As for me, this is the first masterpiece of Bathory. It retained its roughness, darkness and brutality and added some extra sense for melodiousness to create one fantastic black metal opus, where fast and slow tracks co-exist together in perfect balance.
Easy to romanticize, but it's not quite as good as s/t or Return, is it? The superficial appeal is obvious: the thrashers are faster and the epic tracks are epicer...er. Or rather, there actually are "epic" tracks at all, foreshadowing the upcoming axes & ale era. But the riffs just aren't really there for the most part, and there are some really obvious throwaways. Not quite a classic I say.
My gateway to black metal. Well, it's early Bathory so obviously it's atmospheric and while not that much of a sensation technically it definitely has its moments in terms of songwriting, most noticeably on Equimanthorn. Albums kinda drags sometimes though, would it have showcased a more varied collection of songs it would be well worth a 4.
In my opinion Quorthon's best record. My favourite tracks here are Enter the Eternal Fire and specially Woman of Dark Desires, his best song. Essential and extreme influential to the second wave of Black Metal.