Bathory (1983-2004): a Black Metal band from Stockholm, Sweden.
t all started when Quorthon (Real Name: Thomas Börje Forsberg; R.I.P. 2004), originally recording with Kothaar and Vvornth, recorded a track of a Swedish various artist compilation called Swedish Metal Attack. He/they signed to the 'Tyfon' label ('Under One Flag' to the rest of us). Quorthon, looking much like a leather clad Blackie Lawless (even more-so than Lawless himself) was the creative power behind Bathory operating almost as if he were a soloist and he quickly went to work and established himself as the 'godfather' of the black metal and satanic metal movement that was beginning to grow. He is often cited as the father of so-called 'Viking metal'. Bathory would become one of the founding influences (along with Venom) in the genre, especially with the guttural vocals. Over his career he would release a set of cult classic albums.
Quorthon (originally nicknamed Black Spade, then Ace Shoot, adopted the Quorthon name found in a list of demons) formed Bathory in 1983 when he was seventeen years old. His albums had a rough quality which many black metal bands would later emulate, for it eventually came to characterize this genre of music. He recorded in a garage known as Heavenshore Studios, with mechanics working around him and neighbors mowing their lawns. The style of Bathory has changed many times over its tenure, starting with old school thrash metal, all the way to outright black metal, even atmospheric black metal that many Norwegian band in particular later adopted, and back again.
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During the early part of his career he/they stewed away quietly on the self-titled release in 1984, coming out more as a Venom influenced death metal than anything else. The album and all his follow-ups would standardize the growl vocals now a staple feature in the Death and Black genres. The follow-ups didn't stop though, with the aptly titled The Return (1985), Under The Sign Of The Black Mark (1987) and Blood Fire Death (1988) bringing up the rear.
Almost as if to predict the demand for Viking mythology and language by his contemporaries, Quorthon jumped the gun and did it first with his 1990 Hammerheart release. This release was revolutionary, not just for him but for the now emerging black metal scene as a whole. It set many of the rules that are followed to this day.
Following on the concept album pattern Quorthon would, both solo and as Bathory, release a string of opus' including Twilight Of The Gods (1992), Jubileum Vol. I & II (1992 & 1994 respectively), which were simply compilations of his works, Album (1994), Requium (1994), Octagon (1995), the brilliant Blood On Ice (1996) as well as Purity Of Essence (1997) and Jubelium Volume III (1998; another compilation of his work). All of the albums would be of the death and black metal style except his solo effort Album that was more of the Alice In Chains grunge style. He would be quiet for a while then return with Destroyer Of Worlds in 2001 and the compilation best of album Katalog (2001). Nordland (2002), with the follow-up Nordland II followed in 2003; these albums were 2 of an intended 4 album set of 'Viking' style metal that was never completed. It was unlikely that any more recordings concerning Bathory would emerge there-after, because founding member Quorthon was found dead in his home in Stockholm, Sweden on June 7, 2004 due to an apparent heart failure - he had a history of heart problems; he was 39 years old.
A tribute album was released in 2006 titled, In Memory of Quorthon by the record label; it would be the last recording under either Quorthon or the Bathory name.
Footnote: The name "Bathory" comes from: The Báthory (Hun.) (Pol. Batory), a Hungarian aristocratic family of significant influence in late medieval Eastern Europe with two members (Father Stephen Bathory(1477-1534) as governor, and son Stephen Bathory (Jr.) (1533-1586) as prince of legendary Transylvania and, afterwards, king of Poland).
Quorthon also had a self-titled side-project until his death..
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