the NECRONOMICON / MALEFICARUM SESSION
While the band members themselves were not aware of it at the time, the response to the two BATHORY tracks on the SCANDINAVIAN METAL ATTACK compilation album - recorded in January 1984 and released only two months later - was awesome. The first batch of SCANDINAVIAN METAL ATTACK Lp’s produced - initially 3 000 copies reportedly - sold out in a week. A second and even a third edition would sell out in no time. And to the amazement of everybody, the band that went on to receive the most fan mail was BATHORY.
The only problem was, the line-up had gone separate ways and BATHORY really didn't excist anymore.
- It wasn’t as much as the original line-up splitting. We just successively stopped calling one another. One day I found out the other two guys had again gone to London, and I was told their intention was to live and work there for a while. No big deal at the time, though. We weren’t taking the band too seriously after all. Not even after having recorded two tracks for a compilation album did we ever envision anything beyond that.
- The day when I received a call from the record company telling me that BATHORY just had to record an album, I just casually said the band didn’t exist anymore. But we agreed on trying something out and planned for a session in the summer.
- I had written written a whole bunch of material since recording for SCANDINAVIAN METAL ATTACK, and I would write some more untill June, but once those two tracks were engraved into the vinyl of SCANDINAVIAN METAL ATTACK, I was rather satesfied and didn't at the time not look beyond that.
The dismantling of BATHORY shortly after recording for SCANDINAVIAN METAL ATTACK was nevertheless not seen as a problem at the time. It was calculated there was still enough time to find suitable musicians before June when it had been planned to try out recording a full length BATHORY album.
A year previously, with the other two original member away on a trip to London, Quorthon had recorded - among other material - the two tracks "Die in Fire" and "You Don't Move Me (I Don't Give a Fuck)" emplyoing two of his buddies, bassplayer Rickard "Ribban" Bergman and drummer Johan "Jolle" Elvén from a pree-BATHORY Oi-punk band named STRIDSKUK. Now Quorthon called both of them up to ask them if they would consider helping him out.
- I knew Ribban could easily play the sort of material that I had begun to write for the album. I also asked Jolle if he could help me out in mid June. But he gave me a lame excuse along the lines he would be going to Thailand that very month on a holiday with his family, and after that he wanted to prepare himself before joining the Royal Swedish Navy that autumn.
- So I began to ask around if anybody knew a drummer, and through a mutual friend I got a hold of this drummer named Stefan Larsson, who lived about an hour and a half away from me. I listened to a cassette he had recorded while playing in another band called OBSKLASS, and decided from hearing that cassette alone to hire him, feeling he was good enough for the job.
On May the 22nd, the three young men got together at a rehearsalplace administrated by the Stockholm City department of culture and leisure, to see what the three of them would sound like playing together. The place had been chosen for the very primitive yet capable recording fascilities it could offer, the trio had decided to quickly record two tracks Quorthon had just written for the debut album: "Witchcraft" and "Satan My master".
- The room was all bricks and painted in white. We revomed the carpet on the floor and placed the amplifiers each facing oposite corners. We used two michrophones for the drums and a michrophone for the bass and guitar amp each. The four track mixer only had two effects: delay and reverb. We used pretty darn much of both effects.
- "Witchcraft" I remember as basicaly our version of Motörhead's "Overkill", sans the double bass drums since that really wasn't regarded as Oi or punk. And "Satan My Master" was inspired by this underground book I had just read on Satanists in during the 15:th century and their rituals etc. The lyrics was basically straight from a blood sermon in that book.
This recording tryout would actualy be the only time the three of them would met up and play anything together before walking in through the door to Heavenshore some three weeks later.
- Though prepared to help me out with the record, Ribban didn’t want to join BATHORY permanently. He had been playing in so many loose constellations throughout the years and was getting pretty tired on a whole of the playing-in-tons-of-bands kind of life. He'd come to the point where he would much rather do his chores down his uncles hard-ware store and getting paid.
- So when the time came around to list the things we wanted written on the back of the debut album, we decided not to include any names or pictures of any band members or people appearing on the album at all. I guess the idea was that in a couple of months time I might just as well have a line-up together again. And both the record company and I realized it would probably only be confusing having to deal with the names of two guys who weren't even associated with the band, let alone seen as permanent member but rather as hired guns.
