The birth of a legend

From the forming of BATHORY on the 16th of March 1983
to a Scandinavian metal attack in January 1984

          It is an irony per say, that while on hand you could agree hardly any other act in or out of the sphere of extreme metal have gone through quite as many changes and transcended from one end of the spectrum to the other as BATHORY have in the past 20 years, one could also attest that few acts can claim to have pertained quite such a clearly identifiable sound and feel to virtually everything they've done in the same span of time.

And arguably, very few bands are more frequently referred to as the source of inspiration or the reason for picking up an instrument, to form a band or for that sudden change of musical direction.

Whether it's brutal Black Metal at one end of that spectrum or epic Nordic Metal on the other, for the past 20 years BATHORY have acted as a guiding light paving the way for others in a pioneering mode while maintaining their originality and trademark atmosphere.

And 20 years since the birth of a legend - scalps counted, wounds healed and the banners of victory lining the perimeters of their kingdom - BATHORY can virtually single-handedly claim to be the act that brought the acoustic guitars into an otherwise electric environment, the act that gave multitrack backing vocals a home, the act that added elaborate carpets of sound effects to an otherwise basic backdrop of metal, and the act that brought the strings, the horns, the whole symphonic and opera-like touches into what otherwise was quite traditional rock instrumentation.

The stories would be brought in from all sorts of worlds. From the dark side of life and death, through the Satanic and the Demonic dimensions to modern chaotic society. The journey could take us down foreign shores in flames and end up in the great hall up high. The Witches, sorceries and the various cults would all be described in detail.

The broadsword, the battle-axe and the silverhammer were the weapons most frequently chosen. The means of transport would either be a stallion born by the wind, a chariot of fire or jagged leather wings. And speeding through the sky were either nuclear missiles, fire eyed demons or stars crashing towards a dying earth. Either the horizon or the clouds ablaze. Either fire or blood raining from a darkening sky. Apocalyptic stories or tales of adventure and bravery. BATHORY mastered every aspect and ingredient.

And whether the scene was the fiery pits of hell, the golden throne of heaven, a snow clad wasteland or the streets of a modern city in social decline, BATHORY was there.

But the birth of a legend was very modest and very innocent. And it took place at a time when the scene looked very much different, when the fanzines and the bands were one, when the CD format was unheard of, and when the supreme word was metal. Only metal..

And it all happened more than twenty years ago....

          It was at 1300 hours Wednesday the 16th of March 1983 that the three young men who would make up the first BATHORY line-up, met up outside Musikbörsen, a local music store in Kungsholmen a western borough to central Stockholm.

Ads had been tacked on musicians wanted-boards in music stores and record shops around down town Stockholm by then 17-year old Västerort residing Quorthon. The ads called for members in order to form a band "...in the Exploited, GBH, Motörhead and Black Sabbath style...".

Responding to the ad were 18 year old drummer Jonas a.k.a. Vans McBurger, and 18 year old bass player Fredrick - Freddan hereafter - a.k.a. Hanoi, both residing in Nockeby Western Stockholm.

For the next 13 months, this trio would make up the infant stage of an act that would eventually not only be reserved an honorary place in the history of extreme metal, but also considered pioneers and masters alike.

- I remember looking for musicians outside my then natural punk circuits. All the metal musicians I knew were either not exactly what I was looking for or not vacant, or simply not interested in the ideas I had for a band.

- When you're that age - 16-17 years old - due to a lack of life experience, you're pretty much fundamental about a lot of things and even small details may make a huge difference. I would discard a bass player back then if he was into stuff like Maiden or would perm his hair.

- I didn't look Oi-punk, but I was listening more to that stuff than I did NWOBHM stuff in the year prior to forming BATHORY. Apart from listening to KISS when growing up, all I knew about metal at the time around starting BATHORY, was basically Motörhead and Black Sabbath. But I knew that what I wanted to do sure as hell was a lot closer to metal than Oi.

