BATHORY‘s “Nordland II” was released in 2003, and it is the second part of a two-album set released by the legendary Swedish black metal band. The album features a more epic and atmospheric sound than its predecessor “Nordland I,” with a greater emphasis on orchestration and a more polished production. While “Nordland I” was more straightforward and aggressive, “Nordland II” takes a more epic and atmospheric approach, with a greater emphasis on orchestration and more polished production.
Regarding the albums’ histories, band-leader Quorthon eventually officially started running all the instruments and BATHORY fully became a one-man band. When the 2000s hit, he had a grand idea for a 4-album epic on Norse mythology. Unfortunately, he was only able to get halfway through before passing away from a heart attack in 2004. In 2003, Quorthon released “Nordland II,” which would ultimately become his last album.
The album opens with “Fanfare,” a short instrumental piece that sets the stage for an epic journey, not only in the song, but for the entire album. The track feels grandiose and majestic, with a sense of anticipation, almost a perfect opener. The next track, “Blooded Shore,” is a thunderous assault of black metal riffs and pounding drums, with lyrics that evoke images of Viking warriors battling on a stormy beach.
One of the standout tracks on the album is “Sea Wolf,” which features a driving rhythm and a soaring, melodic chorus that is sure to get stuck in your head. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of a fierce and proud seafarer, ready to do battle with any foe. Another highlight of “Nordland II” is “The Land,” which begins with a haunting, atmospheric intro before launching into a powerful and majestic riff that perfectly captures the beauty and majesty of the Nordic landscape. Quorthon’s voice and the lyrics are equally evocative, describing the land as a place of both harshness and beauty, where ancient spirits still roam.
“Death and Resurrection of a Northern Son” is another epic track, with a slow, mournful intro that gives way to a driving, mid-tempo rhythm. The feeling of this song is one of tragedy and loss, but also of the rebirth and redemption of a fallen warrior who rises again, reborn in fire and blood. “The Messenger” is a short, haunting instrumental track with a feeling of foreboding and mystery, leading to the next track, “Flash of the Silverhammer,” another standout song featuring a melancholic acoustic guitar intro that gives way to a triumphant, galloping riff. The lyrics tell the story of a legendary hammer, wielded by a mighty warrior who strikes fear into the hearts of his enemies.
The title track, “Nordland,” is a haunting and atmospheric piece that features spoken-word narration and lush orchestration. The song tells a story of the Nordic lands and their history. It is filled with sweeping melodies, grand orchestrations, and epic choirs, evoking a feeling of pride and reverence for Quorthon‘s Nordic heritage. A listener can feel the natural beauty of the Nordic lands, painting a vivid picture of the landscape. It is a fitting tribute to the legacy of BATHORY and its impact on the metal genre.
One of the strengths of “Nordland II” is the way that it balances aggression and intensity with more introspective and atmospheric moments. Overall, “Nordland II” is a powerful and captivating album that showcases the band’s signature blend of black metal, Viking metal, and folk influences, with evocative lyrics that explore themes of battle, mythology, and the beauty and harshness of nature. BATHORY‘s influence and music are remarkable, having helped to shape and define black metal. Many iconic bands, such as CRADLE OF FILTH, MAYHEM, and MARDUK, owe their existence to BATHORY. Even today, the band’s legacy continues to inspire and influence musicians. In conclusion, “Nordland II” is a must-listen for fans of black metal, Viking metal, and folk metal.
Written by Peter Jerman
- Blooded Shore
- Sea Wolf
- The Land
- Death and Resurrection of a Northern Son
- The Messenger
- Flash of the Silverhammer
- The Wheel of Sun
Quorthon – all instruments
Black Mark Production