- And while on that note - just for the record - they never did have any phony-names similair to Vans McBurger, Ace Shot or Hanoi. Nor had they been given or picked up themselves any demonic names similair to Quorthon, Vvonrth or Kothaar.
- I believe we also said something along the lines "-This is the first album. No harm done should anybody who bought the first album - and did not get any names with this first release - have to wait untill a possible second record to get any names or faces." We were looking ahead. Hoping that in six months time or so, about when we had decided to maybe start talking about a second album, there would be a great line-up together.
The second version BATHORY T-shirt designed in late 1984 for the release
of the debut album. There had been one earlier version of the BATHORY T-shirt,
a hand printed shirt with a completely different motive, but it would never be sold
or worn by any others than the band members themselves. This is the classic 100% black
cotton shirt with the logo and goat in white that fans will wear with pride.
The historic date chosen for recording the first BATHORY album was Saturday the 14th of June. It was deemed that enough material had been written to fill two sides of a Lp. But some material would still be incomplete on the very day the band entered the studio. One such track being "Hades", another not quite complete track on that day was "Necromancy".
Having a couple of recording studios to choose from, among other places the Elektra Studio where the two tracks for SCANDINAVIAN METAL ATTACK had been recorded, and the Stockholm Recording studio where these tracks had been completed and then mixed, the selftitled debut would nonetheless be recorded in…a garage.
- We didn't have the budget to book antyhing more exclusive or exspensive. I think the money reserved for the record was 5.000:-, which must have been around $600-700 back then. In 1984 that was actually a lot of money, but today that amount both sounds and feels amazingly ridiculous, if not laughable. Particularly when you consider that's what a day in a good studio will cost you these days. But when you consider the fact that this album is being re-manufactured to this very day at a steady rate of around 8.000-15.000 units per year, that's a pretty well invested 600-700 bucks.
- We knew about this place that was originally a garage or a private car workshop turned into a demo studio. It was situated at the end of a private house in Huddinge, a southern suburb to Stockholm. It had some rather primitive recording equipment, a home made 8-track table, two small recording machines in one room, plus this switchboard thing on the wall with miles of stereo cords hanging plugged into eight times eight rows of holes.
- The place didn’t offer much as far as effects are concerned. The buildt-in reverb and gold plate was basically all we had to work with. Essentially it was a private small demo studio very likely best suitable for acustic and vocal type of material, and maybe light pop music. But nothing like BATHORY had ever been recorded there. We had to adapt to the place and its limitations at the same time the place had to adapt to us.
While on the note of effects; it actually wouldn’t be until the recording of HAMMERHEART that some effects would be brought in. A mobile effect case - similar to the ones you’ll see at live shows - was hired and transported to Heavenshore the day the recording of HAMMERHEART began. In the end though - as things turned out - this mobile effect unit would then not be used much at all.
Heavenshore has been described as small used-to-be-a-garage kind of place place with a low ceiling. The interior reportedtly clad in brown and orange carpets. The furniture was second-hand plastic of 60's and 70's design. And the place reeked with the odor of rolling tobacco and oily car parts.
- To this day, that's my most vivid memory of recording the debut album. It's twenty years ago since we recorded that album. And twenty years is a very long time. Memories do fade with time. But there are some small details you'll remember from time to time, such as the place lacking any form of heating and how it would take forever before the amps and the tape machines had generated enough warmth for you to take off your jacket. Luckily it was June when we recorded the debut album, but we worked there on BLOOD FIRE DEATH during a very cold spring in 1988, and a lot of the original BLOOD ON ICE and VALHALLA-project material was done during bitterly cold wintermonths.
- HAMMERHEART was done in the summer, and the summer of 1989 was just unbearbly hot. I remember we had to keep the garage door open most of the time in order not to pass out from the extreme heat and the lack of oxygene...not to mention the fine gravel dust that filled the air in the place back then. The studio was being turned into a repair shop for real this time and had been filled up with a truckload of gravel the day before we arrived to record HAMMERHEART (more on that in CHAPTER 12).
