Bathory – Under the Sign of the Black Mark – 1987

Under the Sign of the Black Mark

Under the Sign of the Black Mark is the third album from the legendary Bathory. It starts to slowly incorporate symphonic elements. For example, Woman of Dark Desires apparently is about the woman whom Bathory took its name from – Erzsébet Báthory. There are also considerably more melodies hidden within the brutal arrangements than on the previous record. It’s not quite as wild all the time as last time around. It’s a delight when the album varies with some quieter songs where the drums aren’t super fast all the time. I definitely think this is a step in the right direction, and it’s not difficult to hear how influential Bathory became as an inspiration for future black metal bands when listening to Under the Sign of the Black Mark. What one could wish for, of course, is better sound quality, because it’s dreadful at times. Perhaps also a slightly clearer production when it comes to the clarity of the vocals. There’s a bit too much growling and hissing for my taste, even though it’s definitely a step in the right direction compared to the previous album – The Return of Darkness and Evil!

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Tommy Snöberg Söderberg

Autodidact film scholar and music-loving thinker who reads the occasional book.

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