Bathory - The Return... Picture-LP
For 1985, this is among the most ugly yet beautiful piece of filthy, blackened brilliance to be put together, and is rivaled chiefly by what preceded and what followed by the same band. It’s an almost perfect manifesto for just about every straight up, non-hyphenated album under the black metal moniker to be released. What it lacks in theatrics (something that would be addressed on the next album), it makes up for in sheer, unfettered aggression. By today’s standards, it comes off as archaic and still heavily bound by pre-death metal practices, but it’s difficult to imagine how something like this came across at the height of glam rock’s reign on the airwaves. For any black or thrash metal enthusiast, historically oriented or otherwise, this is a must have.