Review Summary: The inferior successor to the superior predecessor.
Imagine the album cover being put up on a poster in a record store somewhere in Stockholm in 1994. Imagine an early fan of the satanic era walking past and noticing it, filling his heart with joy imagining the return of the brutal Bathory he once knew. Staring into the morbid cover portraying human skulls scattered across the ground in a bleak atmosphere must have made some statement back then, saying that this one will NOT be Twilight Of The Gods 2. You'd know that before you'd even heard it. It must have left the viking metal fans somewhat bemused and saddened. And just the cover itself made the one statement that nobody seemed to accept. It perfectly falls into the category of the inferior v.s. the previous superior syndrome. It's caught up being overshadowed by the beast that is Twilight Of The Gods and I think that Quorthon realized that was going to happen wherever he chose to take Bathory musically. Analyze the gap between Hammerheart and it's predecessor, Twilight Of The Gods is even more epic, majestic and atmospheric that the already majestic and atmospheric previous album. It would have been not only predictable and uninteresting to take it one step further, it would probably have been too much and sooner or later you'd have to leave the concept. And if that wasn't enough he stated to be dead tired of the viking metal concept after Twilight Of The Gods and was looking to other places for inspiration and decided to release the energy he kept within while recording Twilight Of The Gods, producing his most brutal album to date.
I know that you're thinking and you're probably right; if the album cover had the logo of any other band than Bathory I would have been reviewing in a totally different style, ripping the album apart. But I find it interesting and brave to have released such an epic and colorful album and following it up with the most primitive and bleak album ever recorded by the band. Despite the somewhat dull concept and monotone songs, the statement is interesting. It captures the Bathory atmosphere just as much as any album just in a different form. Its predecessor is basically the same story, although this time it's overshadowed by an album that everybody hated that would have made it the ultimate scapegoat of any discography and I'll be honest with you, Octagon is too much for my ears to digest, it's just too much ugliness. It's like St Anger took a ***, I really want to wash my hands after touching it...
Delivering a frenzied, fast performance in the vein of 80's thrash metal along with Quorthon's questionable new, raspy vocal performance taking the listener light years away from viking metal it just brutally shatters ears that can't digest extreme music and it's nothing you'd want to hear with a headache which I'll assure you that this album will give you. Introduced by a ambient intro along with a church bell it leads into the title track which is basically mindless brutality delivering triplets, 2 beats and vocals that sounds like they are coming from a demon with a cold. The production is thin and raw and the drums sounds like saucepans... This is basically what you're getting and if you didn't like the first track, you'll probably hate the rest of the tracks.
During the recording in 1989 while recording Hammerheart, Quorthon suddenly felt like writing something brutal again. The result was a number of songs that never saw the light of the day, still collecting dust in the cabin that he kept his unfinished projects at. The album title was supposed to be, you guessed it, Requiem. One of these songs ended up on the first Jubileum album, titled Crawl To Your Cross. I'm asking you to look it up and listen to it, then take a minute and ask yourself if you liked it. Then compare it to Requiem, 1994. If you did like it, was is because it was recorded in the golden era" is it because of the familiar production" This is basically the same track as all the other tracks on Requiem, only the production is better and nothing else is different. I know that I've made the choice to embrace Requiem for what it is and knowing while I'm listening to it that I'm giving it the attention it deserves, give it a chance.