Quorthon - vocals
symphonic black metal
In a realm where the scale of influence far outweighs commercial success, Bathory rank among the most important European metal acts of the 80's and 90's. Few originators of the extreme metal arts evoke such hushed, reverential tones of admiration as Sweden's Bathory, who along with England's Venom and Switzerland's Celtic Frost can lay claim to seriously affecting the evolution of the genre over the next two decades. Essentially a one-man operation helmed by the mysterious Quorthon, Bathory's development from the rawest form of embryonic Black Metal to thrash, death, and back to Viking-themed Black Metal, which, in its modern incarnation owes more to Bathory than possibly any other group.
The Swedish born multi-instrumentalist Quorthon, also known as Black Spade and/or Ace Shoot (his real name is still the subject of debate) formed Bathory in 1983 with sidemen Hanoi (bass) and Vans (drums). These would soon be ejected, however, just as soon as they'd completed work on two of the best tracks heard on 1984's now infamous Scandinavian Metal Attack compilation. Influenced by every form of speed metal known to man at the time, which admittedly wasn't much, Bathory soon staked a claim as Scandinavia's answer to Motorhead and Venom (from whose song "Countess Bathory" they attained their name). And, like Venom's early work, they too were challenged by the downright primitive recording conditions of Heavenshore studios (actually a converted car garage and storage space); limitations which inadvertently set the rough, uncompromising template carefully scrutinized and accepted as gospel by future generations of metal musicians. 1984's eponymous debut and its like-minded successor 1985's, The Return were so inaccessible, so unprecedented in their abrasive ...