Review

BATHORY Bathory

Album · 1984 · Black Metal
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3.5/5 ·
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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