Bathory - Nordland part 1
Black Mark
Epic Viking Metal
10 songs (59'18)
Release year: 2002
Bathory, Black Mark
Reviewed by Jack
Major event
I was on a plane the other day on my trip to Kenya and I had taken with me Bathory’s Hammerheart which is my favorite album of theirs so far along with Blood Fire Death. Have you ever listened to this great epic viking metal stuff while flying on a sea of clouds with the sun rising from the west ? That’s a hell of a great experience and this is where Bathory’s epic music takes all its splendor. Hammerheart is then one of my two all time favorite viking metal album, and neither Twilight Of The Gods nor Blood On Ice are half as good as this one. Hammerheart shows the best Bathory came up with as far as epic viking metal stuff, while Blood Fire Death shows the best side of Bathory’s raging black metal.

Nordland part 1 is Bathory’s eleventh studio album and the logical follow up to Hammerheart. To me Twilight Of The Gods is more of an attempt by Quothorn to pay tribute to his favorite classical author than the follow up to its predecessor, whereas Blood On Ice is a concept album or a project Quothorn has worked on over the years and finally finalized in 1996 due to wide popular demand. And I will not give you my opinion about Requiem, Octagon and Destroyer Of World as all three show a poor attempt by the artist to come back to his black metal roots in order to please the ego of some loyal fans and that also show his lack of creativity at the time.

This new album is part one of the Nordland saga. It will be followed by Nordland part 2 in February 2003. Nordland part 1 contains eight songs, which are tied in with each other, plus an intro and an outro. Here and there you will find some references to earlier epic Bathory songs, like people riding to Asa Bay or a battle on a Fine Day To Die. This album has indeed a lot in common with Hammerheart. There are a lot of similarities between this new album and Hammerheart and I sometimes wonder if the two weren’t actually recorded at the same time (Forever Dark Woods take over where One Rode To Asa Bay actually left). Unfortunately the surprise effect isn’t there anymore. Quothorn’s voice sounds broken and the music repeats itself constantly. This album lacks the excitement of the band’s previous epic viking metal releases.

I have listened to this recording about ten times so far, but I still can’t come up with a fair review as it seems to me that Bathory are releasing this album about ten years too late. Indeed in the meantime new genres have emerged within the metal community, and Viking Metal has developed itself into new horizons with bands such as Amon Amarth, Forlon, Finntroll, Thyrfing or Falkenbach. If I had had the chance to take this album with on my latest plane trip, maybe I would have experienced this album differently and I would have been able to come up with a fairer review, but unfortunately all this sounds to me as a boring trip revisiting Bathory’s history as if the band had just put out another volume of the Jubileum best of album. I am however not saying this album is not good, because it’s probably a great album, but as I said above to me it just comes about ten years too late.

Killing Songs :
Nordland, Forever Dark Woods, Broken Swords, Great Hall Awaits A Fallen Bro
Jack quoted 80 / 100
Jeff quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Bathory that we have reviewed:
Bathory - Blood On Ice reviewed by Ben and quoted 93 / 100
Bathory - Bathory reviewed by Jared and quoted CLASSIC
Bathory - Under the Sign of the Black Mark reviewed by Jared and quoted CLASSIC
Bathory - Blood Fire Death reviewed by Tyler and quoted CLASSIC
Bathory - Hammerheart reviewed by Jeff and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 8 reviews click here
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