- So the little metal I knew became all the more important for the sound of early BATHORY. The energy and speed was obviously Oi, but the sound was absolutely Motörhead and the gloom was of course Black Sabbath.


An early shot of a much younger Quorthon dating from
the first BATHORY photo session in January 1984.
Although
that pigs' blood might not have tasted very good, it
nevertheless did wonders for the visual effect sought after.
© bathory.nu

- I must have tacked up to a hundred notes on musicians’ wanted-boards in every music store and small record shop all over Stockholm. I used to ride the sub from one end of the city to the other with a roll of leaflets that I had xeroxed at a library.

- I saw that as a last resort to get a hold of guy’s I didn’t already know or hadn’t already played with in other bands. I figured, if I hadn’t yet formed the band I envisioned, it could only mean none of the people I knew were the right guy’s.

          Compared to the much wider horizon and knowledge of Hardrock and Heavy Metal that Jonas and Freddan brought with them - between them, they must have owned one of the largest and most complete collections of Hardrock and Heavy Metal albums in all of Stockholm for youngsters their age - Quorthon’s musical background could be considered as only basic Hardrock and Heavy Metal.

Although his album collection included the Lp’s of Black Sabbath, Motörhead, KISS, Saxon, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, it would nevertheless not be the purely metal but mainly the punk and Oi-punk influences he brought along with him that would have the most significance when early BATHORY began to write original material.


Jonas is caught during a night out in a shot by
Quorthon dating from the golden era known as the 80's.
There are unfortunately no photo's of Freddan available.
© bathory.nu

Jonas and Freddan knew each other since elementary school days and had played together in a couple of bands prior to this March afternoon, one of the short lived hobby bands just prior to BATHORY being straight forward metal band DIE CAST.

And from going through a string of groups of various styles in the past eight years - among others the Dragons & Demons type of band AGNOSTICUM and the primitive and violent punk outfit STRIDSKUK - Quorthon felt that the time had come to amalgamate the gloom of Black Sabbath, sound of Motörhead and the newly found frenzy of GBH.

Right from the outset, the intention was to play faster, harder and more brutal than any other act known to any of the three of them. Or at least it was to Quorthon...

- All I knew was that I hadn’t yet heard in any one band the exact right combination of style and sound that I had longed to hear for a couple of years. And so I figured the best way to actually get to do that must be to actually form that very band myself. Which really wasn't that easy a task. All friends of mine into Hardrock and Metal in those days who themselves were playing an instrument, were into acts I couldn't stand.

- The recent NWOBHM thing had spurred a few young Stockholm based bands to go for something less Stormbringeresque or Priest-like, but otherwise it was all Rainbow "On Stage" or something not too far away from AC/DC. In other words not too fresh or original.

- By that time - in 1981 and 1982 - I had literally played my Motörhead albums to bits. And my Black Sabbath records would barely hold together. So whatever it was I'd form one day, it was basically bound to be something that picked up from where I felt Motörhead and Black Sabbath had come to a halt.


Motörhead's "Ace of Spades" (1980) masterpiece album.
This album was imperative in shaping BATHORY's early sound and attitude,
a fact that - despite the obvious difference in lyrics - is clearly evident when
listening to virtually anything caught on tape by BATHORY
in the years 1983 and 1984.
© Bronze Records

- I believe most really early BATHORY compositions like "Sacrifice", "Satan My Master", "Witchcraft", "You Don't Move Me (I Don't Give A Fuck)" and "Die In Fire" is proof enough of Motörhead's influence on early BATHORY.

- But when in '82 a friend of mine borrowed me a tape containing the then newly released GBH album "City Baby Attacked by Rats", I was caught completely off guard by parts of that album. Here was the sound and energy that I had been longing for. That album would have as much an effect on me as "Ace of Spades" and was very important for the coarse that BATHORY would take right from the outset.

- Punk had already been an integral in my musical upbringing since the days I bought the Sex Pistols' single "God Save The Queen/Did You No Wrong" the week it was released in Sweden.

