After the complete crash of "Octagon" and the also not really energising "Requiem" I had read with joy that Quorthon was working on new material, of which some ideas date back to the Mid-Eighties, which musically was said to be in tradition of the masterpiece "Twilight Of The Gods."
And when I held it in my hands, i was speechless, because the cover is nothing but fantastic! Kristian Wåhlin has created more than one immortal cover, but the masterpiece that is adorns "Blood On Ice" is just in-cre-dible!
Additionally "Blood On Ice" is a concept-album, which has received a pretty epic story based on the Vikings, so the conditions were set for a true classic. Well, I hate to say that it has not turned out one, only sometimes it reaches "Hammerheart" or even "Twilight Of The Gods". The unity of these albums is missing, even though the ingredients basically are the same.
Tons of epic melodies and broad arrangements caress your ears, but the sound is rougher and less clean (in a negative way) and also the mix cannot fully satisfy me (so the vocals of "One Eyed Old Man" are too much in the foreground and the sound itself is, ahem, a little rough) and even though the material is more varied (mostly in terms of speed), it just isn't as accessible and catchy as on "Twilight Of The Gods".
But still songs like the acoustic "Man Of Iron", the epic "The Lake", the driving "Gods Of Thunder Of Wind And Of Rain" or the closing mammoth-epos "The Revenge Of The Blood On Ice" show the class of BATHORY!
So, no classic, but still a really good album and even though I should not do it, half a point more for the fantastic cover!