- But on a whole, with the exception for the strange lack of oxygen in there and the problems we had controlling the sound etc, I remember almost nothing from the procedures or how we went about recording a lot of those Heavenshore albums. I was so distracted by work I never paid much attention to remembering details on a whole. And yet, in addition to the smell of old dried grease all over all those car parts and gadgets, my most vivid memory of recording the debut album is still the smell of decades of tobacco smoke accumulated in the carpets and walls. Which was ok with me because I was still smoking in those days.
- Actually I just recently stopped by the house two days after Christmas last year. I was visiting that side of Stockholm for a festivity, and realized I was going to pass through the area on my way home. So I decided to take a detour just to drive by the house and see if it was all still there. The house is still there alright, but the studio was all gone. Today it's really a full-time private car repair shop. That was the first time I had been there since we mixed HAMMERHEART in July 1989.
- So many memories bubble up inside of you. Just the thought of the place, all the hundreds of hours spent within those four walls, all the classic tracks coming to life down that garage...a bunch of legendary and pioneering extreme metal albums were made behind that inconspicuous wooden door. Friggin' twenty years ago...time flies...
A small room containing the tape machines and recording equipment acted as the control room. A second room - stuffed with cardboard boxes and used car part - was the recording room. These card board boxes of all sizes were filled with spare parts, rivets, springs and assorted gadgets. The used car parts - apart from snagging guitar cables and offering a myriad of ways for the young musicians to get their long hair and gunbelts entangled - probably added some metallic sound to the finished result. Even though that might be disputed by any serious professor of acoustics.
- I brought with me my Ibanez Destroyer and a tiny Yamaha 20W amplifier, both of which I still have by the way. And - believe it or not - no effect boxes or pedals whatsoever. I believe we used a Aria pro II bass, but wouldn’t swear by that. What I do remember, though, is that we’d first record the bass direct, plugged to that switchboard. Later we'd feed the recorded bass signal through that same tiny Yamaha 20W amp that I used for my guitar, a process that created a strange chorus like effect which I've never been too much a fan of.
Finally, whatever bits of drums they could still fit in that small room - i.e. the staple Oi-punk set of a tiny 17" bass drums, a snare and a single cymbal - was recorded using only two standard microphones. Eventhough several carpets were suspended from hooks in the low ceiling to contain the sound of the drums, the drums were recorded using an unimaginable amount of limiting compression to prevent leakage, creating a strange cardboard sound.
- The fact that I had written some passages for double bass drum didn't matter much, cause I knew no drummer who could play double bass drums that fast anyway, let alone one that had a kit consisting of two bass drums. And as I was thinking about this, looking at that tiny little bass drum during setting everything up, I made a joke about not being able to use those double bass drum parts on this record anyway.
- Boss then told us if we realy realy wanted double bass drums on a track, or if there was a double bass drum passage we felt was absolutely cruital to a particular song, we could then allways try out playing that short passage on that single bass drum placed over one of those cardboard boxes using regular sticks wrapped up in pieces of cloth.
- So I said we could allways try, and we did try out a few passages, but it didn't sound right and felt awkward. There were only two passages recorded in that way that we chose to keep on tape. So that is why there are double bass drums in one track and at the end of another on the debut album, even though there was only one bass drum in the studio.
The durable 100% black cotton hooded sweatshirt
best suitable for those cold and long winter months.
Being short on cash, the band could afford only one reel of two-inch studio tape, and one reel of quarter-inch tape. And in order to make room for all the tracks on that one two-inch reel, it would record running at only half speed, creating a humming and buzzing noise all over the recorded material that is audiable to this day.
The music Quorthon brought with him was made up from one-third material written over the past six months, and two-thirds material written just shortly before entering the studio.
“Hades” was brought to the studio as nothing but a bunch of basic chord changes and without much lyrics. And although the track was hastily put together after a few trials during soundcheck, the trio felt the end result had turned out so well that "Hades" - being newer to the band than the rest of the material and thus perhaps more exiting - was chosen to open the entire album. That is not counting the now classic introduction...
- The intro itself was of course our way of imitating the heaviest intro ever featured on an album; the opening thirty seconds to the Black Sabbath debut album. We even used basically the same soundeffects as Black Sabbath; a church bell - actually Big Ben at roughly half speed, an eerie wind and thunder. We were so struck by the power of these three sounds mixed together, we couldn’t find the heart to cut it down to only half a minute as originaly planned.
