I got this CD with high hopes: after all, Nordland I
was a masterpiece and I was confident that Quorthon
could make a come-back. Furthermore, there was a certain solemnity about this album not present on any other albums.
It was the fact that this would be Quorthon
's last offering to Bathory
: his final, unfinished masterpiece.
Yes, it was unfinished because the Nordland
saga originally was going to be a four-parter: and all we have is half of what he was going to make.
The album kicks off with one of the longest intros in the history of Bathory
, followed by a nice epic, heavy song. Another slow-paced, keyboard-laded piece is what's next, followed by the high-point of this album: the song Vinland.
The rest of the album moves along both sluggishly slow and startlingly fast, with the slow "The Land
" and the "Death
of a Northern Son" - which feels a lot like another "Gods of Thunder
" from the Blood on Ice
album; but the otherwise familiar track suddenly cuts into an acoustic interlude. Enjoy it, for its one of two times you'll ever hear the acoustic guitar on this album. Another sad keyboard melody begins track seven, "The Messenger
", which both is a variation of a part of the main theme from the "Fanfare" intro as well as a chilling reminder of what we know this album to represent. "Flash of the Silver
" is a decent, mid-tempo piece with a good, galloping drum-beat.
of Sun" is the last metal song on the album; at twelve minutes and twenty-two seconds, it is the second-longest Bathory
song save for "Twilight
of the Gods". It pauses only briefly from its slow, chugging riffs for a few seconds of chanting along to Quorthon
's guitar melody before returning for a regrettably unsatisfying conclusion. The outro doesn't do much else than remind us of the sad, terrible truth: this is the last Bathory
I give this album 17 out of 20 because it doesn't stand up to its predecessor. The songs stood out more, whereas on here they seem to just sound very similar. One big low point of this album is the arrangement of the instruments: as usual, the quality is a mess, but here one can easily tell that the vocals have been pushed towards the back of the mix, where one must strain to hear anything over the pounding drum machine. The lack of a full acoustic song also plays havoc on the album: rather than going from fast to slow then soft, then back to fast, it just lags on from medium, slow, fast and back again.
Without a strong conclusion, Nordland I
I really is a sad way to end the career of an underrated musician, who molded the face of the black metal scene as well as begot the sub-genre of viking metal.