Bathory
Blood Fire Death


5.0
classic

Review

by Oranges. CONTRIBUTOR (57 Reviews)
March 30th, 2015 | 163 replies


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist

Review Summary: What is dead may never die.

In 1988, Bathory were at the top of their game. Having just come off of the success of Under the Sign of the Black Mark, the band had established their position as one of the most influential black metal bands within the first wave. By that point, though, it felt like some change was necessary. After all, Quorthon and his comrades had been doing the whole evil satanic shtick for a while now. So, for their next album, they decided to try shifting their focus away from black metal and into a style that was more influenced by….. Vikings. And over twenty-five years later, Blood Fire Death still holds up as one of the greatest metal albums of all time.

Immediately, you can tell that this isn’t going to be anything like Bathory’s previous works. “Oden Ride Over Nordland” sets the tone perfectly, with the distant sound of a horse whinnying, organ music, and what feels like wind blowing across the mountains setting the stage. Most of the songs are heavily thrash-influenced, such as “Golden Walls of Heaven” and “Holocaust”, with fast, pulse-pounding drums, aggressive guitars, and savage vocals. “Dies Irae” is a particular highlight, with shredding guitar solos and overpowering drumming at a ridiculously fast tempo to keep your adrenaline pumping. Stylistically, it’s light years more intense than anything Bathory’s done since, and it works. The production isn’t as raw as on Under the Sign of the Black Mark, but it still gives off a sinister aura, fitting well into both the baleful atmosphere and the fierce, almost violent structure of the music.

With all that being said, you can’t talk about Blood Fire Death without mentioning the two “epics” on it. First, you’ve got “A Fine Day To Die”, which nails the transition between acoustic guitars and a choir into crushing guitar riffs and Quorthon screaming perfectly. Speaking of riffs, “A Fine Day To Die” probably has the best riff on the entire album about two and a half minutes into the song. The ten-minute long title track is just as powerful, focusing more on a couple ominous acoustic sections within song, almost like the eyes of the storm. Both songs are still relatively aggressive and fast-paced, but slightly less so than the more thrash-influenced tracks. The defining component here is the focus on atmospheric elements; the riffs are more complex and have a bit of a Swedish folk tone to them, while the eerie choir singing and clean guitar compositions make the music feel much more immersive as a whole.

When it all comes down to it, Blood Fire Death could have ended Bathory’s career on a sour note. It could’ve been a failed experiment ( Cold Lake, I’m looking at you) that sealed the fate of our Swedish black metallers. But instead, not only was Blood Fire Death a massive success for both the band and their fans, it also paved the way for an entire subgenre of metal music, and reinvigorated the band’s creative juices for the next decade and a half. It’s almost as though the afterlife isn’t quite worth it, because Valhalla is already here.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2015


4260 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

MASSIVE props to Arcade and ComeToDaddy for helping me polish this up. As always, c/c is welcome.

NeroCorleone80
March 30th 2015


32157 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

m/

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2015


16781 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

when promotions time comes i always check to see who rates bathory records 4.5/5 or 5/5 and then decide on my promotion rec from there

SharkTooth
March 30th 2015


9279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

noice

Digging: George Thorogood and the Destroyers - George Thorogood and the Destroyers

oltnabrick
March 30th 2015


33275 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

no

Digging: Javla - Demo

Tunaboy45
March 30th 2015


7911 Comments


I thought you had to 5 Brand New to get promoted

Digging: Between the Buried and Me - Coma Ecliptic

Tunaboy45
March 30th 2015


7911 Comments


Great review as always Oranges

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2015


16781 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I thought you had to 5 Brand New to get promoted




you can always judge the character of a person by how much they like bathory

SharkTooth
March 30th 2015


9279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Prefer Hammerheart but this is still a classic

Tunaboy45
March 30th 2015


7911 Comments


fair enough, I haven't heard much from the band to be honest

SharkTooth
March 30th 2015


9279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"you can always judge the character of a person by how much they like bathory"



Pretty much, I mean there isn't much to be said when you 5 what everyone else on the site has 5'd

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2015


20758 Comments


Pos. one of my all time fav bm albums for sure

Digging: The Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2015


16781 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is just so god damn far ahead of its time i mean this came out in 1988 that's insane

Gameofmetal
March 30th 2015


6952 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You had to do it in the summary didn't you.......



fucking greyjoys man

Snowdog808
March 30th 2015


2373 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Blood Fire Death" is one of my three favorite Bathory tracks for sure.

ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2015


4260 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thank you, brothers. I knew there was a conspiracy behind my promotion.....



@Game You gotta do the campaign after you finish up with the Lannisters.

Gameofmetal
March 30th 2015


6952 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I just might. Meant to do some conquering earlier, but got super sleepy and conked out for a while. Greyjoys are looking mighty appealing though and this might be my soundtrack

TalonsOfFire
March 30th 2015


13143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great review Oranges, about time I gave this a shot

ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
March 30th 2015


4260 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Gracias.



@Game YES BOI

SomeSayShesNaive
March 30th 2015


536 Comments


Under The Sign is far better, but the title track for this album is historical.



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