Bathory - Blood Fire Death
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.

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

Band profile: Bathory
Album: Blood Fire Death


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.
More reviews by Lucas ››

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)


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Katatronik - 14.11.2008 at 14:06  
Maybe their best album in the "black era", and my favourite Bathory work ever... very good review!
Elio - 16.11.2008 at 14:51  
Indeed a great album, and good review too, even if I think the vote is a bit too high
DanielViking - 17.11.2008 at 22:47  
It's a great review, but the album in my opinion diserves 8. Quorthon... the creator of viking metal!
Lord_Regnier - 15.04.2009 at 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.
Uirapuru - 15.04.2009 at 08:43  
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.
danielllewis - 19.09.2009 at 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
Lord_Regnier - 19.09.2009 at 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.
JeffreyAgente - 17.04.2011 at 04:09  
Yes, Quorthon had an awesome voice! Screaming or singing slow.

Listen to "Enter The Eternal Fire" and "Song To Hall Up High"
M C Vice - 21.06.2011 at 12:01  
Fuck Yeah!
Bad English - 06.02.2016 at 21:47  
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

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