The full length of the soundeffect-mix would make it onto the finished album as it's intro. But the band had forgotten to list the intro when handing in all the layout-info for printing. So it's title - "Storm of Damnation" - never made it to the tracking list on the Lp. Not untill the CD version was produced in 1993 did "Storm of Damnation" join the rest of titles in the tracking list.
“Reaper” could be considered a brand new track written specificaly for the debute album. But only just. Before being heavily re-written, it had actually been entitled “Witchcraft”. A recording of “Witchcraft” dating from May the 22nd already did exist. This recording wouldn’t see the light of day until fourteen years later when - celebrating BATHORY’s 15th anniversary - the third JUBILEUM volume was released.
But despite the fact a version of “Witchcraft” already did exist on tape, and despite the fact the band had every possibility at Heavenshore to record the track more professionaly, “Witchcraft” would nevertheless not end up on the debut album. One reason possibly being that “Witchcraft” had evolved into “Reaper”, a track they had every intention to record for the debut, and it might have been felt the two tracks were too close in style and form.
The remaining material can only be described as a mix of breakneck paced and powerful yet basic and primitive eerie noise by 1983 standards. The material written shortly before recording the album, proved somewhat less straight forward. “War” and “Raise the Dead” were late contributions written only weeks before, while “In Conspiracy with Satan” and “Armageddon” - being the oldest pieces on the album besides "Sacrifice" - offered a much more in-your-face structure.
Following the already mentioned "Reaper" was "Necromancy", a straight forward piece with a solid bass and plucking guitar notes. The lyrics describing much the same scene as the one found in "Satan My Master".
- The only thing I remember about that particular track is how we went through several attempts trying to make the syncopation parts to work, which they basically never did, we had basically never rehersed that track prior to recording it. Finally a take deemed ok had been caught on tape and we rushed forward, eager to play something else.
The only track the band knew in their sleep was "Sacrifice". And this of course due to the fact it was on a LP and could therefore be listened back to at any time.
- We went off and did a rather poor blast-off version of it I think. It was such a simple song to play. It was pretty old by then and we all knew it like running water. But we basically just threw it away. Back then we though it sounded pretty cool to just blast off like that, sort of "-...Hey see how fast we can play!!!". But doing it that way it lost weight and impact I think.
Another track - written already way back in January when work was done on SCANDINAVIAN METAL ATTACK - was "In Conspiracy with Satan".
- That's actually an old favorite of mine. And apparently a lot of others as well. It has been covered by tons of Black Metal bands I've heard. Funny it never got enough votes when later in 1992 we were asking the fans to give us their favorite tracks when compiling the tracking list for JUBILEUM I and JUBILEUM II. Possibly by then the Nordic or Viking material of the late 80's had overpowered the old primitive Black Metal stuff as genuinely BATHORY.
A very old track was "Armageddon". Dating from the very week that SCANDINAVIAN METAL ATTACK was recorded - but not quite completed before the band entered the studio to recorded "Sacrifice" and "The Return of the Darkness and Evil" - "Armageddon" was reportedly inspired by a 11th century painting.
- I was flipping through this book on the history of various religions, and saw this painting depicting black horned devils with their forks and wings and what have you, tormenting the souls of sinners and what else frying in the fiery pits hell. And imagining what it would be like being one of the horned devils doing the torturing bit, I wrote a story, added basic music to that and that was it.
"Raise the Dead" was a brand new composition, and incorporated the sound of a human heart and church bells. Originally a horror movie inspired to the track.
- I had seen this horror movie - possibly a Hammer production - and the closing scene was quite simply a guy coming to sence in his own coffin at his own funeral. I remember we couldn't afford hiring a big china gong for this track, and since these were the days way before computer soundbanks and that sort of stuff, we simply recorded the regular crash cymbal at roughly four times regular speed.
- I though the "Raise the Dead" atmosphere was pretty interesting, the rather desparate situation of finding out you've been buried alive. Talk about being abbandoned. So I visited that element again when I wrote "The Call From the Grave" a short time later, and track we would record during the OCCULTA/OKKULTA session but would eventually never use. I then re-wrote it as "Call From the Grave" and we recorded that for UNDER THE SIGN OF THE BLACK MARK.
Ending the BATHORY debut album was "War", a throatcutting track and a late contribution.
