Review Summary: Bathory Returns with the most evil album of all time
In 1985, Bathory returned with another brutal creation, only this time the brutality is far beyond the merciful debut album in comparison.
"The Return...", once dubbed as the most evil album of all time (that's saying a lot isn't it?) is a raw, thrashing, brutal and humorous interpretation of what it must sound like in Hell, the production even sounds like it was recorded down there and that was according to Quorthon the point of this album. As too few people are aware of, the trio that was Bathory didn't take the music dead serious at the time and surely had a laugh making the early records. It would often result in inconsistent performances and this album was no exception. Quorthon states on the official website that the members, including himself, would record the album often highly intoxicated and the result would often be dim and sloppy. The mistakes were covered up by ridiculous amounts of reverb and the musicianship was anything but professional.
But beyond these factors there is a truly great album, whether it was planned to be or it just turned out that way isn't important since the final result was great anyway. The tracks tend to get monotone and sound very similar and the production may seem unlistenable to inexperienced listeners, but the main contributer to the cult status the album (and band overall) has received is because of its strong atmosphere. There's nothing that can touch that fact, not even the kind of poor musicianship and that itself states a lot. The album creates an untouchable atmosphere by the arrangement of the songs, the lyrical themes, the murky production and the mystery that surrounds it. That itself deserves the "cult title" that it has received.