Quorthon is dead! One of the most creative and most important musicians of the heavy genre died at the age of 39 due to a heart sickness. Thomas Forsberg (that’s his civil name) had influenced hordes of bands, without his workings, there would be no today’s cold Black Metal as well as the heroical Viking Metal. RIP!
That’s now reason enough to review a record, which unites both worlds, aggression and epic. On the opener “A Fine Day To Die”, the harsh Black feeling of “Under The Sign Of The Black Mark” changed into more epic sounds. Turning off the devil’s music to Nordic myths and Gods. The devilish speed attacks turned into dragging, marching soundscapes, the singing was still nagging and expressional. On “The Golden Walls Of Heaven”, speediness was back again and vocally as well as musically it was rather Thrash Metal... the same Thrashing is found in “Pace ‘Till Death”. “Holocaust” starts with a killer riff and sounds like an evil marriage of old KREATOR & VENOM. “For All Those Who Died” is then again dragging and it’s very trademark BATHORY. It has this “Enter The Eternal Fire” feeling, you know?
“Dies Irae” is the fastest track on the album and kicks off with a speedy solo, the vocals have a primitive feeling on it and I feel myself reminded of the first SODOM mini concerning the atmosphere. The definitive highlight besides the opener is the ten minutes lasting epic “Blood Fire Death”, it’s dragging, haunting and very epic! This was pioneer work of Quorthon. He firstly uses his clean voice, later he used them more on “Hammerheart” and “Twilight Of The Gods”. There are surely better singers than him, but his vocals are totally cult! So, the foundation was set and the following records had no faster tracks anymore. Viking Metal was born. (Online August 25, 2004)