- That's also one of my favorites. I even remembering writing it. I was sitting down playing some Led Zeppelin or Western type of piece on my acoustic guitar. And there was this finger glissando part that I repeated over and over again, and would eventually speed up about four times or so. And there I had the base for what would develop into "War".
- The lyrics once again was something inspired by studying all those medeival paintings and illustrations sporting religious motives.
Even counting the hours spent checking out in which corner of the recording room to place the amplifier, and where the best spot for the drums might be etc, all in all the time spent recording the first album would clock in at only 56 hours in total. Once the final mix was done, the recorded material would be subjected to a master equalizer at a different location a couple of days later. Even though it says mixed at Elektra Studio on the original LP, it was never mixed at this location. Mixing was done at Heavenshore, only a master EQ was done at Elektra.
The eight tracks - not counting the intro or outro - that made up BATHORY’s debut album, eagerly awaited for the first week of October: the day when BATHORY’s full length selftitled debut album would be released to the world.
The only thing remaining now was a suitable name for “their studio”. They couldn’t get away with simply calling it The Garage, or the-place-that-cost-us-less-than-the-equivalent-of-$600-700. A more suitable name was required...
- I had read a book on the world above and below at some point, and it featured a very vivid form of story telling. Reading it was almost like watching a movie or standing before one of those incredible medieval paintings. The way the words created images was very intriguing and inspiring. That book would later inspire the lyrics to a track on a much later BATHORY album, "The Golden Walls of Heaven" found on BLOOD FIRE DEATH.
- There was this part at the end of that book describing the battle between the forces of light and dark. The demons of darkness had first flown through the night sky to clash with the angels of light, then fought their way towards the sacred throne etc. Finally the demons of Hell all succumb and fall beaten, scattered along the shore of Heaven.
- The scene was very graphicaly described. Millions of black winged demons mutualated, limbs scattered all along the shore of Heaven, the bodies of slaughtered demons pouring black blood into the golden stream, oozing poison-green mist through open wounds as tortured spirits leave wretched bodies. Very graphic and intriguing.
- We figured, since this is the place where we do battle, this place ought to be dubbed The Shore of Heaven. This sounding a bit awkward, we quickly changed that to the more simple Heavenshore. Had I even had the faintest idea this place would become legendary through the four BATHORY albums we would go on to record there, we would have documented the place thoroughly. As it turned out, I would only once bring a camera to the studio during recording BLOOD FIRE DEATH. And only a couple of private photo’s of the place would ever be taken. I am yet to find those shots by the way. I know they must be around somewhere.
Althought the prime metal publication in the days
when the debut BATHORY album was released,
KERRANG! nevertheless had the same problem understanding
this new breed of extreme metal as did most of the metal media
twenty years back. But unlike much of todays major metal press,
at least KERRANG! had a great sence of humor that shown through
in much of what they wrote. This would bring a smile to BATHORY's lips
even when the debut album was cut by the ankles by KERRANG!.
Next up was the album cover artwork. It had allready been decided that the main color for the album was going to be black. Not wanting to feature the classic Baphomet illustration on the front as first intended, a single monstrous goat like face was glued together from a collage of eyes, a nose and a mouth cut out from several horror comic magazines. Liberal amounts of tipex and black ink was used for masking and adding a few details such as the torso, fur, elongated ears and horns.
Though initially only thought of as something to use as an illustration for the cover of the debut album, and though it would rarely be used for the remainders of the 80's - not to mention the 90's - this goat would nevertheless become the symbol of BATHORY, much in the same way Eddie the head would be synonymous with Iron Maiden or camcorders with Mrs. Harding...
In order to better cover this new breed of extreme metal bands,
and to better serve the extreme metal audience, KERRANG!-people felt
compelled to start up a new magazine, the MEGA METAL-KERRANG! magazine.
It was this publication that dubbed BATHORY the 5th best extreme metal band in the
world - or the Top Thrash 20 as the list was called - in competition with such acts as
Metallica, Slayer, Possessed, Celtic Frost, Venom, Destruction, Kreator and Sodom.
Although BATHORY had actually called themselves Death Metal when conducting the
first handful of interviews for the debut album in late 1984, the general referrence to
Thrash made by MEGA METAL-KERRANG! magazine didn't bother BATHORY much at all.
