Review Summary: Essential Black Metal
Okay, I’ll admit I don’t catch on very quick, hence the delay on this lecture, so just bear with me and pretend that it's an insightful discovery. Black Metal is very specific when it comes to absorbing what is put forth, and I'd say, in this day and age, it's one of the few that really stands out in what you should expect from music. In the long run it's a damn showstopper. That said, the genre has it’s ultimatums. Many albums kick in with some lousy "epic" theme song, which in turn blasts into the very riffs of your first single (the horse really did it for me though). The next thoughts in your mind hit you like a windshield through a bug. Anticlimactic overload. Although it isn’t exactly a thought as much as it is a sudden sinking of gravity in your abdomen. Many questions are left unanswered as you delve into album, mainly, what response someone would expect by sounding like a 10 year old who had just learned to play his first riff and was repeating it to death in a post-ejaculatory mayhem. I’ve come to learn that this mysterious genre of music has its whys and wherefores, but by sounding really cheesy it’s standing its ground, and by repeating itself numerously it’s, still and only, fulfilling its intention.
Blood Fire Death
embraces the rawest of riffery, and it’s nothing new that I say it’s up to you what you make of it, whether you open yourself up to every moment or not. Here's the kicker though: how far can you be pushed around by something that claims it's good because it's raw and cheesy? Rhetoric shall remain unanswered, but as far as I'm concerned, the cheesier the better, more or less. Although most bands incorporate some atmospheric touches, Bathory's
music is destitute of such instances, ripping through with bare, mutant riffs which are highlighted with a rather sophisticated production (in terms of the genre). The band, originating in Sweden, is comprised of a single member, Quorthon, who plays every instrument single-handedly. At an early age he began the band, Bathory
, only for amusement. The music industry, however, wanted something more, and so began his career. Blood Fire Death
was released in 1988, and considered by many to be his magnum opus. I'll admit I haven't heard anything else from Bathory
's discography, but their 1988 effort is very promising, and the apple of my eye. I can think of no word which would accommodate to the same expression with "ear" instead, but it's that good.
Early on, I notice that this is no ordinary album. Although the line-up is quite similar (asocial) to how many Black Metal bands display themselves, Bathory
has a more dimensional and collaborative sound. Maybe it's the album cover, but upon listening to the tracks, it doesn't exactly conjure thoughts of "evil" or "black", most probably owing to the fact that there are folk influences in Quorthon's sound, and that it lacks any super lame symphonies (see Dimmu Borgir). The drums play a big part in this as well, laying more emphasis on the sharp battering of the percussion. Most songs involve striking in between chords to pace up the rhythm, and setting a staccato upon the base riffs or legato. The first single, A Fine Day to Die
which just so happened to be the second track, is good. In fact, it's great, constructing simple metal riffs and making them sound inviting, and hey, maybe a bit awesome. It is introduced by a steady acoustic passage with bizarre singing of both genders, which bursts into the up-tempo riffs of the guitar, and inherent drumming. When I say bursts, I actually mean bursts, with a brittle edge to each element. A giggling lead aquaints you with Pace 'till Death
, sticking its tongue out at you like a viking who just spat on your dead corpse.
Almost every song is as such, dry and straightforward; rearranging previous songwriting to form something which will hit you from a different angle. Dies Irae
is the only track that stands out, consisting of a more seamless melody with a constant drum beat, topped off with sweep picking. This song is similar to the title track, as both contain a mellow and sentimental side. So to sum up, Bathory
is very enjoyable, enjoyable to the point where everyone who is in to metal must experience this sometime during their musical leisure. Blood Fire Death
, the supremeness of Bathory
's discography distinguishes itself well from other Black Metal bands, but the principles are still there. A smorgasbord of stuff that just lets you know, if anything, the purest most evil of metal was never off the table.
- A Fine Day to Die
- Pace 'till Death
- Blood Fire Death
These are the ones I find more unique, but every song is excellent