Bathory (band)

Bathory[3] were an extreme metal group formed in Vällingby, Sweden, in 1983 named after Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory. The band's frontman and main songwriter was Quorthon (Tomas Forsberg). Considered to be one of the most influential acts in heavy metal, Bathory's first four albums are considered to be "the blueprint for Scandinavian black metal".[4] The band departed from this style on their fifth album, Hammerheart (1990), which is often cited as the first Viking metal album.[5] Bathory continued in the Viking metal style throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, although the band experimented with thrash metal on the albums Requiem (1994) and Octagon (1995). Bathory ended when Quorthon died from heart failure in 2004.

Quorthon breathing fire live
Quorthon in May 1987[1]
Background information
OriginVällingby, Sweden
Years active1983–2004
LabelsBlack Mark, Noise
Past members
  • Quorthon
  • Frederick Melander (Freddan/Hanoi)
  • Jonas Åkerlund
  • Ribban
  • Stefan Larsson
  • Adde
  • Paul Pålle Lundburg
  • Kothaar
  • Vvornth


Early years (1980s)

Bathory formed in Vällingby in 1983. Quorthon (then known as Ace, after Ace Frehley of Kiss), a 17-year-old guitarist, was joined by bass guitarist Frederick Melander and drummer Jonas Åkerlund. According to Quorthon, he settled on the name 'Bathory' after a visit to the London Dungeon, although Jonas says that it was taken from the Venom song "Countess Bathory".[6] Before settling on 'Bathory', the band considered several names; including Nosferatu, Natas, Mephisto, Elizabeth Bathory and Countess Bathory.[7] Quorthon worked part-time at the small record label Tyfon, which was owned by his father, Börje Forsberg.[6] In late 1983, the label was putting together a compilation of songs by Scandinavian metal bands.[8] However, at the last minute, one of the bands backed out. Tyfon agreed to let Bathory appear on the record as a replacement. The album, called Scandinavian Metal Attack, was released in March 1984 and was Bathory's first appearance on record.[9] Unexpectedly, the Bathory tracks drew a great deal of fan mail.[10] Soon afterward, Tyfon asked Quorthon to record a full-length album.[9] His bandmates having moved away, Quorthon recruited Rickard Bergman as bassist and Stefan Larsson as drummer. On 22 May 1984, they had their first and only rehearsal together before recording the album.[9] The debut album, Bathory, was recorded in June at Heavenshore Studio (a converted garage) in Stockholm[9] and released in October that year. Over the next four years, Bathory released a further three albums: The Return…… (1985), Under the Sign of the Black Mark (1987) and Blood Fire Death (1988).

Bathory's early work was dark, fast, heavily distorted and raw recording (lo-fi). Quorthon's vocals were harsh, high-pitched and raspy with occasional shrieks and screams. The band's lyrics focused on 'dark' topics and included anti-Christian and 'Satanic' references.[11] These traits came to define black metal[7] and the band used this style on their first four albums. Quorthon said that the band were not Satanists but used 'Satanic' references to provoke and attack Christianity. With the third and fourth albums he began "attacking Christianity from a different angle", realizing that Satanism is a "Christian product" and seeing them both as "religious hocus-pocus".[11] The term 'black metal' came from Venom's 1982 album of that name. Many fans and reviewers have claimed Venom was an influence on Bathory,[12] or even accused Bathory of copying Venom;[13][14] however, Quorthon said that the band's early work was influenced primarily by Black Sabbath, Motörhead and GBH, and that he "heard Venom for the first time in late 1984 or early 1985" and never owned a Venom album.[14] Bathory's early sound also have always been associated with Slayer but Quorthon denied being influenced by them.[15]

Bathory stopped performing live in 1985, with Quorthon viewing organizing concerts as too much hassle.[7]

Although Bathory's fourth album, Blood Fire Death (1988), largely followed in the style of the albums before it, some songs had a very different style. These songs have a much slower tempo, acoustic passages, choral background singing, and lyrics about Vikings and Norse mythology. Music critic Eduardo Rivadavia of AllMusic describes this 'epic' style as "possibly the first true example" of Viking metal.[16]

Viking metal years (1990s–2000s)

After Blood Fire Death, the band shed its early black metal style. Their fifth album, Hammerheart (1990), was the first "archetypical Viking metal album".[17] This was said to have been influenced by the American power metal band Manowar, although Quorthon described this rumour as "another total misconception".[15] A music video was made for the song "One Rode to Asa Bay". The style of Hammerheart was continued on 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 2001 release Destroyer of Worlds was a transitional release that led to a full return to the Viking metal style with the releases of Nordland I (2002) and Nordland II (2003).