To be dubbed number 5 in the world by KERRANG! critics - and that less than two years
after the band had formed and less than six months after the release
of the debut album - was good enough.
Sheets of Old English rubb-on letters had already been purchased for rubbing the logo and the song titles. At some point during rubbing the song titles the night before turning the lay-out in for printing, it was discovered that they were one letter "c" short. Thinking nobody would ever notice anyway, and figuring a "s" sound though spelled with a "c" could easily be written with a "s" just as well, an "s" was duly used instead of a "c". Thus the title "Necromancy" became "Necromansy".
The first editions of the CD's produced in the early 90's was rather
different when compared to the original 1984 LP in lay-out.
But the 20th anniversary digitally re-mastered version of the debut album
produced in 2003 showes a design more true to the original LP version.
The band had learned the lesson from the canary-yellow incident and stayed with
the more familiar and standard black, white and red color scheme.
A pentagram was quickly drawn for the reverse. Side A was dubbed Side Darkness and - consequently - Side B was named Side Evil. The product number would naturally have to be 666-1. All in all, every detail regarding the debut album by BATHORY would be tailormade. Quorthon had even drawn a label for this debut album.
- We knew that what we were up to - and what he had just recorded - was so very different from the rest of the stuff that Tyfon had released so far, and so very different from anything produced in this country up untill that moment. So we asked Tyfon if it was possible to create a label just for BATHORY, so that though the Lp would be released by Tyfon Records, it would still sport a special label unique for BATHORY.
- We were told that this was ok with Tyfon, and so I sat myself down by my kitchen table one night only days before we had to hand in all the lay-out, and attempted to design a suitable label for our first vinyl.
A scan showing Quorthon's June 1984 original design for the imaginary HIS MASTER'S NOISE label.
Notice how Quorthon had evidentially spent a substantial amount of the Old English rub-on letters.
Possibly the reason why the band - on the night before handing in the lay-out materiel -
was forced to spell necromancy with an "s" on the reverse of the album cover produced
a few days after this discarded idea for a label.
- My initial idea was something I remember having seen in the MAD comic magazine as a kid, and I wanted something similair to that. So again I would use siccors, glue, rub-on letter's, ink and brush to make this collage for the label.
- But in the end it didn't look good enough. And everybody who saw it would say it looked too much like anarchy or MAD comics anyway, which essentially it was. Besides, I was told there was this small label in West Germany called Noise anyway. So I discarded my first humorous idea and went for something less punky. And that's how the original label came about.
The modern version of the black mark sign originaly designed by
Quorthon in June 1984 and adopted by Black Mark Records in 1991.
- I wanted the goat-face creature, the Black Mark sign, the 666-1 product number and the Side Darkness and Side Evil in gold on a black label. Eventually it was produced in black and white for budget reasons. But the name for this imaginary label that I came up with, would effect the naming process of a record company formed six years later: namely Black Mark.
- When years later I told people that I had designed and named this then imaginary label, it's been misinterperated as me being either or both the co-founder and/or co-owner of the company that was started up in 1991.
- And when people get to hear that during my last year in elementary highscool, years before even forming BATHORY, I used to have a quarter-time spot at Tyfon Records for a short while, for some reason that has been twisted around into assuming that not only do I work at Black Mark to this day, but I also co-founded and co-owned Tyfon, which of course wasn't the case at all.
- It is true though, that when the same people were starting up a new company shortly before TWILIGHT OF THE GODS, and didn't feel too confortable with any of the names first thought of, I happened to be down their first office to pick up some HAMMERHEART related press clips. And I was just casualy asked if I had any suggestions for a name.
- So I half jokingly said that the best name will allways be Black Mark anyway, meaning here was a good and allready familiar name, but for a label that only existed in mind and used for BATHORY releases exclusively. Realising of course that the name was already well known, and that it would save a lot of time trying to come up with anything else for a company name, a name that might still not be anywhere near as good as Black Mark, they asked me if it was ok that they used the name for this new record company.
- Thinking back, remembering all the things they had done for BATHORY, all the many shared memories, how they had walked down the same road as BATHORY, how they had learned the business simultaneously with BATHORY, and how they had shared our enthusiasm and joy over every single fan mail or record sold, there was no chance in hell that I was going to deny them the right to adopt the name. They had indeed deserved it. Period.
