Bathory - Hammerheart review



Reviewer:
8.8

539 users:
8.83
Band: Bathory
Album: Hammerheart
Release date: April 1990


01. Shores In Flames
02. Valhalla
03. Baptised In Fire And Ice
04. Father To Son
05. Song To Hall Up High
06. Home Of Once Brave
07. One Rode To Asa Bay
08. Outro


Often considered the first true Viking metal album, to this day it continues to be the standard by which all other albums in this sub-genre are judged.

The music is grand, emotional, and epic while at the same time being very simple and straight-forward. It captures the essence of its subject material in a way that was unprecedented in heavy metal in the late 80's. And what I mean by that is even without the lyrics (dripping in Viking lore and Norse mythology as they are), you still get a huge sense of cold-shores, swift raids and smoke filled mead halls.

The lyrics, of course, add to that atmosphere. And these are incredibly well written lyrics I might add. I must point out One Rode to Asa Bay as the greatest example of the albums ability to mix huge sounding music with thoughtful, well read lyrics. Two emotions really resonate in this song. One, a tremendous sense of pride, and the other a sense of quiet anger. Basically when listening to Quorthon shout throughout this song you begin to understand that here is a man who is really mad, at both the forceful rape of his once proud culture by foreign powers and religions as well as the apathy shown by so many of his ancestors as their way of life was essentially destroyed.

This theme of subtle anger can be felt throughout the album.

The production is a negative aspect of the album. Some would argue that the low value of said production is what gives the album its sense of atmosphere, and that a cleaner, crisper production would have removed the emotion that makes it such a great piece of music. However many modern bands who take so much influence from this album (ie. Doomsword, Tyr, Einherjer, early Vintersorg etc.) benefit greatly from cleaner production and I believe it could only have improved Hammerheart.

Quorthon's voice may turn some possible fans away as well. He doesn't really earn marks for singing talent. I for one think his voice perfectly fits the style of music.

In conclusion this album while not flawless was a tremendous influence on many well respected bands and still stands among the best albums ever produced in a sub-genre it helped define.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Production: 6

Written by Gordon Freeman | 24.08.2008


 


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments

Comments: 15   Visited by: 263 users
25.08.2008 - 14:29
Katatronik
Angel of Lust
Agree with you man, good review!
One of my favourite "viking" albums of all time... One Rode to Asa Bay is a masterpiece IMO!
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"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear,
and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."
Howard Phillips Lovecraft
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28.08.2008 - 22:44
Elio
Red Nightmare
This album is kickass! It's a good review since I agree for a lot of things, including the voice of Quorthon being perfect for this.
Yes, the production could be a weak point but it gives atmosphere, so it's not a problem.
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IntoPlighT said: "Slipknot is 15 years old how the fuck is that Nu metal?"

BEST. QUOTE. EVER.
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30.08.2008 - 01:44
pdepmcp
geat review.
masterpiece.
Its impact on epic/viking music is so high that IMO it deserves a 9 in a review (and of course a 10 in album rating )
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02.09.2008 - 22:29
Gordon Freeman
Written by pdepmcp on 30.08.2008 at 01:44

geat review.
masterpiece.
Its impact on epic/viking music is so high that IMO it deserves a 9 in a review (and of course a 10 in album rating )


I deliberated just giving it a 10 because I really do love this album. But good reviews are meant to be as unbiased as possible.

And for this particular album I just don't agree with the production creates the atmosphere. This album would have been greatly improved by better quality production.
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God Dammit Doug! Take off your hat, Night Moves is playing. Don't be a prick man!

http://www.last.fm/user/Axl_The_Viking
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14.09.2008 - 15:29
Lucas
Mr. Noise
I remember that when I was young (well, a couple of years ago haha. probably 14) I wanted this album so bad that I scrubbed the toilets at home once a week for some money for a couple of weeks straight so I could buy this album.
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SLUDGE. DOOM. DEATH. Wait, what?

