BATHORY — Hammerheart

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BATHORY - Hammerheart cover
4.14 | 48 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1990

Filed under Viking Metal
By BATHORY

Tracklist

1. Shores in Flames (11:09)
2. Valhalla (9:34)
3. Baptised in Fire and Ice (7:58)
4. Father to Son (6:29)
5. Song to Hall Up High (2:30)
6. Home of Once Brave (6:45)
7. One Rode to Asa Bay (10:24)
8. [untitled] (0:52)

Total Time: 55:44

Line-up/Musicians

- Quorthon / Vocals, Guitar
- Kothaar / Bass
- Vvornth / Drums

About this release

Label: Noise Records
Release date: April 16th, 1990

Re-released by Black Mark Production in 1993.

Also re-released in 2003, this version combines "Song to Hall Up High" and "Home of Once Brave" to a same track.

Thanks to Vehemency, IMPF2112, adg211288 for the updates

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BATHORY HAMMERHEART reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Warthur
Originally, Bathory had recorded Blood On Ice as a followup to Blood Fire Death, but on reflection Quorthon was concerned that the loyal Bathory fanbase wouldn't embrace that album's folky-thrashy-operatic brand of epic storytelling metal. So instead the band released Hammerheart, which took a similar approach to songwriting but added masses of black metal riffs to create an incredible wall of sound, and a revolutionary album which served as the blueprint for much Viking metal to come. (In particular, Enslaved's career has been based on first learning to match the sound of Hammerheart, and then taking its progressive inclinations still further.)

Leaning more and more towards long, epic tracks based around the sagas of the pagan North and more or less abandoning the band's Satanic past, Hammerheart completes the sonic transformation begun on Blood Fire Death in admirable form and is the second masterpiece from Bathory's classic Viking metal era.
Wilytank
As if it wasn't enough to give us the first true taste of black metal, Quorthon went ahead and gave us viking metal as well. The result? Another influential album by this crafted by this glorious gentleman: Hammerheart.

If you're not getting the epic feeling as "Shores In Flames", then you don't know the meaning of the term. That song alone hooked me on that album, but that wasn't all. The "whoa-oh-oh-oh" in the pre-choruses of "Valhalla" and Quorthon's vox hitting the high notes (so to speak) of the pre-choruses of "From Father to Son" are awesome.

Then we have the legendary "One Rode to Asa Bay", Bathory's only music video. What a way to end this album! It's a really somber viking ballad about the Christianization of the North. Quorthon couldn't have chosen a better way to end this album.

I'm really sad Bathory never played live. All of these songs would sound epic played live. Especially in open air.

Members reviews

SilentScream213
Bathory (Quorthon) is the type of band that is always innovating. They managed to invent 2 completely original styles of metal, Black Metal with 1984’s Bathory, and Viking Metal 6 years later on Hammerheart. They toyed with this style on 88’s Blood Fire Death, and finally the genre came into fruition here.

While this album is amazingly unique for its time, I do find a slight step down from Blood Fire Death, which is odd because the bookend Viking Metal tracks of that album were my favorite. It turns out, slower paced epic Viking Metal doesn’t feel as powerful without a ton of Blackened Thrash pummeling you in between. Hammerheart has some truly epic songs that amaze (One Rode to Asa Bay is a masterpiece) but the majority of the material doesn’t leave me in the same awe as say, Blood Fire Death or A Fine Day to Die. Since this album is much more uplifting and much less dark, the riffs aren’t really evil or sinister; rather, they are just there. In all honesty, I can’t remember any notable riffs off the album, as it puts much more emphasis on atmosphere and Quorthon’s vocals. The rhythm section is slow and monotonous, but it does create a martial mood befitting the themes.

Off of those notes though, this is still a fantastic album, and Quorthon’s vocals are actually quite awesome. He’s evolved from a pure Black Metal shriek to what sounds like a haggard yell very capable of hitting and holding notes, which was necessary to make the jump from Black to Viking Metal. The atmosphere is effective and the backing vocals provide a great sense of grandeur to the whole package. The songs individually are not always Bathory’s greatest, but the album as a whole works very well due to these connecting themes.

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