Thus, with the material recorded and equilized, the lay-out complete, the label designed and the product number tailored for the band, the debut album of BATHORY was ready for production.
- I had read somewhere that the colour gold was a magic color. The color silver was the color of goodness and light. After all you kill werewolf's with a silver bullet, right?! But the color gold could be used for both light and dark ceremonies. So we decided to print the album cover in gold and black.
- But down the printing firm, we learned that gold is a fifth color and very exspensive. And since we didn't have enough to cover that additional cost, we asked the firm to use a plain color as close to gold as possible. A week and a half later when I opened the parcel with the first 25 copies, and I saw the goat on the cover in canarybird-yellow, I just about puked. Whoever did supervise the color used, it must have been a completely colorblind person. It looked horrible.
- But though we very much would have liked to just burn the canarybird-yellow covers as we called them - even though I must confess it looks more like neon yellow - we didn't have the authority or the money to have a second go at it.
Front and reverse of the original and imfamous
so-called "yellow goat" album cover printed
by a small firm in Stockholm July 1983. A good condition
"yellow goat" album will sell for $100 these day's.
A signed copy will sell for five times that ammount.
Only 1 000 of these canary-yellow babies would be produced. In order to stay within budget, the band had to choose between producing either a batch of 300, 500 or 1 000 Lp's. They choose producing 1 000 Lp's, which actually was the more cost effective and cheaper option. But they weren't really sure if they would ever be able to sell off all of them.
Not even Quorthon himself paid much attention to the rarity these first album covers might one day become. At the end of the 80's, he gave away the last handful of these Lp's to a bunch of die-hard fans who had never been able to find a copy of their own. Hence, not even Quorthon owns a copy of the "yellow goat". A good condition "yellow goat" cover will sometimes sell for well over $100. For a mint condition autographed copy, we've heard of absurd prices close to $500.
- This whole thing concerning the yellow-goat is really damaging in one way. It's a circus that litterarily tears my heart out. First considering the number of assholes out there producing bootleg versions of the yellow-goat being rather huge, secondly knowing the business they make is a rather lucrative one, and thirdly the number of fans they ripp off.
- The only reason why they're doing this is of course because of the relative value in the rarity of the yellow-goat cover because of the rather limited number of yellow-goat covers produced. A good fake will get them a much higher price than an ordinary cover design, and so focusing on the exploatation possibility they naturally home in on the yellow-goat cover specificaly. Unsuspecting fans and collectors buy these bootleg yellow-goat albums, realizing too late it's a fake. Had there never been this circus around the yellow-goat covers in the first place, this wouldn't have happened at all.
- The yellow-goat covers are only rare in that they are fewer being limited to 1.000 copies produced. But they are in no way better or more special because of the different colour used. It's just a fucking colour difference. It shouldn't make people prepared to pay over a hundred bucks for a copy. That's insane and an insult to the music. That second-hand circus or rarity-show doesn't have anything to do with the music or BATHORY. It's a hysteria created by people more focused on the dollar tag attached to an sertain object because of the relative and highly subjective novelty of the object.
- The same goes for autographed covers. Why would you pay a higher price for a cover simply because it's been signed? If a cover has been autographed and dedicated to you personally, I can understand the subjective value in that particular cover to you. But why buy somebody elses cover, autographed to that person and pay a higher price for that album cover than for any other cover? Wait untill I'm dead and I can't sign any more autographs. Then even I can understand the increase in price for an autographed object.
- Now a days I'll happily sign a cover if a fan ask Black Mark to arrange that. Not because I want to give them a chanse to make a few bucks on the side by selling it a year later, but because I want to kill the rarity aspect of a piece of plastic or paper simply because it has been marked with a dedication or a signature.
The unbeateable classic original plain BATHORY T-shirt.
For BATHORY's 20th anniversary in 2003, a special T-shirt was produced
using the exact same design as had been used all those years ago....
The selftitled debut album by BATHORY may not have been the sonically most flattering debut. It may not even have been the best. But it is deffinately one of the best known and most talked-about debuts. And it is one of only a couple of records most freequently reffered to as "...where it all started...".
