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Bathory was the project of Tomas "Ace" Börje Forsberg (better known as Quorthon, 17th February 1966 - 3rd June 2004). Bathory was a landmark band in the history of black metal. Most second wave black metal bands were influenced by the ground work laid down by Bathory. The name was taken from Erzsébet (Elizabeth) Báthory, a 17th century Hungarian noblewoman who lived in Csejte (now Cachtice, Slovakia), accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls and young women.

Early years (1980s)

Bathory was formed in Stockholm in 1983. Founder Quorthon, a seventeen-year-old guitarist, was joined by bassist Hanoi and drummer Vans. After various name changes (beginning with Nosferatu, then Natas, Mephisto, Elizabeth Bathory and Countess Bathory) they finally settled on Bathory. Their first recording deal came that same year, when Quorthon managed to secure the consent of Tyfon Grammofon's boss to record two tracks for the compilation Scandinavian Metal Attack.
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Under The Sign Of The Black MarkUnder The Sign Of The Black Mark
Plastic Head 2010
Nordland I & IiNordland I & Ii
$25.90 (used)
Black Mark Germany 1994
Plastic Head Distribution 2010
$13.25 (used)
Blood Fire Death (Picture Disc)Blood Fire Death (Picture Disc)
Under One Flag 2015
$24.84 (used)
Nordland IINordland II
The Return of the DarknessThe Return of the Darkness
Plastic Head America 2010
Destroyer of WorldsDestroyer of Worlds
Plastic Head Distribution 2010
$13.60 (used)
Twilight of the Gods [Vinyl]Twilight of the Gods [Vinyl]
Limited Edition
Black Mark 2015
$27.69 (used)
Blood on Ice [Vinyl]Blood on Ice [Vinyl]
Limited Edition
$27.89 (used)
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BATHORY Discography

BATHORY albums / top albums

BATHORY Bathory album cover 2.98 | 34 ratings
Black Metal 1984
BATHORY The Return...... album cover 3.82 | 24 ratings
The Return......
Black Metal 1985
BATHORY Under the Sign of the Black Mark album cover 3.48 | 31 ratings
Under the Sign of the Black Mark
Black Metal 1987
BATHORY Blood Fire Death album cover 4.15 | 43 ratings
Blood Fire Death
Black Metal 1988
BATHORY Hammerheart album cover 4.22 | 48 ratings
Viking Metal 1990
BATHORY Twilight of the Gods album cover 4.01 | 27 ratings
Twilight of the Gods
Viking Metal 1991
BATHORY Requiem album cover 2.67 | 15 ratings
Thrash Metal 1994
BATHORY Octagon album cover 2.54 | 12 ratings
Thrash Metal 1995
BATHORY Blood on Ice album cover 3.56 | 18 ratings
Blood on Ice
Viking Metal 1996
BATHORY Destroyer of Worlds album cover 3.56 | 12 ratings
Destroyer of Worlds
Thrash Metal 2001
BATHORY Nordland I album cover 3.98 | 17 ratings
Nordland I
Viking Metal 2002
BATHORY Nordland II album cover 4.21 | 15 ratings
Nordland II
Viking Metal 2003

BATHORY EPs & splits

BATHORY Scandinavian Metal Attack album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Scandinavian Metal Attack
Thrash Metal 1984
BATHORY Bathory / Tankard / Rage album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bathory / Tankard / Rage
Black Metal 1990

BATHORY live albums

BATHORY demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

BATHORY re-issues & compilations

BATHORY Jubileum, Volume I album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Jubileum, Volume I
Black Metal 1992
BATHORY Jubileum, Volume II album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Jubileum, Volume II
Black Metal 1993
BATHORY Jubileum, Volume III album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Jubileum, Volume III
Thrash Metal 1998
BATHORY Katalog album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Black Metal 2001
BATHORY In Memory of Quorthon, Volume I album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In Memory of Quorthon, Volume I
Black Metal 2006
BATHORY In Memory of Quorthon, Volume II album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In Memory of Quorthon, Volume II
Black Metal 2006
BATHORY In Memory of Quorthon, Volume III album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In Memory of Quorthon, Volume III
Black Metal 2006

