Unquestionably the most influential Black Metal record of all time; vision, density, variety, atmosphere, spontaneity, mystique, and an incredible set of songs that perfectly stand the test of time. Take the thunderous ‘Woman of Dark Desires’, the crawling ‘Call from the Grave’ and the furious ‘Equimanthorn’. These alone could provide the blueprints for an entire genre, but all are outshined by the majestic ‘Enter the Eternal Fire’; Bathory’s first epic and the single most important moment in the history of Black Metal.
Full title ’Under The Sign Of The Black Mark’. 1986 release for Scandinavian black metal act. Nine tracks including, ’Nocturnal Obeisance’, ’Massacre’, ’Woman of Dark Desires’ & ’Call from the Grave’.
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This is a great primitive black metal album. Quorthon’s way of writing simplistic but ultra-fast guitar riffs hovering over an insistent drum beat manages to have an hypnotic effect on the listener. This guy really know how to make technical inaptitude an advantage, fully exploiting the repetitiveness of the song to make an impact of doom and darkness. His anguished croak is also one of the finest voice in black metal, successfully conveying the distress, sadness and fury of the music. Full speed trashers like “Massacre”, “Equimanthorn”, “chariots of fire” and “…of doom” are very energic and a full display of raging fury, while remaining very memorable. Mid tempo songs like “call from the grave”, “woman of dark desires”, “13 candles” and “enter the eternal fire” creates a successful hypnotic mood of darkness and despair. This album is a masterpiece!
Think of your favorite Black metal vocalist, album or band. There is a very good chance that Bathory inspired them. This was one of the first “real” Black Metal album’s and so many years later, it is still one of the best. Between Quorthon’s dark lyrics and throat ripping (incredible as well) vocals. That alone would make the album worth a BM fan’s purchase. The drums are what you would exspect from Bathory, having ok production on them but keeping a really raw sound to them. The guitar work is also raw but a little more technical than the BM that would be released in the few years followed. The type of song range from the truly dark “Woman of Dark Desires” and “Enter the Eternal Fire” to songs which are short amounts of chaos “Chariots of Fire” and songs like “Equimanthorn” which has elements of both. All in all, this a great classic Black Metal album. It is my second favorite Bathory album behind only “Blood, Fire Death” Enjoy.
I am a newcomer to Bathory. I rank 5 stars here for honestly being one of the nastiest, skull-splitting brutal, clanking loud pieces of recorded music I have ever heard. The vocals are just plain scary. The music sounds like welded steel slaughter house machinery caked in dried blood and running on top gear. This album is that freakish weird insect under the rock that you picked up playing as a kid. It startles you initially and then you want to go back and look at it carefully again and again. At a loud volume this album rattles dental work and revisits ice hockey concussions. It’s like being checked on the ice without a helmet by Cromagnon Man.
I wish I had gotten into Bathory sooner. When I think of all the time I wasted listen to bands with less talent and vision, I utterly shudder. I own two copies of this one: a CD and an autographed vinyl that is one of my most prized possessions. Listening to today’s extreme/black metal, it is quite apparent just what a trailblazer and talented artist Quorthon was (rest in peace, brother). This album not only delivers a punch with its buzz-saw riffs and pulsating rhythms, but with its moody atmospherics as well. The atmosphere is at its most bone-chilling during the intro of “Call From the Grave” where you hear a noise that may very well be a dead man scratching on the lid of his coffin, and on “13 Candles”, where eerie whispers of some evil invocation lead into a terrific mid-paced story of demonic offspring. Bathory was considered to just be a Venom knock-off in the early days, but it was the sheer brutality and unfathomable darkness of records like this that crushed such dismissals. Whether you are a newcomer to the extreme metal scene or a long-time member, you owe it to yourself to own this album. It hits hard with a mesmerizing fury that will leave you yearning for more. Despite being nearly twenty years old, this album holds it own against and often surpasses the best of what today’s black metal scene has to offer. This is a true masterpiece of the genre, a gem taken from the primordial stew of early black metal that set the foundation for a whole generation of artists. The aggression and atmosphere of this record set the stage for the majestic “viking metal” that Bathory would delve into in the years to come, but the power of this recording is undeniable and irreproachable. Don’t ask questions: just get it.