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Bathory - Bathory review



Reviewer:
N/A

462 users:
8.02
Band: Bathory
Album: Bathory
Release date: October 1984


01. Storm Of Damnation (Intro)
02. Hades
03. Reaper
04. Necromansy
05. Sacrifice
06. In Conspirasy With Satan
07. Armageddon
08. Raise The Dead
09. War
10. Outro


This album certainly had a huge influence on black metal to the point that many would even consider it the very first true black metal album - I certainly would - and that album cover has become one of the most iconic covers in black metal history; a simple satanic logo that had huge effect on creating the black metal genre.

Bathory was inspired by several thrash metal acts that would also use satanic lyrics and themes, such as Venom and Celtic Frost. This was what would become known as the first wave of black metal, which would later inspire bands such as Mayhem and Darkthrone, and would help create the early Norwegian black metal scene; a scene that would create a cult following like no other in the music industry.

What made this album different from the other bands from that scene was probably the first introduction to this kind of harsh vocals, which would have been the harshest heard around that time. The production was also of a low quality creating a more raw and simplistic sound, almost sounding like it was recorded in somebody's garage. It's clear now though, looking back, that this album's influence outshone its quality; it sounded very poorly produced, although it was this raw production that became the template for the future of black metal. After all, these bands didn't have the need for a quality kind of production, this was black metal after all and this music was their passion, you would either love it or hate it, as was the case for this album.

Although this debut had a certain influence of thrash, it also had some completely new elements to it, making it unique to all others. The already mentioned harsh vocals were one thing but also the riffs were quite repetitive, giving the music a more hypnotic feel. The riffs would be very similar, sometimes exactly the same were used in pretty much every song, which could make it quite hard to tell songs apart. This concept of riffs became widely used in the style of black metal, most famously the repetitive, hypnotic riffs in Transilvanian Hunger. Most notable for me, is the creepy atmospheric intro, "Storm Of Damnation", which gave me shivers; Bathory would use short, creepy, instrumental songs like this several more times in the next few albums. If I was to pick out a standout track from this one, that would be hard to do, but "Raise The Dead" sounds quite different to the rest of the songs, it is a slightly slower tempo song, with a different-sounding riff, and the bells at the intro have an evil feel to them.

The quality of Bathory is certainly a long way from his later Viking-themed material, such as Hammerheart, but you cannot deny its importance and that's why I would have it in my top 10 of the most influential albums ever!


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 10
Production: 7

Written by AndyMetalFreak | 17.08.2021




Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Guest review by
Cuca Beludo
Rating:
7.8
Well, before you read this review, just forget all you know about black metal! Forget all those modern black metal bands, forget all those awesome symphonies and forget even the epic viking albums of Bathory. For all the young metallers that don't know much about the history of black metal and listen often to Cradle Of Filth, this album (maybe) will sound like the worst thing ever made, but there is much history behind this release and all of Bathory, that I will explain. Now we will see what black metal was before... before...

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published 13.05.2011 | Comments (10)


Comments

Comments: 11   Visited by: 56 users
17.08.2021 - 10:46
nikarg
Mod
Quote:
almost sounding like it was recorded in somebody's garage

It was actually recorded in a garage

Congratulations on your first review! As far as influential albums go, this one sits very high in the list.
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17.08.2021 - 14:01
AndyMetalFreak
Mr Nice Guy
Written by nikarg on 17.08.2021 at 10:46

It was actually recorded in a garage

Congratulations on your first review! As far as influential albums go, this one sits very high in the list.

Thank you, I thought I would give it a go at doing my own review, I think this album is a good starting point for me.

I'm not sure if he new at the time, how much impact his music would have on helping create the future of the Black Metal genre, his a very talented individual to have produced this himself in a garage, with very little resources, alot of future musicians would admire that, as it would create that raw sound that helped inspire the Black Metal genre.

