bathory - nordland i

Bathory: Nordland I (2002)

After Twilight of the Gods solidified the place of Bathory among the progenitors of viking metal, things went a bit astray.  Quorthon put out a solo album, and Bathory went back to the blackened thrash of the earlier albums for a time.  Nothing quite seemed to congeal.  That is until Nordland I, the first of a planned four-part masterwork that would bring back the viking metal in full force to walk through the tales of Nordic myths and legends.  This was my first real experience experience with Bathory, and similar to to when I first heard it, there’s a lot that works and admittedly a bit that doesn’t. Continue reading “Bathory: Nordland I (2002)”

bathory - twilight of the gods

Bathory: Twilight of the Gods (1991)

By now the switch from any kind of extreme thrash/black metal is gone, and Twilight of the Gods represents the full vision of Bathory into pure anthemic Viking Metal. Taken as a template for the style and a touchstone for dozens of bands who would iterate on the idea later, it might be near perfect. As a satisfying and cohesive album there’s a lot to love, though I’d be lying if I didn’t say I missed a little of the punch and pleasure from the faster, more immediate songs from the past. Continue reading “Bathory: Twilight of the Gods (1991)”

bathory - blood fire death

Bathory: Blood Fire Death (1988)

So here’s why you sometimes have to be dubious of what you buy.  After finally succumbing to the black metal bug, I decided I needed to dig deeper in Bathory, one of the primal godfathers of the genre.  I had heard the earlier stuff but didn’t own anything beyond the final two albums which – as we’ll see in a few days – were decidedly different.  So after deliberation I decided to start with Blood Fire Death, the touchstone for mainman Quorthon’s transition from the gnarly black metal of his earlier album into the more viking metal pomp if his later stuff.  And so I bought a CD off of Amazon.

From the Kraze label. Continue reading “Bathory: Blood Fire Death (1988)”

barshasketh - ophidian henosis

Barshasketh: Ophidian Henosis (2015)

Here was the deal with this one: for about seven euros I could get the digital download for Ophidian Henosis, the third full-length from New Zealand’s Barshasketh.  Or, for a euro more (plus shipping, of course) I could get the CD.  I opted for the latter and here we are, although I still don’t rightly know what the album name means beyond it’s rough translation of “union of snakes” which is – admittedly – pretty metal. Continue reading “Barshasketh: Ophidian Henosis (2015)”

baroness - purple

Baroness: Purple (2015)

Red mixed with blue give you purple, so it stands to reason there’s an element of mixing at play with Purple, the most recent release from Baroness.  Coming almost four years after Yellow & Green, and also after the traumatic accident that almost cost John Baizley his arm, there’s a sense of bruised urgency to the tightened song structures that make for a great return to form for the band, as well as a clarity of intent and identity.   Continue reading “Baroness: Purple (2015)”

baroness - yellow and green

Baroness: Yellow & Green (2012)

It’s something to see a band release a double album.  When I see it I have to wonder if the band really felt like they needed two albums to get their point across; are they that confident in the songs?  Maybe it’s a reflection of my own insecurity when it comes to making music.  Regardless, though we might never know the real reasons, Baroness went ahead and did that very thing, putting out the combined Yellow & Green in 2012.  And, well…it goes about like many other double albums: there’s a great single album in there somewhere, but I usually don’t stick around that long to find it. Continue reading “Baroness: Yellow & Green (2012)”

baroness - blue record

Baroness: Blue Record (2009)

Baroness rightly became metal and indie darlings after their Relapse debut, and Blue Record, their 2009 follow-up earned even more accolades.  So why do I have such a hard time getting entry into its many, many strengths?  After giving it a few more listens the past few days, I think I have the answer.  It still doesn’t top Red Album for me, but I can really see this as the album (or record) where the band finally carve out their real identity, one of passion and pain and a heart that strives for light. Continue reading “Baroness: Blue Record (2009)”