Influenced by the likes of Motorhead and taking their sound to another level, Bathory created an exciting type of new heavy metal back in 1982. They blended the aggro-thrashings of heavy metal with garage punk, and added a terrifying type of anguished screams over the wall of sound… And this, ladies and gentleman, is what began black metal. While many hair bands took to singing about partying, women, drugs, and booze, Quorthon looked to much darker things of Satanism, the occult, and sacrificial rituals, later to be the blueprint for countless black metal bands.
The music here is simple, fast, heavy-hitting, and shows almost no technical merits except for an occasional solo. The drums focus on basic ride-snare patterns, the guitars churn out simple, yet catchy and effective rhythms based on power chords, and the bass seems almost non-existant. But this release must have made one heck of an impression years ago, especially with Quorthon’s anguished, raspy screams forefronting the sound, which was unlike anything ever seen in metal at the time. His screams are a tad like Motorhead here, but would later develop on proceeding albums. The production is dirty, but holds a raw essence of the music, and perfectly suits it.
The songs here really don’t have any differentiating features, and all follow basic verse-chorus structures played at hyper-speed. But this album has spirit and ambition, which would inspire a few young lads throughout the world to pick up their instruments and make music even more savage than this. To say the least, if you consider youself a metalhead in the least, this album is essential, along with all other Bathory albums up to “Twilight of the Gods”, also worth checking out.