- A lot of what BATHORY tried to do during the early 90's was to pick up from that soup of punk and street stuff, something I felt BATHORY had lost a lot of during the big drums, multitrack backing vocals, heavy arrangements and complex instrumentation days of the late 80's.

- To this day, the "Never Mind the Bollocks" album is the album I listen to most frequently besides KISS' "Alive!". But hearing GBH in late '82 early '83 was something completely different, and a booster when it came to finally deciding on forming the band.


The Sex Pistols album "Never Mind the Bollocks" album
is at the top of the list of most classic albums.
© Virgin Records

          Around the time the second album THE RETURN OF THE DARKNESS AND EVIL was released, a theory frequently referred to as the "Venom-clones" theory began to shape a lot of people's notion of this brand new act from Stockholm. Probably due to the fact there was very little else to compare with at the time, BATHORY - along with probably most other extreme metal acts of the early 80's - would be regarded as an act influenced by Venom exclusively.

The fact that BATHORY had only just heard about this Newcastle act when interviews for the debut album were conducted in late 1984 and early 1985, was a fact that seemed all the more pointless to defend in the maelstrom of disbelief that would begin to shape much of the media climate in the mid 80's.

And for the duration of the dark and evil phase of BATHORY, the Venom-clones theory would be kept very much alive by assorted members of the metal press that joined the anti-BATHORY ranks even at that early stage. To this day there are still those who consistently adhere to the Venom-clones theory. Some people will apparently just never wake up and smell their own bullshit...
- If you listen to GBH tracks like “Sick Boy”, “Wardogs”, “I am the Hunted” or “Gunned Down”, it’s just so obvious where early BATHORY came from in terms of rhythm, song construction and energy. Even when listening to something like The Exploited’s “UK 82”, "Jimmy Boyle" or “They Won’t Stop”, you need not to be a professor of music to hear that the base for early BATHORY was primarily Oi-punk and not something that came out of Newcastle.



The Exploited album "Troops of Tomorrow" (1982). Oi-punk
acted as the solid base on which a lot of early BATHORY rested.
© Secret Records

- Not that this is an attempt to make an excuse, or trying to turn no back on anything, or re-writing history here, it's a fact: BATHORY's roots were closer to Oi-punk than anything else. Mix the sound and style of Motörhead with the gloom and darkness of Black Sabbath, and let that rest on a solid base of GBH. What you get is something that's raw, primitive, noisy and intense early BATHORY.


The GBH album "City Baby Attacked by Rats" (1982).
This album would have as much an influence on BATHORY's initial phase
as Motörhead's "Ace of Spades". The fact that early BATHORY to a great
extent was heavily influenced by Oi-punk and not by something that came out of
Newcastle, was a fact that was sadly lost in the wake of the "Venom-clones" theory
initiated by the scoffers back in the mid 80's. Amazingly this desperate theory
is being kept alive to this day by some boneheads.

- And while on the Oi-punk note: besides GBH and The Exploited, there were other Oi-punk acts that would also mean a lot in forming a foundation for early BATHORY. Lesser known bands like Riot/Clone (not the US hair-band but the British Oi-band) and Disorder were almost as important as GBH and The Exploited. But no friends of mine into Metal knew anything about no Oi-punk, let alone these bands or Anti-Nowhere League etc.

- By the way, in possibly late '86 I was in London to overlook the distribution of the then small BATHORY back catalogue and the up and coming release of UNDER THE SIGN OF THE BLACK MARK. Our distributor in the UK territory back in those days was Music For Nation/Under One Flag. And while at their London office I found myself seated in this couch right next to The Exploited vocalist Wattie.

- And though I - like everybody else - had severe problems understanding his more than readily heavy Scottish accent, I believe we were still able to at least communicate at some level. And for me it was a thrill since I had listened to their "Troops of Tomorrow" album at least a thousand times by then.


The amazingly funny and high energy
Exploited vocalist Wattie. A genuine trouper.

