Blood Fire Death
Released in 1988, Blood Fire Death became Bathory's movement both into harsher faster and thrashier material, and also into much more epic and heavy material. When listening to this you can hear this as both a transitional record and also a perfect snapshot of a band at the height of their powers, before changing their image and music to attain a much higher goal.
Blood Fire Death is construed as 8 hymns to the war and destructive elements of man. (The intro "Odens Ride Over Nordland" has nothing to do with this concept and is just a good intro to the song "A Fine Day to Die"). Each song is brutal and evil and fits the brutal lyrics and concept perfectly. "A Fine Day to Die" is a call to death, to fight and die, and could easily be called a "viking" war song, but really is just a "war song" of any age. "The Golden Walls of Heaven" is the only hold-over (lyrically) from previous records like Under the Sign of the Black Mark, being a semi-satanic song, with such lovely lyrics like "cumming on the (golden) throne of god" (which was often used by Quorthon as an example of the lyrics he was trying to move away from on Blood on Ice and Hammerheart). "Pace'till death" is the only song on here which I think is rather absurd in the lyrics, but it also fits the destructive element, being about someone who must go fast all the time until they die an early death.
"Holocaust" is about just that; a nuclear war, and the final end to this putrid race known as man. There is little of any sadness contained in here, and the template for the total misanthropy of a band like Craft is created. "For all those who died" is next, and is a bit more mid-paced than all songs since "A Fine Day to Die" (which was slower and very heavy). This song is obviously about all those who have died fighting. "Dies Irae" is one of the true highlights on here, musically it is excellent near-thrash and in the lyrics it is very excellent about a kind of oath to either "Satan" or possibly an old god, to kill all humans and put the world to flame. This will be echoed from now on constantly in black metal. To finish the album off is "Blood Fire Death" which is again a very heavy (featuring acoustic guitars) track, which is perhaps the highlight on here, and should be worshipped by any fan of viking metal; though there aren't any vikings mentioned in particular, it is the spirit that counts (and this is full of the viking spirit). This is fairly close to what will become Hammerheart.
This is a record about death and violence, and it also happens to be one of the best records I own. Though I don't perfer it to Hammerheart (which will forever remains as my favorite Viking Metal album) I do this album is truely excellent and any fan of A:Viking Metal B:Black Metal or C:Thrash should go out and find this as soon as possible.
1: Odens Ride over Nordland
2: A Fine Day to Die
3: The Golden Walls of Heaven
4: Pace'till Death
6: For all Those Who Died
7: Dies Irae
8: Blood Fire Death
Recorded at HeavenShore Studios Stockholm Sweden.