Album of the Day: Bathory – Requiem

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Label: Black Mark Production

Everyone surely knows how great the first six albums by Bathory are – the way that the first trio of albums pretty much defined proto-black metal, and how the second set of three were instrumental in the development of pagan and viking metal. But the releases following Twilight of the Gods, up until the final Nordland albums, are often over-looked. It’s understandable – they hardly represent Bathory at their best. Yet Requiem is worth revisiting, with its attempts to return to Bathory’s thrash roots resulting in an album that is vicious and lawless – even if its best moments are heavily indebted to other bands.

In partiular, Requiem feels like an attempt to capture the chaos and black magic of early German and Brazilian thrash. Given that, at the time of its release in 1994, there was little market for such sounds – with the German thrash bands Requiem so recalls (chiefly Sodom and Kreator) having changed their own style, and the Brazilian hordes not possessing the underground cult appeal they do today – and that it could hardly be called innovative in the same that Bathory’s previous records were, it was inevitable that Requiem would come to be overshadowed by its predecessors. Yet despite this, the manic thrash contained on the album is undeniably solid, even if it does contain a lot of lyrics that could almost be read as a parody of blasphemous metal. Not a classic, by any stretch – but an album well worth spending an hour or two with.

Requiem can be streamed on Spotify, with vinyl and CD versions available at Discogs and Amazon.

 

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