- The funny thing was, later when asked about how much an influence on BATHORY that Venom might have been and I told people I heard Venom first time after the release of the first BATHORY album, people just wouldn’t believe me. And when I mentioned GBH, nobody knew what the hell I was talking about.

- That’s proof enough the demarcation line between what you were suppose to listen to or know anything about if you were into Black Metal or general metal, was a very definitive line even back then. I thought that was strange, especially when considering the obvious similarities in terms of sound and energy between early BATHORY and Oi-punk.

- Not that it matters much today, but for those who still disbelieve me I'll be happy to inform any disbeliever that I know for a fact I heard a Venom album first time just after the release of the first BATHORY album. It was because of our debut album released on our own label Black Mark - which really didn’t exist but in our minds - but through Tyfon Records, that Neat Records recognized Tyfon to be a potential distributor of Neat albums in Scandinavia.

- Hence a promotion package was delivered including some compilations albums, some Raven records and the first and second Venom album. I picked all of those Neat albums up at the office one day and had a listen. It must have been in early December 1984.

- I can’t remember what I thought about it. But it certainly didn’t effect the BATHORY material at that time, with the exception I might have been encouraged to deepen the Satanic element more than had been the case with our debut, which - looking back - seems more like horror-comics or demonic and vampire paperback stuff rather than a sincere or fundamentally or academic Satanic record at every level.

- When I was doing the first dozen of interviews a couple of months after the release of our debut album and the Venom-clones theory was brought up first time, I think a lot of people might have thought I was just making things up when I started babbling about Oi-punk and claimed not having been influenced by Venom the slightest.

- Of course today I perfectly well understand the conclusions people made at the time. Both Venom and BATHORY independently borrowed the goat and the pentagram from the paraphernalia and symbolism of the Satanic cult and literature, which incidentally Mötley Crüe did as well. When I realized that Venom even had recorded a track in honor of the old blood countess, what could I do but sigh?!

- It matters very little to me these days if people still hold on to the Venom-clones theory. If continuing to believe in old assumptions rather than accepting the facts from me makes their pitiful little lives somewhat more bearable to live, then so be it.

          But on this afternoon in March 1983, all these theories and assumptions were all yet to happen, as the trio attempted to agree on which covers to play initially. There was nothing about this day that said it was going to be a legendary date in the history of extreme metal, no bells tolling, no applause or fireworks going off. None of the three young men even knew how to spell "black metal" or what it was had anybody asked them.

To these three young men, the underground movement was an unheard of phenomenon. The tape trading days hadn't yet started as far as Sweden was concerned. The endless list of subcategories by which bands and albums would be filed was far into the future. And all notions of similar young men forming similar groups around the world sharing the same dream, was of course nil. It was just the three of them. No rules. No boundaries. And miles of virgin land to explore musically.

Having just re-painted his newly bought candy-red Ibanez Destroyer to a more appropriate jet-black color the night before, Quorthon came to this first session equipped with a tobacco Les Paul and proceeded to arrange his settings on a stack of Peavey amplifiers.

Although impressive and worthy one of their heroes Lemmy, the huge red and white Rickenbacker bass operated by Freddan would suffer the fate of having to wear the same set of bass strings for the entire life span of the first line-up. No harm done, since hardly any string other than the E-string would ever be played anyway. At least it had the great fortune to be amplified through a Marshall stack.

The drum kit operated by Jonas was made up from at least twenty different parts. And it probably also originated from twenty different drum kits, owned by twenty other drummers who all must have been wondering whatever became of that snare or cymbal. Eventually - it turned out - perhaps not even the amplifiers were all that lawfully purchased.

A torn table and a small refrigerator accompanied the two sand-colored container-find mohair couches that occupied the far end of the basement that became BATHORY's place of birth. And for the duration of the time that the band would consider this basement its home, never would that fridge house anything else other than a plastic margarine carton containing the excrement of the vocalist of the band previously occupying the place.

