Bathory - The Return...

Production: Raw basement studio.

Review: Jagged instantiation of elemental conflict in racing powerchord riffs fuels the antagonism Bathory channel through phrases varied over nearly unceasing mechanistic percussion, providing a basis for music with both less conventional structure and more melodic coherence than previous efforts in extreme music. Churning relentlessness of rhythm changing emphasis and shape within consistent tempo drives music forward, while the combination of riff ambience and vocal texture creates a space for recombinance.

Roaring into life with abrupt and explosive changes, beginnings and fades, the elemental music here composed of standard form power chords implies layers in its structural abuttments to open phrase cycles of verse and chorus in the minimalist, angular hardcore style that Venom adapted but applied less artfully. Slayer-inspired tremelo riffing and notions of song structure conforming only to the poetic expressions of theme shape to each song, placed into the linear confines of atmospheric blast drumming, forms the bulk of the work while moments of revelation that present change or conclusion to each song capture the heavy metal ideal of epic reduction and closure.


1. Revelation of Doom (3:27)
2. Total Destruction (3:51)
3. Born for Burning (5:14)
4. The Wind of Mayhem (3:13)
5. Bestial Lust (2:42)
6. Possessed (2:42)
7. The Rite of Darkness (2:06)
8. Reap of Evil (3:29)
9. Son of the Damned (2:48)
10. Sadist (3:00)
11. The Return of the Darkness and Evil (3:49)
12. Outro (:26)

Length: 36:49

Bathory - The Return...: Black Metal 1985 Bathory

Copyright © 1985 Black Mark

Consistent dynamic exists mainly for listenability and not omnipotently, varying at key moments to lower intensities for the purpose of building new continuities of tone and rhythm from which theme can arise, changing with segments of song to sequence mood to another cadence of human motion. Much as Possessed bury melody within ascendant grinding riff conflict, Bathory carefully inlay melodic lead riffing of deconstructed variants of the shifting motif. Howled vocals in the black metal rasp are dramatic and alter presence in music with rhythm and timbre, while it is the lyrical voice of guitar changing in riffs that advances the story of each song.

Inspired by the Beatles, Quorthon at first made music in the style of Venom and Slayer but here branched into his own style, putting nihilistic riffing into grander song structure that approaches post-rock complexity and often achieves it. The result is a foundation of black metal that surpassed original influences and generated an aesthetic basis that much of modern black metal (Havohej, Darkthrone, Immortal, Burzum) embraced with vigor.