BATHORY singles (2)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Twilight of the Gods
Viking Metal 1991
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Blood on Ice
Viking Metal 1996

BATHORY movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)



Album · 2003 · Viking Metal
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Nordland II offers up the second crop of songs from the same sessions which yielded Nordland I. For my money, I like this one just a bit better. Both albums are in Bathory's epic viking metal style, but whereas Nordland I seemed to put a bit of a Hollywood soundtrack spin on it to give it a bit more of a widespread appeal, this album feels like it has more aesthetic callbacks to Bathory material past.

Quorthon didn't know he would die before producing another Bathory album, but if you asked him to craft a final album to conclude his career, I suspect it wouldn't be that much different from Nordland II. As an album with one foot in the cutting edge of his final viking metal sound and one foot in earlier iterations of that sound, it's as good an aesthetic retrospective as you could hope for. Flights of valkyries speed thee to Valhalla, Quorthon.

BATHORY Nordland I

Album · 2002 · Viking Metal
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The two Nordland albums represent Bathory's late-career return to viking metal; having spent a few albums in a more thrash-oriented style, Quorthon picks up where he left off at 1991's Twilight of the Gods. (Remember, whilst Blood On Ice had come out in 1996, it was originally recorded in between Blood Fire Death and Hammerheart.) Whilst the first Nordland album isn't without its more raucous and extreme moments, such as some sections of Dragons' Breath, by and large the lo-fi evil of early Bathory is well and truly gone here, replaced with viking metal suitable for any Hollywood Norse saga soundtrack album. It's no classic, but it's stirring stuff in its own right.

BATHORY The Return......

Album · 1985 · Black Metal
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Ah, Bathory! The Return.... Is that a double epsilon? I remember that day, that exciting day of going downtown with my paper route tip money and heading straight to the metal section of the music store, searching for something new to discover. And there amidst all the album covers of skulls, musclebound barbarians, acts of violence and blood, and Siamese twins tearing apart, was a simple cover of a gibbous moon shining through a gap in the clouds, a scene I had easily observed many times in my life. What kind of album would this be? I snatched it up!

Ah, Bathory! Some 32 years later and I finally decided to delve into black metal and see what there might be to captivate my constant craving for more diversity in my music collection. I brought home Immortal and thought, “The vocals really sound a lot like Quorthon of Bathory.” I brought home Darkthrone and Enslaved and thought the same. I checked out Emperor, Marduk, Gorgoroth, Satyricon, and more and each time I was reminded of Bathory. It soon dawned on me that if there was one band that inspired the sound of the second wave of black metal, it had to be Bathory.

You’ll find out very quickly that this is true when you watch any documentaries on YouTube or read anything about the development of the black metal scene. Bathory’s debut album and especially “Under the Sign of the Black Mark”, the third album, are frequently cited as the most highly influential albums in the developing black metal scene. The dark, distorted guitars and sinister riffs, the low production quality, and the back-of-the-throat, angry-burning-witch vocal style set the parameters of the black metal to come. For a riff-lover like me, “Born for Burning” had the most dread-inspiring and powerful guitar riff to make it to my cassette collection yet back in 1985, and songs like “Total Destruction”, “Sadist”, and “The Rite of Darkness / Reap of Evil” affirmed my love for this album.

On the plus side, I found the tracks I had forgotten, like “The Wind of Mayhem” and “Son of the Dammed” were at least worth hearing again, while the intro, “Revelation of Doom”, which once conjured up images of a demon in destructive rage approaching from afar, now sounds more like a giant baby crying for its formula bottle. Or is that a mammoth, Satanic tit?