Quorthon's death

In June 2004, Quorthon was found dead in his home, apparently due to heart failure.[7] 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, such as In Conspiracy with Satan - A Tribute to Bathory and Voices from Valhalla - A Tribute to Bathory. In august 2004, several members of the norwegian black metal scene gathered to perform Bathory songs in a set titled A Tribute To Quorthon at the Hole in the Sky festival in Bergen, Norway. These musicians included Abbath (Immortal), Apollyon (Aura Noir), Faust and Samoth (Emperor and Zyklon), Gaahl (Gorgoroth), Grutle Kjellson and Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved), Nocturno Culto (Darkthrone) and Satyr (Satyricon).[18]

In popular culture

The Swedish band Watain played a live tribute to Quorthon and the band Bathory at the Sweden Rock Festival 2010. The resulting recording was the limited-edition album Tonight We Raise Our Cups and Toast in Angels Blood: A Tribute to Bathory with 7 tracks, and was released on February 23, 2015. It was also released as 12" album, the latter in 1300 numbered copies with four tracks, "A Fine Day to Die" (10:48), "The Return of Darkness and Evil" (4:36), "Rite of Darkness" (2:19) and "Reaper" (2:46) on Side A and three tracks "Enter the Eternal Fire" (7:14), "Sacrifice" (4:06) and "Born for Burning" (7:11) on Side B.

The release proved very popular with Swedish public, with the limited vinyl edition reaching number 1 on the vinyl chart. The album made it also to number 2 on the national Sverigetopplistan chart, the official Swedish Albums Chart in February 2015.[19]

Band members

Final lineup
  • Quorthon (Thomas Börje Forsberg) – vocals, guitar, bass guitar, drums, keyboards, lyrics, composer (1983–2004; died 2004)
Previous members
  • Freddan/Hanoi (Frederick 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)
  • Christer Sandström – bass guitar (1986–1987)
  • Paul Pålle Lundburg – drums (1986–1987)
  • Kothaar – bass guitar (1988–1996)
  • Vvornth – drums (1988–1996)


Studio albums

Compilation albums


  1. ^ "Bathory - Under the sin". Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Essential Black Metal Listening: BATHORY Under the Sign of the Black Mark". 27 February 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  3. ^ Nelson, Dan (2008). All Known Metal Bands. McSweeney's. ISBN 978-1-932416-92-3. Bathory
  4. ^ Moynihan, Michael; Søderlind, Didrik (2003) [1998]. Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground (revised and expanded ed.). Venice: Feral House. p. 21.
  5. ^ Maisano, Anthony. "Today in Metal: 'Hammerheart' by Bathory turns 24 years old". Metal Insider. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b Johannesson & Klingberg 2011, pp. 52–62.
  7. ^ a b c d Santos, José Carlos (2009). Terrorizer's Secret History of Black Metal. Dark Arts Ltd. pp. 10–11.
  8. ^ Ekeroth 2008, p. 29.
  9. ^ a b c d Ekeroth 2008, p. 30.
  10. ^ McManus, Peter (1987). "Stranger than Strange – Quorthon Uncloacks His Secrets in an Exclusive Interview..." Power Metal. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  11. ^ a b "Writing the deeds of Darkness and Evil". Official Bathory website. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  12. ^ Moynihan, Michael; Søderlind, Didrik (1998). Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground (first ed.). Venice: Feral House. pp. 16–18.
  13. ^ Götz Kühnemund: »Heavy Metal ist was für Weicheier!«. Die erste Generation des Black Metal. In: Rock Hard, no. 269, October 2009, p. 72.
  14. ^ a b Luxi Lahtinen: BATHORY - An Epic Interview with Quorthon, accessed on 28 December 2012.
  15. ^ a b "Quorthorn (Bathory) Interview at - Death/Black Metal Interviews Section". Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  16. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Blood Fire Death - Bathory : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  17. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Hammerheart - Bathory : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  18. ^ "Norway's Black Metal Elite To Pay Tribute To Quorthon". Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  19. ^ "WATAIN Hit National Chart In Sweden With Tonight We Raise Our Cups And Toast In Angels Blood Limited LP". Retrieved 1 October 2018.


  • Ekeroth, Daniel (2008). Swedish Death Metal. Bazillion Points Books. ISBN 978-0-9796163-1-0.
  • Johannesson, Ika; Klingberg, Jon Jefferson (2011). Blod Eld Död - En svensk metalhistoria. Alfabeta Bokförlag AB. ISBN 978-9-1501133-4-1.

External links

Bathory (album)

Bathory is the debut studio album by Swedish extreme metal band Bathory. It was released in October 1984, through Tyfon Grammofon. It is deemed by many fans and critics to be the first black metal record.

Bathory (disambiguation)

The Báthory family were a Hungarian noble family of the Gutkeled clan.

Elizabeth Báthory was a Hungarian noblewoman and alleged murderer from the Báthory familyBathory may also refer to:

Báthory (surname)

Bathory (band), an influential Swedish extreme metal band

Bathory (album), the band Bathory's debut album

Báthory (film), a film based on the life of Elizabeth Báthory

Blood Fire Death

Blood Fire Death is the fourth studio album by Swedish extreme metal band Bathory. It was released on 8 October 1988, through Music for Nations sublabel, Under One Flag. The album, although mostly black metal, includes some of the first examples of Viking metal. According to the book Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult by Dayal Patterson, Blood Fire Death began a second trilogy, an era Quorthon described as the "pre-Christian Swedish Viking Era".

