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Under The Sign Of The Black Mark

Under One Flag (1987)
Rating: 9.1/10

Yes, Quorthon’s on the march again with another outing of classic death metal. True, the last Bathory album The Return… (1985) was a little disappointing compared with the mighty 1984 self-titled debut, but Under The Sign Of The Black Mark sees Quorthon back at his menacing best.

There’s the out ’n’ out thrash of ‘Massacre’ and ‘Chariots Of Fire’, the unbelievable pounding heaviness of ‘13 Candles’ and the doom laden brilliance of ‘Call From The Grave’ and ‘Enter The Eternal Fire’ with its intelligent melodic touches that push Bathory head and shoulders above all competition.

‘Woman Of Dark Desires’ features a distinctive melodic keyboard backing. But don’t worry, we’re not talking AOR here, this is Bathory and it just gives that extra touch of class to the Slayer-like grinding assault.

‘Equimanthorn’ is typical Bathory; slow ultra-heavy riffing that gradually picks up pace before exploding into a lethal thrash attack signaled by a growling roar from Quorthon.

The final cut ‘Of Doom’ goes straight for the throat and climaxes a superb album. Now, what about some live shows?

Bernard Doe

Review taken from Metal Forces, Issue 23 (1987)