No effort was ever made to try to make the basement soundproof. So whether they wanted to or not, during the very hot summer of 1983 - air vents wide open - the unsuspecting pedestrians passing by at street level could catch the ear-deafening brutal noise of a legendary act to be.

Perhaps the sheer volume might have resulted in the band eventually being kicked-out, memories are blurred about that. Nevertheless, it was this first rehearsal place of BATHORY that saw the birth of a legend. It would also be this basement that got to see auditioning vocalists and lead-guitarists come and go faster than a buck in Vegas.

- For some strange reason - most recently coming straight from a three-piece Oi-punk outfit - I had envisioned that a metal group would probably have to consist of five members. I figured not only would a metal band have to have one really brilliant lead-guitarist but also one guy that was the sole vocalist of the band. This would - besides the rhythm section - mean five guys.

- And since I didn't see myself as a vocalist really and I obviously wasn't a brilliant lead-guitarist, I would continue to look out for a vocalist and a lead-guitarist even after having rehearsed with Jonas and Freddan for a while. Had I found the right vocalist and lead-guitarist at that time, it is not very unlikely that BATHORY would have been a five-piece band. Who knows what that might have meant in terms of sound and style, lyrics and what have you. The albums - now regarded as legendary - might never have happened at all.

- Although I would eventually get used to down and outright idiots coming to the auditions in the years 1984-1986, back in 1983 I wasn't quite prepared for the effect BATHORY's music and my ideas would have on really good and talented vocalists and lead-guitarists coming to the auditions.

- There's this famous story about this one guy who came to audition for the band in the spring of '83. I only remember him as Stefan with blond curly hair and dressed in denim from top to toe. He was a very talented lead-guitarist and very eager to not only play but also to join. He went on to guarantee us that no matter what we sounded like he'd join us because he hadn't played in a band "since last year" or something like that.

- I should have sensed that something wasn't clicking here already when I noticed him - quite frightened looking - staring at all the chains, inverted crosses and things hanging on the walls. So when we sat him down on a chair in one end of that basement, plugged our gear in and performed one of our early compositions - it might have been "Satan my Master" or "Live in Sin" - and he quickly hurled his cherished white Fender Stratocaster back into its case and basically ran out through the door and up the stairs, I wasn't the least surprised.

- So if he's still around out there somewhere, he can at least boast about having been a would-be member of BATHORY for a whopping one and a half minute......



Quorthon posing down the BATHORY rehearsal place during the first ever BATHORY
photo session in January 1984. Only a couple of photos from this session have survived.
© bathory.nu

          Quorthon would also met up with a handful of vocalists and lead-guitarists answering to the ads tacked to musicians-wanted boards around town. But none of these meetings would ever result in an audition as the lyrical content of Quorthon's earliest compositions - shown to all the vocalists - didn't look or sound like "...anything David Coverdale or Joey Tempest would ever sing...".

For a short while during the end of May 1983, a usually empty summerhouse situated in Vikinghill (!) halfway out into the beautiful Stockholm archipelago, would fill the role of a base for the young band. A one hour buss ride from downtown Stockholm - with the boys carrying at least the guitar and bass with them almost every time - would take them out into a picturesque scenery as far away from the harshness of their music as you could possibly get.

- But when one day we found a way to open up the wine cellar and had a try at rehearsing while being flat-on-our-teen-asses drunk, that sort of meant the end of our summerhouse-in-the-archipelago days.

- Imagine yourself a 17-year old guitarist after he had poured down a quart of 40% Malibu on an empty stomach and then tries to follow the beat played by an equally drunk drummer, let alone trying to play the same song. We just had a laugh.

- That plus driving a hi-jacked high-speed boat - zigzagging between the Finland-ferries - across the water at night, drunk as skunks, with a ghetto blaster playing Motörhead at full volume. What a sight that must have been.…..

So the trio was soon back in the city. This time - in early September - the gear would be set up in the huge catacombs under an industrial building in Västberga. The band would be allowed to play only after working hours. But in reward they could then play as loud as they wanted to, as they would have the entire area all to themselves.

