Review Summary: Epic sounding album, excellent songwriting, nice atmosphere - but somewhat repetitive.
This album is epic, no arguing. It has got atmosphere and personality, some great musicianship and some excellent tracks. i have a weakness for these kind of albums that sounds BIG and majestic, so it would be easy for me to give this one top score... but what comes in the way of the album is the similarity between some songs.
After "Hammerheart" it was clear that Bathory couldn't return to the Black Metal scene they almost single handedly created in the 80's. What we got instead was a step further into the new bombastic arranged songs, now written and performed entirely by Quorthon. The arrangement of the songs now showed no signs whatsoever of the before primitive arrangements in the earlier releases. What we got instead was Quorthon's most complex, deep and thought through album of his entire career. All of the songs show sings of influence from classical music, which Quorthon took interest in as drummer Paul Lundberg joined before the recording of "Under The Sign Of The Black Mark" who was educating himself into being a full-time timpanist.
Under the classical music type of arrangement there is very few signs of Heavy Metal at all. Sure, there is distorted guitars and a somewhat distorted vocal performance, but the Heavy Metal elements are as good as unapparent.
The album starts of with a lowly distorted electric guitar that follows a moody pattern. As the slow paced title track begins, you've basically heard the entire album and if you like this kind of music, you'll love it, but if you don't, you'll probably hate it. Especially the intros of "Through Blood By Thunder" and "Blood And Iron" sounds alike, which is basically the same acoustic intro. It might have something to do with the fact that the title track and those two track was combined on the original release (making the track half an hour long!) but that is obviously the progression that Quorthon wanted the album to have (similar to the similar sounding elements in the songs on W.A.S.P's "The Crimson Idol") and then who am I to question?
Classification has always been an issue with Bathory's music. "Twilight Of The Gods" is no exception as the music tends to steer towards some kind of Bathory-style Doom Metal with classical influences more than anything, that's the only classification I would agree with because Bathory never followed any trends. Or... wait...