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 the first Viking metal album of all time, Hammerheart by Bathory. The album was released on April 16th, 199o.

This was the first album Quorthon made that was solely based on Norse mythology, making it the first real Viking metal album. The songs are all epic stories, with most of them being at least 7 minutes long. Usually more. The guitar sound is gritty, and muffled, as homage to his black metal stuff. It accents the really crisp, clean acoustic guitar sound really well. The atmosphere is heavy on this one, and it really makes the Norse themes shine. The choir of vocals is so strong, and adds to the epicness. Quorthon is also never short of good riffs either, and most are a happy blend of his new style and his old, traditional black metal style.

Once again, Quorthon could have really used a singer. When he’s trying to be really melodic, it sounds pretty good, but when he has to sing parts in his clean voice that are a bit heavier, it seriously sounds like he’s straining. A great singer could have made a really good album amazing. The drums, while not the worst production I’ve heard from Bathory are still quite low in the mix.

Favorite Tracks: “Baptised in Fire and Ice,” “Valhalla,” “Father to Son.”

This is another great Bathory release. The riffs are so strong, and it’s got an amazing mix of epic choirs, awesome atmosphere, and those really superb riffs. Once again, I find Quorthon’s black metal vocals to be much better than his Viking metal ones. I prefer the Nordland albums to this one, but not by much. This is a great album with a lot to offer.