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Bathory

Bathory
August 23, 2006, 08:09:36 PM
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Bathory - Twilight of the Gods

No greater proof of the inspiration of Richard Wagner in metal music can be found than this later Bathory album which, as if in an attempt to summarize the theatrical and existential style of metal music introduced with "The Return," can only fairly be described as a rock opera... it re-infuses into Bathory's later sound a 1960s epic rock style, and gives free reign to the desire for melody which manifests itself in Quorthon's vocal ambitions and acoustic playing. Starting with a slow drone rising out of silence, the album opens with an epic title track containing some of the most profoundly honest and miserable lyrics in metal: instead of hinting at the apocalypse, they sing of its survival and its effect on the spirit of those red-blooded humans who still remain, like "South of Heaven" as crafted by Knut Hamsun. Then the song begins after a battery of intro made from clean and distorted guitars harmonizing around a combative rhythm; it is rock music adapted to the metal style with an intent of making a grand presentation, as if to tackle the underlying issues of life instead of the distractions and politics with which rock first creates and then fills a void.

Like his inspiration the Beatles, Quorthon creates fugues by layering melodies against one another and then, as if using a tone row, adjusts his position on that progression and reverses it where appropriate to lift his audience out of the mood he has created. The effect is brilliant: measured, balanced, natural and yet breathtakingly beautiful, without the neurosis of rock or the immaturity of heavy metal. It is essentially poetic, not complaining like Ani DiFranco or glossing over reality in favor of aesthetic comfort like Dave Matthews, but finding a mythology and emotion for a time and making it more than a statement (x=y; "All Republicans are fascists"; I like soup) a tunnelling within a concept, a Pynchonian knotting into, to the point where it becomes experience -- the sum of all data in impressions, the finding of curves in a forest of points -- instead of disconnected sentences. Like life itself it is a unity of all ideas into the expression of a moment which must be lived and not studied, and in that is high art.

Much has been made of the jagged guitar solos Quorthon favors in his later works, but here they function as ambience: their goal is not to craft a line of phrase but to saturate atmosphere with the jinks and twists that show us the context of different notes in that harmonic background. Clearly, like the later albums from Slayer and much of the best black metal, this album is meant to be taken as a piece with one gigantic introductory song and a powerful closer and everything in-between as commentary on those ideas or sub-movements to a conjectural symphony which could enclose them, and thus not every song is as strong as the initial effort but all serve a place in position on this opus. It is easy to see why Bathory went into a semi-retirement after this album; it is one of the most expressive and mature pieces of mainstream art ever created.


From an old review. This band did so much: partially invented death/black metal (along with Hellhammer and Sodom, later Sepultura and Slayer and Master and Possessed, even later Morbid Angel and Massacra and Necrovore), introduced many of the Viking and Nietzschean concepts it needed, took it high-brow when appropriate.

Yeah, the later albums were shit, but every band raises its tombstone at some point :)

Re: Bathory
August 23, 2006, 08:14:47 PM
I love the harmony and the way he use musical instrument of the heavy rock he later played (because it's not really metal...).

But still, TOTG is the one of the best album of metal\rock ever to be produce, and my favorite among all of them.

The classical influence on the Nordland are cool too, and the folk\classical guitar song ''Ring of Gold'' is damn great, bringing romantiscm in what could have been ''love'' to the ancient Sacandinavian.

EDIT :

But it's sure that it is not comparable to the older works, for it's impact and creativity, and that it is more ''catchy''.

Re: Bathory
August 24, 2006, 12:01:40 AM
Bathory "The Return".........is my Black Metal Bible.

STS

Re: Bathory
August 24, 2006, 04:22:18 AM
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From an old review. This band did so much: partially invented death/black metal (along with Hellhammer and Sodom, later Sepultura and Slayer and Master and Possessed, even later Morbid Angel and Massacra and Necrovore), introduced many of the Viking and Nietzschean concepts it needed, took it high-brow when appropriate.

Yeah, the later albums were shit, but every band raises its tombstone at some point :)


I’m glad you brought this up.

I think Hellhammer, Possessed and kin are important influences on the black metal and death metal scene- not because they were 'good' but because many bands utilized the very best qualities from their music and reformed it into something “better”.

Bathory, as a predecessor, was in fact superior to (much of) it’s progeny as a transcendental music band for it’s time when most metal bands in this genre were closer to punk or hardcore than classical. As 'Viking and Nietzschean concepts' were noted also, I fear without them black metal would have remained a brain-dead punk rock and hardcore phenomenon.

