Bathory – Twilight Of The Gods (1991) Album Review

What is with these Bathory reviews? someone asked me a while ago. Truthfully, Bathory is a band that nowadays is mostly known by some experience and more older fans of metal, or maybe by some fans that appreciate some particular metal genres. Bathory, in my opinion, deserves a place together with bands that written history in both rock and metal, bands such as, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Guns n Roses, Iron Maiden or Judas Priest.

Bathory influenced bands in 2 of the most appreciated metal genres nowadays, and maybe, two of the most extreme metal genres of all time, viking metal and black metal. I do not want to get into their black metal early days and since I recently finished reviewing Hammerheart (1990), it is only normal to continue with its follower, and much more amazing, Twilight of the Gods (1991).

Hammerheart was a great experience. Quorthon hinted in his 1988 release of his 4th album Blood Fire Death that he is going to change his playing style and switch to something a little bit more atmospheric and at a slower pace. Hammerheart was well received, well enough to have a follower that followed it pretty fast (just 1 year difference between albums, it is really a performance).

Twilight of the Gods continues the saga, so to say. Like in Hammerheart, the major themes in this album are nature, vikings, legends, myths and also the anti-christian theme was not abandoned in this one either. A person that has been listening throughout his albums might figure it out that in almost all of them, he always persecuted Christianity when he had the chance.

This album begins with such a persecution. The self titled track, Twilight of the Gods is the most longest track of this album reaching almost 13 minutes length. It is composed of a prologue that lasts for around 1 minute, the song itself, and an epilogue, which lasts again for around 1 minute. Thematically speaking, this song is the work of a genius. Going to rant a little bit about hip-hop artists: You guys should listen or at least read the lyrics of this song, this is how you can portray a realistic view of the world and in a more amazingly way. We can also feel some doom metal influences in this song.

The 2nd and 3rd track of this album, Through Blood By Thunder and Blood and Iron follow the same patter that we were used to after listening the 1st track. To be honest, they sound a little bit monotonous. The first one represents Quorthon’s view upon the world claiming that the ones that watch over us are the gods in the never ending sky and the one that chooses and writes his own destiny are not the gods, but man himself. “He with one-eye” represents a viking god, in my opinion, Oden most likely. Blood and Iron changes the theme into a battle one, it is more like a military song rather than an atmospheric song like the previous ones.

Under the Runes and To Enter Your Mountain follows a similar pattern with Blood and Iron, continuing the saga with more details. A bad thing regarding these songs is that they do not come up with new style, they sound monotonous and way too repetitive, but it wouldn’t be a Bathory album if they were any different, somehow you can overlook this because of the way the songs flow.

Bond of Blood the 6th track of the album ends the saga while the last song, the 7th track, Hammerheart (weird though, this song is not part of the first album which is self titled, rather it is part of the second one) is the resolution and also the conclusion of this album, ending it like it began, in an atmospheric way. Hammerheart is more of an hymn rather than a song, a hymn dedicated to the viking gods and to the viking people.

Blood Fire Death was the signal for a change of play, Hammerheart was the first experimental album in this new field but Twilight of the Gods in my opinion, serves as the best viking metal album ever made by Bathory and Quorthon, a place that could not be taken even nowadays but other bands. In my opinion, true viking metal died together with Quorthon, simply because the other bands could not reach even a quarter of the sound and style that Quorthon adopted in his works.

Overall Impression: 98/100