Essentially a companion release for the first, nearly impeccable installment from a year earlier, Jubileum, Vol. 2
covers the same crucial span of six albums and eight revolutionary years that established Sweden's Bathory
as iconic godfathers of the Scandinavian black and Viking metal movements. Also taking the same approach as its predecessor, the set avoids chronological sequencing in order to sprinkle Bathory
highlights in seemingly arbitrary fashion. The resulting hodgepodge of metal classics makes for fascinating comparisons between the band's unbelievably primitive early efforts and the astoundingly refined achievements that followed. Among the former, primordial poundings like "Possessed," "Raise the Dead," and "Total Destruction" were as simple as they were influential for the black metal masses that followed. Likewise, advanced Norse metal epics such as "One Rode to Asa Bay," "Shores in Flames," and "Twilight of the Gods" left as indelible a mark as their predecessors for future generations to build upon and improve -- painfully out-of-tune vocals and all. And somewhere between the two strains, one finds the utterly manic, Slayer
-like thrashing of fan favorite "The Golden Walls of Heaven." Finally, precious rarities and unreleased tracks are interspersed among these well-known standards -- namely the amusing outtake "Burning Leather," the previously compilation-only "The Return of the Darkness and Evil," and, perhaps best of all, the first demo treasure "Die in Fire." All in all, Jubileum, Vol. 2
-- like its even more essential precursor -- stands as a necessary bookend to any serious extreme metal collection.