Bathory - Bathory
Black Metal
10 songs (26'57'')
Release year: 1984
Reviewed by Jared

Considered to be the very first black metal album, Bathory’s self-titled debut that was released in 1984 is no doubt a landmark for the genre. The band was formed by the now legendary Quorthon, who brought us not only destructive extreme music like black metal, but also Viking metal. Viking metal would arrive later for Bathory with it slowly emerging within Blood Fire Death, until it functioned towards a more complete Viking sound with the cornerstone album Hammerheart which was released in 1990. There’s no question that Quorthon was somebody who impacted metal greatly, as well as had tremendous influence on a large number of artists, and mainly the metal underground.

Quorthron worked for a small record label called Tyfon when he had formed Bathory in 1983. During his time with Tyfon, the label was putting together a compilation album of songs from several Scandinavian metal bands. Acting as a “band on the side” to the compilation, Bathory was included into the album after another band had to back out for reasons unknown. The compilation album released under Tyfon received much responsiveness from metal fans that directed most of their attention towards Bathory. It was this attention that prompted the record label to get Bathory to record their now infamous self-titled debut.

The album may be the shortest full-length that Bathory ever recorded, but it packs one belligerently mean punch of black metal that almost reaches to about 27 minutes in length. However, the album begins on a different note, with sounds of gusting wind clouded by a frightening atmosphere all while a single church bell echoes through darkness. It’s not long after that the track Hades erupts with a nasty attitude, sounding rather quick with both drums and guitars. The raw sounds of the instruments, and the shrieking cries of Quorthon, make this album a force to be reckoned with, and still echoes far and wide in the metal underground today.

Reaper might be one of the finest tracks on the album. The riffing of the guitars and their rapid and ferocious attitudes inflicts a sound that would be hard to repeat today with such an impact that this debut album contained. The solo within the track is devastatingly superb, making this album more than worthy of being deemed an iconic black metal album. The following track Necromansy slows down a bit, but doesn’t lose the album’s razor sharp performance. This song is definitely heavier than most and comes off with some, dare I say, catchy guitar writing. The track Sacrifice that comes after would no doubt get the hair swinging among any metal crowd. It is simply a burst of hectic energy that supplies a serious blast of adrenaline that is hard to overlook, just like this renowned piece of music in its entirety.

Titles of tracks, such as In Conspiracy with Satan, keeps the themes of black metal intact as many would suspect. The track is loud, fast, and relentless at every corner as its succeeding track Armageddon does so with the same extreme brashness. Coming off the high energy of these whimsical tracks, Raise the Dead begins with a revisit of church bells, and the sound of a heart beating with disturbing effects before the track uproars into yet another terrific piece. It might be a little slower than some of the songs, but it is no doubt a fitting brother to the rest of the tracks that comprise this album. The album ends with great intensity consisting of the well-known track War. It is a bold song with great musicianship and contains a jaw dropping worthy solo that shreds wildly.

Bathory’s debut album from 1984 is something that will be remembered for ages, not only within the genre of black metal, but metal as a whole. As one of the earliest pioneers of black metal, and the sole father of Viking metal, Quorthon created music that pushed obvious boundaries, and was never afraid to do so. From the earliest sounds of black metal, to the Viking anthems that would later be heard in my personal favorite album, Hammerheart, Quorthon’s music will always maintain a tough resonance that remains strong and resilient in metal history even to this day.

Killing Songs :
Jared quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Bathory that we have reviewed:
Bathory - Blood On Ice reviewed by Ben and quoted 93 / 100
Bathory - Under the Sign of the Black Mark reviewed by Jared and quoted CLASSIC
Bathory - Blood Fire Death reviewed by Tyler and quoted CLASSIC
Bathory - Hammerheart reviewed by Jeff and quoted CLASSIC
Bathory - Nordland II reviewed by Jay and quoted 71 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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