The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Bathory – Bathory
Since it’s formation in 1983, which includes a discography of 12 full-length albums, Bathory is a very well-known and respected band in the metal community. And rightfully so, as this band is one of the pioneers of the first wave of black metal, as well as viking metal music. Bathory was the creation of founding member, Tomas Forsberg, who went by such nicknames as Black Spade and Ace Shoot, but to fans, he is more known for his final moniker, Quorthon. Though never releasing an official demo, the first two Bathory tracks that were recorded, were featured on the Scandinavian Metal Attack compilation back in 1984 and later that same year, Quorthon released his first self-titled full-length album, Bathory.
(R.I.P. February 17, 1966 – June 3, 2004)
While my first taste of Bathory was the 1998 album, Blood Fire Death, and after hearing the rest of his discography, I found myself digging his first album more so than the others. My favoritism might have been due to being in a major black metal kick at the time of my introduction to Bathory, and while I enjoy pretty much all of Bathory’s work, the self-titled album really struck a chord with me. From the classic album cover to the raw sound, this album encompasses everything metal. While often being compared to the likes of Venom and Motorhead, Bathory manages to be a beast all it’s own. Due to the more aggressive guitar work, which is more akin to that of early thrash, and Quorthon’s shrill vocals, which has the raspy sound of Lemmy Kilmister, but much more distorted, is what far removes Bathory from other bands at that time.
With a total of 10 tracks and a runtime of a little over 26 minutes, Bathory is a true classic. It opens with an atmospheric stormy intro that sets the mood perfectly and leads into the next track “Hades”, a rock/punk/metal infused ripping tune that is raw, aggressive and evil. The album continues the assault with “Reaper”, as a fury of black/death metal riffs are unleashed, and a hideous vibe of evil and anger runs rampant throughout right into “Necromansy”. I will admit it’s hard to not see the Venom influences on this album, as “Sacrifice”, “In Conspriacy With Satan” and “Raise The Dead” share some odd coincidences from that of Venom’s Welcome To Hell and Black Metal albums. But as previously stated, it’s how Quorthon delivers his lyrics, which when compared to Venom, are more evil and blasphemous and the musical content is overall more brutal.
It’s hard to deny the impact Bathory has had on future black/death metal bands, and while later bands are much more brutal musically, not many of them have ever been as evil as Bathory. Bathory is right up there with such acts as Deicide, Darkthrone, Mercyful Fate and Sarcofago, and while his later albums revolved around more of a viking theme, his earlier material was clearly in the realm of the dark lord. It also helped to have little to no production on his albums, as the music is presented in such a raw manner, that it only adds to the albums atmosphere and makes it that much eviler.
Sadly though in June of 2004, Quorthon was found dead in his home, apparently due to heart failure and with that Bathory was no more. He is a legend in the metal community and his music will never be forgotten or replaced. So if you’re just coming into the whole black metal genre, or raw music for that matter, I highly recommend checking out Bathory’s s/t album as well as his entire discography.
Bathory – “Reaper”