Review Summary: Sadly, Bathory’s 7th album is closer to trash than thrash.
Tightly clutching the grimly coloured album, the cover picture of “Requiem” was compelling enough for me to pick it out- notwithstanding the band who released it. Though I’ve never been the biggest ‘Bathory’ fan, I had little quarrel with “Hammerheart” or “Blood Fire Death”, encouragement enough to listen to other works by this band. Unfortunately, I’ve struggled to enjoy any other albums released by Bathory, and I was desperately hoping this would be an exception.
As my mind began to wander, I mentally ticked off the albums that I had listened to by this band. As the memory of Bathory’s following album ‘Octagon’ popped into my mind, I began to have second thoughts about this album. “Surely,” I reassured myself, “Surely this album can’t be as bad as Octagon”.
Mercifully, I was right; it’s not as bad as Octagon. And don’t call me Shirley.
The most noticeable difference in this album is a palpable change in style; rather than sticking with a Black/Viking Metal feel, Quorthon decided to opt for a more ‘thrash’ metal sound. On the whole, it’s a trifle uninspiring compared to some of the earlier works, but my initial reaction wasn’t all that bad.
A few features stood out for me upon first listening- the production is fairly good, all the instruments are audible (including the bass guitar), and the drumming on this album is pretty darn impressive. Though the songs have no use of keyboard whatsoever (bar a few samples of wind and whatnot), I was beginning to enjoy this album- that is, until 2 minutes into the first song.
It’s a little harsh to claim that vocals completely ruin an album. Regrettably, Quorthon’s hollering voice in this album leaves me with no alternative. The vocals are atrocious- all signs of clean singing have been scrapped, in favour of what seems to be shouting. Though there are obvious signs of trying to imitate the vocal style of Slayer or Metallica, Quorthon doesn’t quite pull it off. Coupled with the fact that there is very little song distinction, what shreds of excitement created at the start of this album quickly disappear into an inconsistent effort.
This album really seems to get worse by the minute- and that is no exaggeration. Having endured it several times, I’ve come to the conclusion that the first two tracks are actually the best; oddly enough, Quorthon’s vocals seem to get worse as the album progresses, leaving me feeling rather bitter.
As a thrash metal album goes, this is average at best. As a Bathory album goes, this is pretty dreadful. Though I can’t deny there were some great moments, this album starts with a lot of promise- only to end with a lot of displeasure.
Although I’d say this is for the “die-hard fans only”, I think it’s more apt to say this is for people wanting to complete their ‘Bathory’ discography. Though by no means the worst album I’ve ever heard, there are very few redeeming factors to warrant another listen.