- That place had such a phenomenal sound it was like playing in this gigantic cave. So big was the sound in fact, that we soon realized we had to move all the gear into a small side-room. The length of the echo in that catacomb made it impossible to keep the beat. It was actually like the sound of TWILIGHT OF THE GODS, only eight years too soon.

The lyrical content of the earliest BATHORY compositions was made up from a mixed bag of blood and gore, demons and witches, and sort of a comic magazine quality innocent Satanism. One can get a good idea of what the lyrics were like in these days from reading the lyrics to tracks like "Satan My Master", "Witchcraft", "Sacrifice" or "Die In Fire", some of the earliest compositions available on official releases (JUBILEUM VOLUME I, II and III).

The topics as such were not always favored by the other two members of the first line-up though.

- There was a difference between us in terms of background, influence and what have you on all levels. Not only would I be asked to cut down on the fast stuff and blood-dripping lyrics, but at one point Jonas and Freddan inquired me to write material more in the Maiden or Priest vein. And I couldn't do any of that. I didn't have any Maiden or Priest albums.

- We even looked odd walking down the street all three of us together. Jonas - with his big hair - would wear casual everyday kind of clothes, and sometimes a gunbelt. Freddan would be all denim, band T-shirts, sneakers and tons of badges & patches. Whereas I was usually all black leather from top to toe, with studs and spikes piercing my leather jacket, black leather boots and no patches & badges of any kind. What a pity there are only very few photo's from this first year.


Quorthon in a very early shot from what appears to be his punk days.
© bathory.nu

          During that summer of 1983 - as Jonas and Freddan went to London on a vacation - things seemed bogged down in a quagmire though. Perhaps a split had occurred already when requests for material in the Iron Maiden vein was brought forth, a request Quorthon felt he was unable to serve with the exception for one half-hearted "Transylvania"-like composition that symptomatically would never receive a title.

The split in terms of direction and style was evident right from the start. A more traditional and straightforward style of metal and hardrock was advocated by two thirds of the band, with Quorthon holding on to the brutality and breakneck speed argument.

So for the duration of 1983, the main objective for meeting up once or twice a week at whatever rehearsal place the band would occupy for the time being, would simply be to have fun, make some noise and to crack whatever jokes they had picked up since last. Out of this came an attitude to "the band" that wasn't too serious at all.

But with two thirds of the band away on vacation in the summer, Quorthon would nevertheless decide to take advantage of the occasion to call in two mutual friends and ask them to help him out. Keen on trying out new material that never seemed to stick with the rest of the group, Quorthon figured a bunch of brutal Oi-punk musicians was just what he needed.

For a while there had been plans to collect enough money to pay for a recording session in some cheap studio as some tracks were deemed suitable for a single or an EP, but these plans never materialized. So when he found out about this rehearsal place collectively hired by two others bands and with limited recording facilities, Quorthon decided to try this place out together with two ex-members of STRIDSKUK, by recording a few tracks hitherto deemed too brutal to suit the original line-up.

- Looking back, it’s obvious the original line-up wasn’t ready by any standard. And never would be. As musicians we sucked and the material wasn’t yet original enough. Most of what had been written up to that point, sounded like out-takes from a Motörhead album or anything off your general Oi-punk 45” but with growling vocals.

- But I still felt a desperate need to do something radical, either to split the line-up or bring about a change of some sort. There was so much I wanted to do with this band I had just started, the limitations of the three original members - myself included - wasn't going to stop me.

- So I took the opportunity with the rest of the group away, to call in two friends of mine that I had played with in a band prior to BATHORY called STRIDSKUK. I explained to them the situation and they agreed to help me out.

- We performed live in a rehearsal room, recording four songs using as good quality equipment as I could get my hands on. We used two short reels of basic quarter-inch tape with two good quality microphones placed right in the middle of the room a few meters apart. We recorded in stereo and had a ball. The session was a one-take kind of thing.