Blood on Ice

Blood on Ice is the ninth studio album by Swedish extreme metal band Bathory. It was released on 27 May 1996, through Black Mark Production. It is a concept album.

Destroyer of Worlds

Destroyer of Worlds is the tenth studio album by Swedish extreme metal band Bathory. It was released on 9 October 2001, through Black Mark Production.


Hammerheart is the fifth studio album by Swedish extreme metal band Bathory. It continued the previous album Blood Fire Death's transition away from black metal to what became recognized as Viking metal, and is considered a cornerstone work of the genre.

In Memory of Quorthon

In Memory of Quorthon is a box set of three audio CDs and one DVD with remastered material from Bathory, Quorthon's solo efforts, and the Jennie Tebler project.

The track list was selected by "Boss" Forsberg. The album cover was drawn by Kristian Wåhlin and was meant to be the artwork for Bathory's last album which was never released. All songs were remastered. A poster of Quorthon breathing fire taken from the 1987 session in London's Railway Bridge of London was included. Text written by Quorthon personally appears in italics. Besides lyrics, the book features Bathory's history, discography, background on the first recordings – with titles, years, studios, covers – and even a couple of photographs. Nearly all of this is from Quorthon's and Boss's own private archives.

The fourth disc is a DVD containing the 11-minute video for "One Rode to Asa Bay", as well as the MTV interview Quorthon did in London for the release of Hammerheart.

Jubileum Volume I

Jubileum Vol. I is a compilation album by Bathory. It was succeeded by Jubileum Volume II and Jubileum Volume III.

Jubileum Volume II

Jubileum Volume II is a compilation album by Bathory. It was preceded by Jubileum Volume I (1992) and succeeded by Jubileum Volume III (1998).

Jubileum Volume III

Jubileum Volume III is a compilation album by Bathory. It was preceded by Jubileum Volume I and Jubileum Volume II.

The song "In Nomine Satanas" is an alternate version of the song "Bond of Blood" from the 1991 album Twilight of the Gods. The song "Satan My Master" is one of the most covered songs of the band.

Nordland I

Nordland I is the eleventh studio album by Swedish extreme metal band Bathory. It was released on 18 November 2002 through Black Mark Production. It is a return to the Viking metal of Bathory's middle period, and features songs mainly concerning Norse mythology.

Nordland II

Nordland II is the twelfth and final studio album by Swedish extreme metal band Bathory. It is the successor to Nordland I. It was released on 31 March 2003, through Black Mark Production.

It was also released as a limited digipak.

Octagon (Bathory album)

Octagon is the eighth studio album by Swedish extreme metal band Bathory. It was released in October 1995, through Black Mark Production. It continues the retro thrash metal style of the previous album, Requiem. It was reissued in 2003, with the first two tracks combined and "Winds of Mayhem" outro added.

One Rode to Asa Bay

"One Rode to Asa Bay" is a song by Bathory about the Christianization of Scandinavia and appears on the 1990 album Hammerheart.

Cover versions of the song have been recorded by Opera IX and Mystic Circle.

Quorthon dedicated the song to C. Dean Andersson, who had earlier sent some of his books to Quorthon. The village's name in the song, Asa Bay, comes from pseudonym Asa Drake which Andersson used in some of his books.

Requiem (Bathory album)

Requiem is the seventh studio album by Swedish extreme metal band Bathory. It eschews the Viking metal style of Bathory's three previous releases for a thrash metal style that recalls many of the bands that initially influenced Bathory. This album marks the return of Bathory after Quorthon put the band on hold to record his first solo album.

The Return……

The Return…… (full title The Return of the Darkness and Evil) is the second studio album by Swedish extreme metal band Bathory. It was released on vinyl on 27 May 1985, through Combat Records in the US. The Return…… had a significant influence on the then-emerging death metal and black metal genres.

Twilight of the Gods (album)

Twilight of the Gods is the sixth studio album by Swedish extreme metal band Bathory. It continues the exploration of the newly created Viking metal style, and also displays heavy epic doom and classical influences; it is titled after an opera by Wagner. It is a mid-tempo, more acoustic album than previous Bathory releases, though it follows on from the Hammerheart album. Of significance is Quorthon's total control of the album, playing all electric and acoustic guitar, keyboards, bass, and drum programming. The background vocals are a particular feature of this album, with Quorthon multi-tracking himself, as he did on the Hammerheart album, though this time in a more sophisticated way, sounding like a whole chorus at times. The song entitled Hammerheart is based on a melody from Gustav Holst's The Planets. Specifically, it is Quorthon's own "rearrangement" of the middle section of the fourth movement, Jupiter.

Under the Sign of the Black Mark

Under the Sign of the Black Mark is the third studio album by Swedish extreme metal band Bathory. It was recorded in September 1986 and released on 11 May 1987 through New Renaissance Records and Under One Flag. It was a key album in the development of the black metal genre, and greatly influenced the Norwegian black metal scene that emerged in the early 1990s.


Vällingby (Swedish pronunciation: [²vɛlːɪŋˌbyː] (listen)) is a suburban district in Västerort in the western part of Stockholm Municipality, Sweden.

Studio albums
Compilation albums

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