|Genre(s)||Black metal, viking metal, thrash metal|
|Label(s)||Black Mark Productions|
|Associated Acts||Satanism, Evil (old), Norse Mythology, Society, Death|
Bathory was a Swedish extreme metal band, formed in Vällingby by Quorthon (Thomas Forsberg) in 1983. It is regarded as a pioneer of both black metal and Viking metal. Quorthon remained the main songwriter and member of Bathory for more than two decades. Bathory disbanded after Quorthon's death in 2004. The band is named after the infamous Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory.
Early years (1980s) Edit
Bathory formed in Vällingby in 1983. Quorthon (then known as Ace, after Ace Frehley of KISS), a seventeen-year-old guitarist, was joined by the bass guitarist Fredrik Melander and the drummer Jonas Åkerlund. According to Quorthon, he came up with the name after a visit to the London Dungeon, although Jonas states that it was taken from the Venom song "Countess Bathory". Their first recording deal came that same year, when Quorthon managed to secure the consent of Tyfon Grammofon's boss (Quorthon's father Börje Forsberg, although Quorthon himself spread rumors to keep the audience unaware of this) to record two tracks for the compilation Scandinavian Metal Attack in 1984. The tracks gained unexpected attention from fans. Soon afterward, Tyfon Grammofon contacted Quorthon and asked him to record a full-length album. The band considered several names before settling on Bathory, including Nosferatu, Natas, Mephisto, Elizabeth Bathory and Countess Bathory.
Although Venom's Black Metal, released in 1982, was the first record to coin the term, it was Bathory's early albums, featuring Satanic lyrics, low-fi production and an inhuman vocal style, that defined the genre. Many fans and reviewers have claimed Venom was an influence on Bathory; however, Quorthon has said in an interview with Kick Ass magazine in 1985 that he had not listened to Venom until after the first Bathory album was released. He has also stated the band's early work was influenced primarily by Black Sabbath, Motörhead and G. B. H.
Bathory's 1984 first album, Bathory, the subsequent releases The Return (1985) and Under the Sign of the Black Mark (1987), are now regarded as major influences on the Norwegian bands which extended black metal's musical progression and popularity in the beginning of the 1990s.
Bathory ceased performing live in 1985, with Quorthon viewing organizing concerts as too much hassle.
Quorthon adopted a significantly different approach with the album Blood Fire Death (1988). On some of the tracks, the pace was slowed down to allow for a more epic songwriting approach, said to be an influence on, or initiation of, the extreme metal sub-genre Viking metal. The Viking theme was also first introduced on this album. However, most of the musical elements of black metal were still present.
Viking metal years (1990s, 2000s) Edit
With the 1990 release of Hammerheart, Bathory had changed style towards less aggressive, more epic and atmospheric music; the lyrics dealt with themes about Vikings and Norse mythology. Mistakenly said to be influenced by the American power metal band Manowar, Hammerheart was a landmark album that "formally introduced" to the metal world the "archetypical Viking metal album." The style of Hammerheart was further demonstrated on the subsequent Twilight of the Gods (1991) and Blood on Ice (recorded in 1989 but completed in 1996).
With Requiem (1994) and Octagon (1995), Bathory changed style once more, this time turning to retro-thrash in the vein of 1980s Bay Area thrash bands. However, the 2000 release Destroyer of Worlds was a transitional release that lead to a full return to the Viking metal style with the releases of Nordland I (2001) and Nordland II (2003). These were supposed to be the first two volumes of a four-album saga, but Quorthon did not live long enough to complete it.
Quorthon's death Edit
In June 2004, Quorthon was found dead in his home, apparently due to heart failure. He was known to suffer from heart problems in the past. On 3 June 2006, Black Mark Records released a box set in tribute to Quorthon, containing three CDs of his favorite Bathory and Quorthon songs, a 176 page booklet, a DVD with his long-form video for "One Rode to Asa Bay", an interview and some rare promo footage and a poster.
Several Bathory tribute albums have been compiled by black metal artists, one of which was titled In Conspiracy with Satan: A Tribute to Bathory.
Band members Edit
- Final lineup
- Quorthon (Thomas Börje Forsberg) – vocals, guitar, bass guitar, drums (1983–2004)
- Previous members
- The Animal – vocals (1983)
- Freddan/Hanoi (Fredrik Melander) – bass guitar (1983–1984)
- Vans McBurger (Jonas Åkerlund) – drums (1983–1984)
- Ribban – bass guitar (1984)
- Stefan Larsson – drums (1984–1986)
- Adde – bass guitar (1985)
- Paul Pålle Lundburg – drums (1986–1987)
- Kothaar – bass guitar (1988–1996)
- Vvornth – drums (1988–1996)
Studio albums Edit
- Bathory (1984)
- The Return...... (1985)
- Under the Sign of the Black Mark (1987)
- Blood Fire Death (1988)
- Hammerheart (1990)
- Twilight of the Gods (1991)
- Requiem (1994)
- Octagon (1995)
- Blood on Ice (1996)
- Destroyer of Worlds (2001)
- Nordland I (2002)
- Nordland II (2003)
Compilation albums Edit
- Jubileum Volume I (1992)
- Jubileum Volume II (1993)
- Jubileum Volume III (1998)
- Katalog (2001)
- In Memory of Quorthon (2006)