Anyone interested in the origins of black metal will love this. While “Bathory” is not the “first black metal album” as some suggest – Quorthon (Tomas Forsberg) was obviously influenced by Venom, and possibly the first Slayer album also – this album undoubtedly inspired many of the more recent black metal bands (Satyricon, etc.). Quorthon wrote this album when he was 18 years old, and he recorded it himself at “Heavenshore Studios”(a garage) in 36 hours; not surprisingly, the music and lyrics are somewhat basic, and the sound quality is a bit rough (especially the vocals on some tracks). Don’t let this deter you, though; this is great stuff. In my opinion the final song, “War”, is a bit weak, but the other 7 songs and the intro (which is a bit too long) are excellent. The songs are for the most part up-tempo, but not ridiculously fast like some black metal bands. Most of the songs sound at least somewhat different, which I find very impressive coming from a 19 year old songwriter. Albums on which all of the songs are played at the same speed bore me; the somewhat slower “Raise the Dead” (not the old Venom song) is a nice change of pace. The lyrics? Pretty basic stuff, but on a groundbreaking album like this, that can be easily overlooked. Hey, how many black metal albums have great lyrics anyway?