The history of Bathory dates back to February 1983 when a young punk called himself Black Spade met two other musicians. This Black Spade pseudonym is for me very revealing of the influences of this young musician of 17 years. Indeed, how can we not think of Venom’s Black Metal and Motörhead’s Ace Of Spade?
This encounter actually responds to an ad from Black Spade looking for a drummer and bassist to form a violent metal band. Quorthon will later reveal to us that he hired these two musicians out of pure interest, simply because they were pissed off, had all the gear they needed – when he only had a counterfeit Gibson! – and above all a rehearsal room. The bassist only knew how to play on a string and the drummer was only in the band to meet hot girls.
The first tracks played by Bathory were a cover of Black Sabbath, another of Motörhead and two personal compositions which will only be revealed on the Jubileum. They are “Die In Fire” and “You Don’t Move Me (I Don’t Give A Fuck)”. These two songs were very rock’n’roll a sort of primitive Motörhead.
In the meantime, Quorthon finds a job as an intern at a company called Typhon Grammophon which was involved in producing records. His job was to make coffee and make photocopies. That’s when he learns that this label, which initially wasn’t metal at all, is going to produce a compilation called Scandinavian Metal Attack. All the groups had already been selected and invited to the recording studio.
Of course, our young friend sneaks into the studio, always making coffees and photocopies and that’s where fate will give a little helping hand.
Indeed, one of the bands failed to show up, and it didn’t take more for Quorthon to seize his chance and suggest his band as a replacement. The label boss, pressed by time, immediately agreed without listening to anything, thinking they were just a regular heavy metal band.
Two days later, Bathory found themselves in the studio to record two songs, “Sacrifice” and “The Return Of Darkness And Evil” on which we feel that the aura of the band has darkened considerably. The band are now playing some sort of primitive, satanic speed metal. This is where the influence of Venom in the music of Bathory really comes into play. For me, it’s unquestionable: between “Die In Fire” and “The Return Of Darkness And Evil”, there is Venom.
Anyway, the Scandinavian Metal Attack compilation was released in January 1984. At first, the label boss really thought he’d done something stupid by accepting this shitty band that just made noise with his eyes closed. But didn’t expect to get a ton of emails from people who loved this group and ask for information.
Quickly, he contacted Quorthon again to record an album. Unfortunately, Bathory had already split up; Quorthon couldn’t get along at all with the other two members who wanted to play Saxon / Maiden-style heavy metal. He will therefore have to hire two other motivated musicians.
This first album was recorded in a small studio in Stockholm in 56 hours. The recording conditions were not terrible. It was so small that they couldn’t even fit the entire drum set.
So, What genre is Bathory?
Regardless, the record was released in October 1984 and made a splash in the underground world. In addition to offering a completely primitive music perceived at the time as practically inhuman, the group surrounded itself with a halo of mysteries: no names of musicians, apart from this mysterious “Produced by Boss & Quorthon”, none photo, no interviews, nothing… It didn’t take more for their fanbase to spread rumors that they were demons from Hell devouring newborns.
There, the legend of BATHORY was born.