"The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." - Barack Obama
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14.09.2008 - 17:37
FOOCK Nam
Written by Lucas on 14.09.2008 at 15:29

I remember that when I was young (well, a couple of years ago haha. probably 14) I wanted this album so bad that I scrubbed the toilets at home once a week for some money for a couple of weeks straight so I could buy this album.


lol, "cheer" for your high spirit longed for music, or for metal
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01.03.2009 - 17:24
MétalNoir
Fils du Lys
Quorthon's voice sucks, the production is shit and the rythm is too slow to my taste, but this album deserves respect, although if it was out of its context, I would probably just call it shit... I mean, if some unknown band release Hammerheart today, it would be swiftly forgotten. But since it's a milestone in folk metal history, it's a "masterpiece". Anyway, I don't really like the album myself. Shores In Flames is good enough, though.
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Notre destinée n'est pas encore tracée....
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18.03.2009 - 10:40
ms68
Written by MétalNoir on 01.03.2009 at 17:24

Quorthon's voice sucks, the production is shit and the rythm is too slow to my taste, but this album deserves respect, although if it was out of its context, I would probably just call it shit... I mean, if some unknown band release Hammerheart today, it would be swiftly forgotten. But since it's a milestone in folk metal history, it's a "masterpiece". Anyway, I don't really like the album myself. Shores In Flames is good enough, though.

if u say something like that about metallica's albums i'm agree with you. but i think this album deserves to be in metalstorm's top 10. Quorthon in this album deserves to be announced as the best vocalist of metal.
and when you're listening to this album u should consider this is 1990's album. in 1990 none of the bands that u rated their albums 10 even formed. all of them inspired from this album. for example burzum (one of the most important establishers of Norwegian Black Metal) said he has most of his inspirations from this album. this is why u find this boring. because after Quorthon a lot of bands copied this. but no one can copy his vocal!!!! i advice u to listen to this masterpiece moreand more. it has something that you'll never find anywhere else.
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The more you eat, the more you shit
No matter what you eat, it all turns to shit
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15.04.2009 - 08:47
Uirapuru
Liver Failure
Written by ms68 on 18.03.2009 at 10:40

Written by MétalNoir on 01.03.2009 at 17:24

Quorthon's voice sucks, the production is shit and the rythm is too slow to my taste, but this album deserves respect, although if it was out of its context, I would probably just call it shit... I mean, if some unknown band release Hammerheart today, it would be swiftly forgotten. But since it's a milestone in folk metal history, it's a "masterpiece". Anyway, I don't really like the album myself. Shores In Flames is good enough, though.

if u say something like that about metallica's albums i'm agree with you. but i think this album deserves to be in metalstorm's top 10. Quorthon in this album deserves to be announced as the best vocalist of metal.
and when you're listening to this album u should consider this is 1990's album. in 1990 none of the bands that u rated their albums 10 even formed. all of them inspired from this album. for example burzum (one of the most important establishers of Norwegian Black Metal) said he has most of his inspirations from this album. this is why u find this boring. because after Quorthon a lot of bands copied this. but no one can copy his vocal!!!! i advice u to listen to this masterpiece moreand more. it has something that you'll never find anywhere else.


Well... you have already said everything.
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member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
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05.05.2011 - 08:26
Void Eater
Crunkcore Fan
Disagree about the production; I'm with the camp saying that the raw production enhances the album. And indeed it is a might fine album. It's on par with Falknebach's debut for my favorite viking metal album.
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06.05.2011 - 23:58
Cuca Beludo
Account deleted
I don't think this is the bathory masterpiece... there are so many good songs that i can't just say the best album, so... i rated Hammerheart,Twilight Of The Gods and Blood On Ice with a 10!
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12.05.2011 - 14:51
Cryzpin
Written by ms68 on 18.03.2009 at 10:40

Quorthon in this album deserves to be announced as the best vocalist of metal.

Omg, be real people! No matter how much you worship Quorthon, no matter how good songwriter he was, his voice sucks sooo much. Powerless and too often out of tune. "Best vocalist"? Got some dirt in the ears?
Anyway, Blood fire death was the peak effort.
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04.02.2013 - 13:52
COLinquisition
Listening now, Best best best best best
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15.02.2016 - 22:22
Bad English
Masterchief
Imo its best produced album from the band if we look from 1th to this not what comes and I agry about Åsa by , great lyrics, lyrics is part of music, I always appreciate good written lyrics and few of us to. Really 1th Bathory album , others before were just some pre Viking
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Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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16.02.2016 - 02:54
Gordon Freeman
Written by Bad English on 15.02.2016 at 22:22

Really 1th Bathory album , others before were just some pre Viking


You're discounting just how good Blood Fire Death was. A landmark album and a major milestone towards the creation of black metal. Unless of course, you don't care for black metal. Then I can see why you'd think Hammerheart the first good Bathory album.

For the record, I really enjoy the first three Bathory albums as well.
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God Dammit Doug! Take off your hat, Night Moves is playing. Don't be a prick man!

http://www.last.fm/user/Axl_The_Viking
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