          The material recorded was intended to work as perhaps not a demo as such, but a way to see what could be done in a more proper sort of recording situation, as oppose to the BATHORY rehearsals that had been caught on tape by plain cassette-recorders previously. Four songs were recorded: “Sacrifice”, “Live in Sin”, “Die In Fire” and “You Don’t Move Me (I Don't Give a Fuck)”.

Sadly, only the reel containing the last two tracks has survived to this day. These would surface a decade later when the band celebrated its 10th anniversary and released the first two JUBILEUM CD’s. It's a nice example of what pre-debut album BATHORY anno 1983 sounded like and was all about.

Although Quorthon now envisioned a more detailed plan for the band for the rest of the year, with a proper recording to listen back to, and strengthened as he was by the positive reaction of outsiders, not much happened. The three members would meet up down the rehearsal place less frequently.

And from having to move the base of the band around once more - this time to an industrial building in Solna - and still not being totally agree on the direction of new material, the three original members of BATHORY perhaps all felt things would never grow beyond what it all initially had been all about anyway; a hobby and a desire to play just for fun.

- We all had a ball in the early days. We were crap musicians but loved playing for a laugh. When we played covers it sounded like the collision between a live-animal transport and a school bus, and our original material sucked. But it was our own music, stuff that we had created together. The rehearsals would be a million laugh's and very lighthearted. It would all basically be just for a laugh. We didn't take BATHORY - or "our band" as we referred to it - for real anyway.

- We were young, the times were very innocent and virtually anything could make us fall apart from giggling. It was a great time. This was before prestige, before a legendary status, before the albums, before strange reviews, weird articles, misquotes and before an array of sub-categories by which the industry would file you.


A close up from the second BATHORY photo session in February 1984,
depicting Quorthon wearing a bone necklace and...pigs' blood.
© bathory.nu

          Though nothing was really aired before or after rehearsals, it was obvious that a change of some sort had to occur. What that change might have been or how to accomplish anything that would re-charge the trio, nobody knew.

But one Autumn afternoon - for the first time ever - a fourth person would join the trio during rehearsals. One day in late September, Jonas and Freddan did their share of bringing about a change by showing up with some guy to a rehearsal and went on to introduce him as the bands new vocalist.

- I had never seen the guy before and to this day I can't remember what he looked like or even his name. But he stayed for the duration of the rehearsal that day, and I think he even came back one or two more times. Just to be a good sport, I told him it was ok with me if he had a try at singing the material should that please the rest of the band.

- My vocal style at the time must have been something nobody had ever heard of before. And the few that did said it couldn't be called singing and that it had to be altered should we ever get a shot at a gig or a record contract.

- It was being described as a vocal style more reminiscent of a dead dog choking on a goats' head or something like that. Unheard of at the time surely, but a vocal style that very much would become the original Black Metal-voice to an entire generation of fans and acts alike only a year later with the debut album.

- I really felt sorry for the guy. He had very likely already been given more than half a promise he could join absolutely. And then he find himself in an environment filled with inverted crosses, chains, this evil Satanic atmosphere and a handful of lyrics containing the blood of angels, raging hells' fire, the raping of dead witches and what have you. He didn't know what to do with all that. He was probably more used to sing minstrel type of song about knights in shining armor and vestal virgins.

- He was dead wrong for the job. It sounded like Ronnie James Dio after a sex-change operation or something like that. And the others must have agreed, for he slipped out of the picture without as much as a see-ya.

Obviously that wasn’t the change that the band was looking for. The band was in a stalemate situation. It is very likely that all three members felt that this was it. And none would probably have been at all surprised had the original line-up really gone separate ways at that stage.


Quorthon in one more black and white snap from the
very first BATHORY photo session in January 1984.
© bathory.nu

          It is therefore ironic to think that the band at that precise moment would get an opening few bands of their age and level of skill will ever get, a shot at recording for a compilation Lp.

It was time for a Scandinavian metal attack. And BATHORY was going to be a part of it.

The rest is history...

©bathory.nu