Metal Insider contributor Anthony Maisano is listening to a different metal album that was released on that day every day this year. Today, it’s Bathory’s Nordland II, which was released on March 31, 2003.
This is Bathory’s last studio album, from their Viking metal days. And the amazing part? Quorthon played EVERYTHING on it. The riffs are catchy, and the atmosphere to this album is top notch. This album gives off the Norse feeling better than a lot of bands today do. The backing vocal chanting adds so much to the atmosphere of the album. Every song is very creative, and is insanely fresh. Songs like “Vinland” and “Flash of the Silverhammer” also keep some awesome riffs that throw back to Quorthon’s black metal years. I was worried about how good the longer songs would be, and while some weren’t as great, “The Messenger” was worth every minute.
I think Quorthon’s vocals fit better when the band was playing black metal. He just doesn’t have the range or power needed to bring the Norse themes home with his clean singing. A better vocalist could have made this album legendary! The production on the album is also not on par for the year 2003. It’s certainly better than their black metal days, but it’s still pretty bad for the year 2003, when plenty of bands, even very small ones, had pretty clear production. The vocals and rhythm guitar are pretty buried on most tracks.
Favorite Tracks: “Blooded Shore,” “Flash of the Silverhammer,” “The Land,” “The Messenger,” “Vinland,”
This was a really, really good album. Any complaints I have about it are things that would have made it near-perfect, rather than just very good. But rest assure. It still IS that good. If the production was better, and Quorthon brought in a better vocalist, I could listen to this album again and again, but even as is, it’s still a really great album. This album should be a map for anyone looking to do Norse-themed metal. Take what this album did, and fix the minor problems. Don’t pass this album up. It does so much right.