I understand this raw sound can put alot of people off, people will simply love it or hate it.
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17.08.2021 - 18:04
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
I Never liked so much first 2 bands albums. Viking era, thrash and later means more to me, but this influenced bands, what influenced others bands. Whit out this maybe Judas Priest would be heaviest band alive, and Venom would play true bm then.
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17.08.2021 - 20:13
AndyMetalFreak
Mr Nice Guy
Written by Bad English on 17.08.2021 at 18:04

I Never liked so much first 2 bands albums. Viking era, thrash and later means more to me, but this influenced bands, what influenced others bands. Whit out this maybe Judas Priest would be heaviest band alive, and Venom would play true bm then.


I don't think this album is anything that special musically, although I still find the raw sound and riffs enjoyable, not so much the second album tho.

I really like how you can hear the sudden change of style, and direction Bathory would take during the album blood Fire Death, when he introduced the two songs; A Fine Day To Die and the epic title track, that begun his Viking era, although he still played the other songs in the same style as his previous albums.

I still say Hammerheart was Bathory's pinnacle album, and still my favourite Viking Metal album of all time.
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17.08.2021 - 20:48
Starvynth
i c deaf people
Written by nikarg on 17.08.2021 at 10:46

It was actually recorded in a garage

True that.

Nik, I'm asking you since we're of about the same age: have you ever wondered if the legendary Heavenshore Studio really existed?
As for myself, I'm pretty sure that Quorthon made it up. I suppose he either recorded everything at his father's garage or he just used the facilities of some unknown little studio bearing an actual name that didn't fit Bathory's obscure image. Because you can comb through the entire internet like crazy, but you won't find a single album ever recorded at Heavenshore that does not contain songs by Bathory.
I'd say it's safe to assume that legions of 2nd wave musicians would have paid any price to record their albums there, so who would not try to turn big fame into big money?


Yeah, congrats on your first review, Andy!

I've actually never really been a fan of early (pre Blood Fire Death) Bathory, but I always found the many little anecdotes associated with their debut fascinating and amusing.

  • the visual similarity to Black Metal is so striking that some people initially thought Bathory were just a parody band: identical character set, two identical song titles ("Raise The Dead" and "Sacrifice"), a goat's head instead of the devil's head.... Nevertheless, Quorthon has claimed all his life that he didn't even know Venom at the time of recording.

  • the tracks "Necromansy" and "In Conspirasy With Satan" are misspelled in the track listing because Quorthon ran out of the rub-on letter "c" in the middle of the night, just a few hours prior to the printing plant's deadline.

  • most people (including Metal Archives) still believe that the debut was officially released through Black Mark, because that's what it says on the LP and its back cover, but the fact is that the label Black Mark Production was founded only in 1991. For the debut, Quorthon simply came up with a label name that he thought sounded better than the name of the actual label involved (Tyfon Grammofon AB). In order to keep the little con under wraps, Black Mark was officially established a few years later as a sub-label of Tyfon, with Twilight Of The Gods being their first original release of a new Bathory album.

  • the LP cover imprint was originally supposed to be in gold, but they didnt' have enough money to afford the expensive gold color. The first 1,000 copies have therefore been pressed in the cheaper standard color yellow, because Quorthon thought yellow looked close enough to gold. It soon turned out that he was wrong, but original items of the "yellow goat" pressing are now sought-after rarities and sold for up to 2,500 in near mint condition.


    Sorry for the lengthy post, but I used to be a huge Bathory fan back in the 90s - to some extent I still am - and I soaked up every piece of information one could find about Quorthon back in these days.
    Thanks for the nostalgic stroll down memory lane!
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    17.08.2021 - 22:44
    AndyMetalFreak
    Mr Nice Guy
    Written by Starvynth on 17.08.2021 at 20:48

    Yeah, congrats on your first review, Andy!


    Thanks for providing so much interesting information🖒 I'm amazed how much knowledge you have of Bathory, alot I didn't know about.

    I often wondered why Necromansy and Conspirasy were miss spelled, I presumed Quorthon was a bad speller or simply made an error.

    And the gold imprint of the Goat on the cover is interesting, it just shows the lack of money he had to work with, yet still managed to produce such an iconic album with next to nothing.

