Bathory Nordland I

After the disappointment of 2001's Destroyer Of Worlds, it's nice to find one of the originals back in fine form. Although perhaps a step backwards towards the sound that he was trying to achieve in the late '80s/early '90s, Bathory mainstay Quorthon has produced his finest offering since 1991's Twilight Of The Gods. The sound is bombastic - Quorthon has filled his songs with booming marching drums, choir-like backing vocals and enough odes to Odin to fill the quota for the next few years. He even takes a nice turn into folk/psyche territory with the acoustic track "Ring Of Gold," which could be an outtake from the soundtrack to the English horror classic The Wicker Man. The album isn't perfect, however, as the production is murky throughout, especially in the low end. The drums and bass are in fact so muddy at times that they break up when played loud. Maybe next time our man Q can bring in a real producer and give all the instruments a better mix. (Black Mark)