Bathory - Blood Fire Death review


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Band: Bathory
Album: Blood Fire Death
Release date: October 1988

01. Odens Ride Over Nordland
02. A Fine Day To Die
03. The Golden Walls Of Heaven
04. Pace 'Till Death
05. Holocaust
06. For All Those Who Died
07. Dies Irae
08. Blood Fire Death
09. Outro

Bathory, a legend among extreme metallers and especially Black metal fans, without doubt one of the most important bands in Black metal history. Period. "Bathory", "The Return", "Under The Sign Of The Black Mark" and "Hammerheart": they have all left their mark on the face of metal. Another undeniable classic from the warrior mind of Quorthon, leader of Bathory, is the fourth album named "Blood Fire Death".

On "Blood Fire Death" the Black metal sound has almost completely gone in favour of a Thrash metal approach, whereas the first three albums got further and further away from Thrash and more into the direction of Black metal. Perhaps Quorthon wanted to get closer to his roots? Or perhaps he simply felt he was now skilled enough to pull something like this off.

Whatever he wanted, the truth is that "Blood Fire Death" has turned out to be a wholly amazing album and definitely worthy of the title "classic". What makes this album so special is not the exceptional musicianship or beauty, but rather the incredible raw and charming edge to it. Quorthon was never a great guitar player, and it shows, but it is exactly that sloppiness which makes this so charming. The old-school production and sound, the awesomely fast neck-breakers of riffs, the typical cymbal (ab)use, everything about this screams old school! Just listening to it gives me a huge shot of adrenaline and the urge to go out and trash something.

Quorthon had his own special brand of vocals which still sets him apart from many vocalists to this very day, as there are only few out there who can lay as much passion in their extreme vocals as he did. He nails the angry, ripping vocals common in old Thrash, but really shines when he sings a little slower and cleaner. When he does that, he maintains his raw vibrato and sounds very passionate and – oh, how I loathe this word and how it is abused these days – epic. Listen to how he screams "BLOOD FIRE DEATH" and tell me you can stay calmly seated. Ha. Not a chance.

Yet even this album has a couple of flaws that mustn't be forgotten. The flaws that bother me are not those music-technically, as I said, they add greatly to the charm and appeal of this album. What most people tend to look over is that all of the songs on "Blood Fire Death" have the annoying tendency to sound very similar to each other. Yes, I did just critique your favourite album, but don't get too angry over it. It is only a minor annoyance on an otherwise great and stunning masterpiece of an album.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 7


Written on 13.11.2008 by If you're interested in extreme, often emotional and underground music, check out my reviews. I retired from reviewing, but I really used to be into that stuff.

Guest review by
Head of Metal
"You are walking out of here with that," my metal friend commanded, nodding towards the copy of this album with a five-dollar price tag in my hand. "You won't be sorry."

I had come into the black metal genre rather later than I had gotten into other genres, and although I like it now, it was a bit of an acquired taste for me personally. With such a profusion of bands and very few universally agreed-upon classics, I was looking for a good place to start. Luckily, even the most elitist black metaller would have no issue starting with the legendary Bathory and this incredible classic.

published 22.01.2014 | Comments (3)


Comments: 10   Visited by: 297 users
14.11.2008 - 14:06
Angel of Lust
Maybe their best album in the "black era", and my favourite Bathory work ever... very good review!

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear,
and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."
Howard Phillips Lovecraft
16.11.2008 - 14:51
Red Nightmare
Indeed a great album, and good review too, even if I think the vote is a bit too high
IntoPlighT said: "Slipknot is 15 years old how the fuck is that Nu metal?"

17.11.2008 - 22:47
It's a great review, but the album in my opinion diserves 8. Quorthon... the creator of viking metal!
15.04.2009 - 07:00
A great album, really. A bit less purely BM than "Under The Sign Of The Black Mark" and more epic (in a good sense- epic doesn't mean cheesy here). Definitely a classic, an important album in the history of extreme metal.
"Why would we fear death, when life is so much more frightening?"
15.04.2009 - 08:43
Liver Failure
The first time i've listened to ''A Fine day to die'' was in a Emperor cover. But the original version is perfect.

In this work the Viking culture influences begin to show off, Quorthon will manage to succeed in the pure black and in the Black/viking. Legend.

member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
19.09.2009 - 01:29
Sorry if this seems like spam, but I have a question.

Is the booklet for the cd just 1 sheet with the cover on the front and just black on the inside? I'm just worried that the one I ordered from amazon might be a bootleg or something, lol
19.09.2009 - 01:44
I have the original Black Mark version remastered.
The booklet is only one sheet folded in two. You have the cover, then if you open the sheet, you have two pages with lyrics in white on a black back. The backcover displays a list of all Bathory's releases.

If you have the Kraze version, sorry to tell you but you got the shitty sounding version.
"Why would we fear death, when life is so much more frightening?"
17.04.2011 - 04:09
Account deleted
Yes, Quorthon had an awesome voice! Screaming or singing slow.

Listen to "Enter The Eternal Fire" and "Song To Hall Up High"
21.06.2011 - 12:01
M C Vice
Fuck Yeah!
"Another day, another Doug."
"I'll fight you on one condition. That you lower your nipples."
" 'Tis a lie! Thy backside is whole and ungobbled, thou ungrateful whelp!"
06.02.2016 - 21:47
Bad English
Well I never thought about his guitar skills, I know band did not played live , those days it worked out well, money came to pocket , but I like bands what don't play live... I prefer CD's Vinyls, much better quality
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing

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