    I also thought it was a bit ironic how Bathory had the same song titles, Raise The Dead and Sacrifice by Venom, but Venom also had a song called Countess Bathory, which I understand was probably more influenced rather than just coincidence.
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    18.08.2021 - 01:06
    Bad English
    Tage Westerlund
    Musically no, and those raw garage bad quality demo albums, i dislike most
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    18.08.2021 - 08:37
    nikarg
    Mod
    Written by Starvynth on 17.08.2021 at 20:48

    Nik, I'm asking you since we're of about the same age: have you ever wondered if the legendary Heavenshore Studio really existed?

    I am pretty confident it never existed as a studio, Ace said himself in an interview that it was a garage with poor recording equipment and that they named it 'Heavenshore' because had they named it 'garage' no one would have cared. The myth of Bathory was fed largely due to the fact that Quorthon neither confirmed nor denied all the rumours that surfaced about his band. He misinformed journalists all the time on purpose, so I take everything that he has ever said with a pinch of salt. I mean, the man denied all his life that Boss (who was supposedly the producer of all Bathory albums) was his father. It was a different time, without internet you could spread all sorts of false information as you saw fit (not that you cannot do that now, too).

    The claim that he did not know about Venom when he recorded the debut is outright ridiculous and an obvious lie. The drummer of the tracks they recorded for the Scandinavian Metal Attack compilation has confirmed they listened to Venom all the time. And not only that; he named his band after the song "Countess Bathory" and the album is a speedier rip-off of the Venom sound with harsher vocals, shittier production, and some of Slayer's Show No Mercy thrown in. That said, it is infinitely better than anything Venom ever recorded. The cover art is directly related to the cover art of Black Metal. He had said it was created by collaging horror comics, the Boss had said that he had seen Ace himself drawing it, but after he died it was discovered that it was a drawing by Joseph Smith. There are lies, lies, and even more lies surrounding the band. Equally ridiculous is his claim that he wasn't influenced by Manowar in his Viking phase. I mean, I love the guy and all, but come on.

    I also used to be - and still am - a huge Bathory fan. I hold Quorthon high up there with Chuck. The Viking era is my favourite one too, but I enjoy all Bathory albums to a certain extent.
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    18.08.2021 - 14:15
    AndyMetalFreak
    Mr Nice Guy
    I think Venom were just a mediocre Thrash Metal act at the time Imo, but many believe they were the first true BM band, I think this is mainly due to thier album called Black Metal, and of course they were probably the first band that chose to use Satanic lyrics in that context, but if not for the music Bathory created, I believe the genre BM we know today may not of ever existed, that's why I see them as the first true BM band and not Venom.

    I also believe the only inspiration Bathory took from Venom was the Satanic lyrical content, which is proberbly why Quorthon never admitted to knowing anything about Venom at the time, instead the sound of Bathory's music closely resembles Show No Mercy more, the melodies of the riffs are actually quite similar sounding, and the aggresion and pace of both music and vocals seem a lot closer in comparison to what Venom did.
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    18.08.2021 - 20:08
    nikarg
    Mod
    Written by AndyMetalFreak on 18.08.2021 at 14:15

    I also believe the only inspiration Bathory took from Venom was the Satanic lyrical content, which is proberbly why Quorthon never admitted to knowing anything about Venom at the time.

    It is not true that he never admitted it, and believe me, Quorthon was talking utter bollocks when - initially - he said that he had not listened to Venom until after the first Bathory album was released.

    Here is what he said to Metal Forces magazine in 1987: "I don't think there are any similarities musically between Venom and Bathory at all. But I do think Black Metal (1982) - which I heard for the first time three months after we formed Bathory - is one of the best albums ever made because it has genuine feeling. At that time there was no speed or thrash around, so Venom were very unique, even though they wimped out later on and spoiled the whole thing. I mean, At War With Satan (1984) and Possessed (1985) are shit compared to Black Metal."

    Jonas Åkerlund, the first Bathory drummer, has revealed that they took their name from the "Countess Bathory" song (not that we didn't know already) and that they "had their eyes on Venom when they formed the band". Another example: when Cronos took a pair of leather trousers and cut them to turn them into shorts, Quorthon did the same.
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    20.08.2021 - 22:29
    FYA
    Destroyer
    Fun fact - Quorthon recorded every album with the same guitar.
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