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Classic Review: Bathory - Twilight of the Gods
Twilight of the Gods

Label: Black Mark Productions
Year released: 1991
Duration: 56:52
Tracks: 7
Genre: Viking Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: November 23, 2007
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Twilight of the Gods

Rated 4.5/5 (90%) (86 Votes)

I call this, and not Blood On Ice, Bathory's overlooked classic album. After the transitional Blood Fire Death Quorthon produced the much-lauded Hammerheart, inventing Viking Metal with a single album. That disc is the one that gets all the press, but I think this one, which followed it a year later, is the best of the two.

The style at work here should come as no surprise, but the quality of the music really surpasses anything Bathory had done before. At first spin you will be tempted to overlook this, as the production is not as heavy or visceral as on Hammerheart, and as such this album sounds a bit more mellow than you would expect from a Bathory album. There are no real fast songs on here, and the whole rolls along at an epic midpaced march that has led some to label this as a 'light' album. The songs, however, give this the lie, as they are some of the finest among Bathory's Viking period compositions. The title track is maybe Bathory's best epic, followed by the equally monstrous "Through Blood By Thunder" and "Blood And Iron" (the most commonly available re-release actually lumps these three tracks together into one huge track, for unknown reasons). "Under The Runes" contains one of Quorthon's best riffs ever, and the closing ballad (!) is not only one of his strongest vocal performances, but one of his most moving and emotional songs.

In the long shadow cast by Blood Fire Death and Hammerheart this album often is overlooked entirely, and that is unjust. Those who dismiss it as inferior or less impressive than the preceding albums due to surface gloss such as production are missing one of Quorthon's finest moments as a songwriter and singer, not to mention what is perhaps his most deeply felt and serious lyrical work. I cannot listen to the song "Hammerheart" without getting choked up, and that is a level of emotion most other Viking Metal albums can only dream of. Powerful and singular. Essential.

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