Re: Bathory
August 24, 2006, 12:38:54 PM
I think what Bathory achieved was incredible, with albums like The Return..., Under the sign of the Black Mark and Blood Fire Death being simply classic. It is understandable how Quorthon lapsed after TOTG, due to reasons already mentioned. But i feel that he redeemed himself somewhat with the Nordland double album, despite being more catchy and having better production he managed to recreate some of the magic he created on Hammerheart and TOTG.

Re: Bathory
August 25, 2006, 04:58:16 AM
What I find incredible is that at the time of the original releases, and I recall this quite vividly, Bathory were largely dismissed as a fucking Joke! Can you imagine?
The production and playing were singled out as amaturish, sloppy etc. yet I find it far superior to much that came in the early second BM wave(and much of the punk business that was seeping into metal then)...including certain overrated Norwegians whose ultra lo-fi( er, uh..."Grim") efforts I find mostly unlistenable to the day. Quorthon lives and should rightly be lionized!
Bathory is criminally underrated outside Black Metal circles.  

Re: Bathory
August 25, 2006, 06:01:40 AM
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What I find incredible is that at the time of the original releases, and I recall this quite vividly, Bathory were largely dismissed as a fucking Joke! Can you imagine?
The production and playing were singled out as amaturish, sloppy etc. yet I find it far superior to much that came in the early second BM wave(and much of the punk business that was seeping into metal then)...including certain overrated Norwegians whose ultra lo-fi( er, uh..."Grim") efforts I find mostly unlistenable to the day. Quorthon lives and should rightly be lionized!
Bathory is criminally underrated outside Black Metal circles.  


It's always a fucking joke when mainstream oriented "professional" nerds can't understand the real hardcore attitude (Venom, Bathory, ...). There will always be the moronic mass of people who want their "speed" albums to be polished, ear friendly, avantgarde, technical, creative & talented, and want their speed metal guitar heroes to wear feathered hats & play mozart. The original Bathory was never supposed to satisfy wimps and comfort nerds. Of course i'ts a joke when precious little people can't take the fucking aggressive hardcore assfuck that Bathory brought with the nastiest satanic image.

Re: Bathory
August 25, 2006, 07:47:42 AM
If I want to listen to a Venom tribute band I`ll listen to Bulldozer before Bathory. I find them  massively overhyped, like most of the Swedish groups. As for Possessed, I can`t see what they were doing that was so different to Exodus and Slayer who were around first, and were, more importantly, better.

Re: Bathory
August 25, 2006, 09:08:46 AM
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If I want to listen to a Venom tribute band I`ll listen to Bulldozer before Bathory. I find them  massively overhyped, like most of the Swedish groups. As for Possessed, I can`t see what they were doing that was so different to Exodus and Slayer who were around first, and were, more importantly, better.


You have to be kidding with this revisionist bullshit.  Where does BATHORY even acknowledge VENOM after "The Return?"  That you are holding up BULLDOZER as a more worthy band in any capacity is completely laughable.

Re: Bathory
August 25, 2006, 09:35:26 AM
I read an interview with Quorthon where he actually denies even HEARING Venom until after the release of their first album.  I find that laughable more than anything else.

Viriatus

Re: Bathory
August 25, 2006, 05:26:20 PM
In Bathory's official site, Quorthon says his primary inspiration was oi! punk bands like G.B.H. not Venom.

Re: Bathory
August 25, 2006, 05:44:51 PM
Quorthon couldn't prove or disprove his initial influences. I guess the thing to ask is why wouldn't Quorthon cite Venom as an influence if they infact were? Selfish reasons to lift his status in the metal community? I don't know. I don't think it matters really.

STS

Re: Bathory
August 26, 2006, 12:55:28 AM
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Quorthon couldn't prove or disprove his initial influences. I guess the thing to ask is why wouldn't Quorthon cite Venom as an influence if they infact were? Selfish reasons to lift his status in the metal community? I don't know. I don't think it matters really.


I think what’s important is that a beautiful flower can emerge from a fecal heap as Bathory did when it transcended bands like Venom.


Vajra

Re: Bathory
August 30, 2006, 10:42:09 AM
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http://www.anus.com/metal/about/interviews/quorthon


It's a great read but colour the interviewer differently!