Sound — 10
Blood Fire Death, the fourth release of the highly influential band Bathory, could be considered by many as the most important black metal album ever created. I personally would agree with this opinion, as the sound displayed in this album has been used by many important black metal bands following it, such as Emperor. However unlike some albums which are important within genres, this one has not been outdone by any black metal band after it. For a black metal album, Blood fire death displays everything that is needed in the genre. Firstly you have the signature black metal guitar tone. So this means a very distorted, trebly tone. So if you can't stand this very raw sounding guitar tone then this album isn't for you. But I do feel that it adds to the overall aggression of the album. The riffs are catchy, raw, heavy and some have a very epic feeling about them. Especially the intro riff in A fine Day to Die, it's so simple but it creates such an atmosphere. That's another thing that this album has that not many black metal bands can boast, the atmosphere. Just listen to the first two tracks (Odens ride over Nordland and a fine day to die) and the title track to see what I mean. The production on this album is a big step up from previous albums, although it's not as clear as many of today's bands everything can be heard and it maintains a very raw, almost thrashy sound. Overall the sound of this album is great for an early black metal release and the songwriting displayed is excellent!
Lyrics — 9
The vocal styles on this album are your typical black metal rasp, so again if you dislike this vocal style then it'll be hard to appreciate the album as it is used pretty much all throughout it. However on the song A fine day to die Quorthon uses his clean vocals, which almost sound like chants. Although not the best vocals ever they fit the song perfectly, giving a haunting feeling to the song. This album also marks the change of lyrical themes. The satanic lyrics to be found on earlier releases are gone and in place of them are lyrics based on vikings and other aspects of Norse Mythology. For me this is a big improvement as satanic lyrics get boring and to be quite honest are just stupid. Also at the time of this album, viking lyrics in metal had (as far as I'm aware) not been used. These lyrics are not only an improvement but when took a step further on Bathory's next release Hammerheart created the genre of Viking metal.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall this album is probably the most impressive in Bathory's discography and is certaintly the most influential. To truly appreciate this album it needs to be listened to from start to finish. But if I had to pick the most impressive song from it I'd have to say a fine day to die, but all the tracks are great!