Listening to this album now after at least three decades, I am reminded how the drumming mostly just keeps the beat and how there are few fills, though when one does come in, it sure feels effective. I also recall reading one single review of the album ever and the author saying that the band had an agile bassist. However, I am not hearing that bass so well. But perhaps it doesn’t matter. The real stars of the show are Quorthon’s original vocals, the heavy assault guitars, and the fuzzy production. This album impressed me much more than the debut and “Under the Sign of the Black Mark” actually turned me off the band. No one ever seems to talk about “The Return......” but for me this was/is an essential album in the tale of black metal and extreme metal in the eighties. Quorthon may have died far too young but his legacy can be heard in so many bands of the 1990’s. That’s gotta count for something!

BATHORY Blood Fire Death

Album · 1988 · Black Metal
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Vim Fuego
Listen closely to this album and you will hear simplicity.

Yep, nothing complicated or overly technical here, just a damned fine metal album. One-man-band Quorthon kept the recipe simple. The riffs are basic but memorable. The solos sparing, but effective. Most of the drumming is simple snare/kick with the odd fill, and played at different tempos. Quorthon was not an opera singer, but he put everything into the vocals. There is the odd atmospheric bit, like galloping horses and spectral choirs, but overall, it is pared back to the absolute basics of metal.

You can hear the origins of much of the raw black metal sound of Darkthrone and Mayhem here. Perhaps the biggest difference is Bathory's warmer, fuller production. It seems like Motörhead's philosophy of "everything louder than everything else" put into practice. There is a noticeable static/white noise edge to a number of the guitar parts. When Quorthon lets rip with a throaty growl, like at the beginning of "For All Those Who Died", you can almost imagine the studio sound engineer pulling his hair out as needles and gauges across the studio console redline and overload. A couple of tracks, like “Holocaust” and the title track, are full of mighty Nordic imagery, Viking warriors on a quest for Valhalla, war axes raised high in battle. Moreover, because the music is so simple, it has an air of majesty. It demands attention. This is not background music. You have to notice it; you just don't have a choice. A peek at the lyric sheet hints at a vein of humour hidden in plain sight. Check "Pace Til Death" for example. It is an ode to playing fast and living fast and could have been lifted from a Motley Crüe album. It is impossible to tell from the delivery. In addition, Quorthon has had fun with acrostics on some of the other tracks– take the first letter from each line of the lyrics and you get a message. "The Golden Walls Of Heaven" spells out SATAN repeatedly, while "Dies Irae" gives us the message "CHRIST THE BASTARD SON OF HEAVEN".

Minor silliness aside, 'Blood Fire Death' is an essential album for fans of black and death metal. It is one of those odd releases with a foot firmly in both camps, and can be appreciated by fans of both genres.


Album · 1984 · Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Named after the famous Hungarian countess Elizabeth Bathory who is the most famous female serial killer and torturer of young girls in history, this Swedish group may well be the first black metal band. Not only did they take their band name from the track “Countess Bathory” from Venom's “Black Metal” album, but they also took the inspiration provided by the imagery and improved the music to move beyond the proto-thrash sounds of that album but kept the lo-fi production to evolve the sub-genre another notch.

Main man and founder Quorthon in effect saw the next step in what Venom started and ran away with it ushering in the reign of Scandinavian extreme metal. The history of black metal is as murky as its kvilt lo-fi tendencies but is really a step-by-step amalgamation of ideas that built upon what came before but on the eponymous debut album by BATHORY we get a lot of the attributes of the second-wave of black metal already presented in its infancy in 1984.

This is an interesting album that provides on this slightly less than 30 minute musical journey a snapshot of the evolution of black metal within its short duration. For such a short album the first 3 minutes are dedicated to an ambient mood setting bleakness before kicking into the initial track “Hades.” The first few tracks sound musically more like NWOBHM tracks with Judas Priest coming to mind however the lyrics, delivery and attitude are Satanic and evil. By the end of the album there is clearly less NWOBHM influence and sounds closer to the second wavers of the 90s. A must for black metalheads looking for its roots.

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