Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Save us from the wrath of the northmen
Paul Lawrence | Australia | 07/26/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Bathory made their name via some of the blackest bile ever recorded, beyond metal to something more infernal. They certainly pushed boundaries and were also quite obviously not quite right in the head bless 'em. Main man Quorthon chose his name because it was hard to pronounce and people mucking it up would stop him from getting a big head - well at least that was one of his explanatory stories. Like I said, not quite right upstairs....
Well Quorthon seems to have been pretty much the entire band at this point and his style and vision are stamped all over this release. It should be noted that in Quorthons liner notes that he states the lengthy gestation period of this material - from being written in '88 and '89 to being finally mixed in '96.
But enough of the history lesson then - what's on the disc! Well nothing as heavy as some of Bathorys prior releases. And this is a concept album - the synopsis of the story is;
# Cliched small boy sees village wiped out. A la Conan the Barbarian
# Cliched boy lives in forest - remembering that closeness to nature etc was a regular motif of Scandinavian extreme metal. Not a la Spinal Tap and Stonehenge relics.
# Cliched boy meets old mystic dude. Kinda like Karate Kid or maybe Quorthons vision of some Scandinavian Viking Obi Wan Kenobi.
# Enter inevitable magic sword along with babble about prophecies, mighty steeds and a magic lake and keeping mean spirited gods happy.
# After suitable adventures the bad guy is slain yea verily and forsooth.
Kinda looks like the plot of every other self important 'epic' concept album huh? Well that's cos it is. Though at least Bathory did it in one album unlike Rhapsody who went on and on with. Dodgy concept aside this isn't a bad album. From the awesome cover art that directly relates to the story to Quorthons informative liner notes this was a well thought out project, exuding confidence and a purity of mission.
The musical problems are the quite average production qualities. Bathory and their ilk were well known for this but seriously, your supposed to grow up at some stage. Much of the riffing is dull though it cuts nicely on some tracks, such as One Eyed Old Man and The Lake. A plethora of bells and whistles and other studio tricks are thrown in when appropriate but the vocals are so darn unexpressive. And they sound like they were sung in one studio while the actual recording equipment was in the studio down the hall.
This was a good idea and could really have broadened the bands appeal but it just doesn't live up to the packaging."
Makes Me Want To Raid A Village......And My Wife!!
Stanley Runk | Camp North Pines | 01/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Blood On Ice is a viking themed album that Quorthon began in 89 and shelved until fan interest built up and he finally went back, tweaked it, and released it. It's a great thing he did coz few albums conjure images of the snowy Nordic wasteland like this. You almost feel cold listening to it! Usually heavy metal bands that use wintery fantasy/barbarian imagery tend to fall into either the Black metal or Power metal categories. Bathory is neither, yet will most likely appeal to fans of both. For those unfamiliar with Bathory's "viking" era, it tends to be of a heavy mid-paced sound. Even the "fast" songs here are still more or less mid-paced. Now don't go mistaking mid-paced for boring, coz this album is anything but. This isn't extremely complex and technical music, so if you've been spoiled by countless Prog/Power metal bands, you might be thrown for a loop. It's very epic with alot of "aaaaaaaaaaaaah", "ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh" type choir background vocals(I hope you can see where I'm coming from with that rather generic description). Lots of sound effects of galloping horses, running water, birds, even the sound of boots crunching through snow. The production is very raw and rough sounding as it is on every Bathory album(it's pretty much his trademark sound). Normally this could be a major complaint of an album, but in Bathory's case, it works the exact opposite and enhances the album immensely. I guess my only complaint about the raw production is that Quorthon's vocals tend to get a bit muffled and buried in the mix. Though he's using clean vocals, you need the lyric booklet to understand all he's saying. Speaking of the lyrics, Blood On Ice is a concept album. It's kind of a cliched story of a man seeking revenge for the slaughter of his village, but Quorthon adds some cool touches. One example is when the hero prepares for his battle with a creature that can't be looked upon, he has to remove his eyes and throw them in a magic lake that will grant him some kind of mystical second sight. Normally these kinds of lyrics and themes come off as extremely corny in the hands of many Power and Black metal bands, but Quorthon has a way with words. Not to mention that the songs are so damn catchy and memorable. In the cd booklet, Quorthon writes about the conditions under which this album was recorded and they're anything but epic and majestic. It's amazing he got this sound under such conditions coz you'd swear he recorded this album on top of some mountain during a blizzard. It makes for great listening, especially for this time of year(this time of year being January. It's about 8 billion below zero here as of this writing....perfect!). Very, very, very highly recommended for those who love metal, fantasy/barbarian/viking stuff, or if you're like me, a lunatic Beastmaster fan. If you like this, Bathory's Hammerheart, Nordland, Nordland II and Twilight of the Gods are also in the same vein and also excellent. It's a sad thing that Quorthon died so young, but at least he left us with some memorable and original music."