a whole new way to see extreme Heavy Metal music. The nomal version of this lp is gatherfold with inner lyrics sheet and band pic, while this pic version (ultra rare nowadays) contains a back pic of Quorthon breathing fire. Just for those who still find in white noise some pleasure, far of the Grind Corish Black metal of today…

Tracks
Odens Ride Over Nordland
A Fine Day To Die
The Golden Walls Of Heaven
Peace Til Death
Holocaust
For All Those Who Died
Dies Irae
Blood Fire Death

Created / updated: 2011-01-17
Jose Luis Cano