Bathory

Jubileum, Vol. 1

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Along with its nearly as seminal companion release (Vol. 2), Jubileum, Vol. 1 features the absolute highlights from the career of Sweden's trailblazing Bathory -- a band not only responsible for launching Scandinavia's black metal scene, but for inventing the often intersecting subgenre of Viking metal. Focusing on the band's first six albums, Jubileum, Vol. 1 avoids the chronological order approach and proceeds to mix and match its tracks at will, but this is perhaps for the better given Bathory's wide range of metallic styles. Getting things started are two premiere recordings that, for one reason or another, were left off those classic mid-period albums. The instrumental "Rider at the Gate of Dawn" from 1987 was possibly a little bit ahead of its time, while 1989's "Crawl to Your Cross," although recorded a mere two years later, was conversely behind in terms of subject matter. Paired here, they work just great. "Sacrifice," Bathory's extremely Venom-derived (down to the Cronos-like grunts) submission to 1984's career-launching compilation Scandinavian Metal Attack is next, and from here on out "black to Viking" metal evolution really takes over, with the transitional "Dies Irae" setting up the suitably dramatic "Through Blood by Thunder." Another rare demo recording, 1984's brutally basic "You Don't Move Me (I Don't Give a Fuck)," then precedes what many consider "ground zero" of the Viking metal movement: Blood Fire Death's opening tandem of "Oden's Ride Over Nordland" and "A Fine Day to Die" -- both still as awesome to the ears as the day they were first presented to the world in 1988. The second half of Jubileum, Vol. 1 carries on in similar fashion, alternating vivid examples of utmost primitivism like first and second album favorites "War" and "Sadist" with third LP refinements like "Enter the Eternal Fire" and "Equimanthorn," and, of course, very mature offerings from the subsequent trio of Viking metal albums like "Song to Hall Up High," "Under the Runes," and "Blood Fire Death." In summary, pretty much everything that should be here is, and what isn't can be found on the nearly as indispensable Vol. 2 -- get them both.

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