In several other repsects it is also one of the most important debutes. It instantly made the name BATHORY known around Europe and in the few areas overseas where the debut album would find its way via import. It directed some attention up north. It inspired hundreds or possibly thousands of aspiring young Scandinavian musicians to play extreme metal and to form a band of their own.
The debut album by BATHORY was also decisive in another respect: Quorthon decided to give the band a serious try. Had the debut album never been recorded, and had the first edition not sold out in under two weeks, it may never have been a second album.
To this day, the debut album is re-manufactured at a steady pace. The exact sales figure for this debut over the coarse of two decades is impossible to account for. It is at the top of the list for both BATHORY and Black Mark when it comes to records delivered in huge numbers.
Libraries would be vacuumed by BATHORY during 1984 in search for biblical illustrations
and woodcuts suitable as cover for the NECRONOMICON / MALIFCARUM EP project.
On the 10th of November, around the time the debut album began to reach the territories outside Europe, Quorthon once again entered Heavenshore together with Ribban and Stefan. The task was to try a few ideas out, music that had not been complete in time to become part of the first album. And to take advantage of the fact the house to which Heavenshore belonged would be empty during this and one more weekend.
But the main objective for meeting up at Heavenshore on this date was to record four tracks, pack that in a cover depicting a medieval woodcut, and to rapidly put that out for Christmas as a four track 45" EP, a very popular format back in the early 80's. The working title for this EP was NECRONOMICON or MALEFICARUM. The titles clearly showing evidence of the increased importance of the dark theme in the bands lyrics.
The material recorded during this NECRONOMICON / MALEFICARUM-session was "Children of the Beast", "Crown of Thorns one the Golden Throne", "Crucifix" and "Necronomicon". It was decided however, that the four tracks showed not enough progress from the material featured on the first album released less than a month before, and subsequently the EP was cancelled.
An american review - dating from late 1984 or early 1985 - for the debut album.
The same critic in the same magazine felt compelled to re-review the debut BATHORY album,
giving it 9 out of 10 instead of the 8 out of 10 he had given it the previous month.
Another reason for cancelling the production of this EP, was the 20th of November deadline for producing anything intended for the Christmas holidays. There simply wasn't time enough to first manufacture the EP, then deliver that to the distributors in Sweden and elsewhere, and finally have the EP supplied to the various metal shops and record stores, all in good time before the Christmas holidays. Thus the NECRONOMICON / MALEFICARUM-EP material was shelved.
No material from this session would be re-recorded for the second album only three months later. Reportedly the NECRONOMICON / MALEFICARUM material does tie in with the material found on the debut album as much as it points to a slight evolution from the debut, an evolution that would eventually lead to THE RETURN OF THE DARKNESS AND EVIL.
The existence of this material has been well known for almost two decades in the die hard fraction of the BATHORY Hordes that consider Black Metal to be the genuine BATHORY sound and style. But - hard to believe - that single quarter-inch reel containing the NECRONOMICON / MALEFICARUM-material were no where to be found when the two first JUBILEUM volumes were being put together in the summer of 1992.
- I looked everywhere but to no avail. I was keeping so much stuff boxed all over the place and at several locations. By the time we were in the studio to conduct a quick re-master of the material for JUBILEUM VOLUME I and JUBILEUM VOLUME II, we realized there wasn't enough time to hold the production up by keeping on searching for a reel I wasn't even sure had survived. Myself, Tyfon and later Black Mark had all moved more than once since 1984. There were tons of boxes and tapes all over.
- I had been successful in finding one surviving reel recorded in the summer of 1983 containing "Die In Fire" and "You Don't Move Me (I Don't Give a Fuck)", and we were happy to be able to include that material on the two first JUBILEUM volumes. And I felt that was perhaps enough for the time being and so I didn't continue my search for the NECRONOMICON / MALEFICARUM tape.
- By the time we were putting together the third JUBILEUM volume in 1998, it was actually I who made the decision to include the May 1984 "Satan My Master" and "Whitchcraft" material instead of the materil from the NECRONOMICON / MALEFICARUM session, for really no other reason than I perhaps felt the NECRONOMICON / MALEFICARUM-material had too much of an aborted atmosphere all over it.
- I have consistently promised all our die hard Black Metal fans, and the fans of BATHORY's very early years, to at least look into the prospect of maybe at some point in the future and in some form release the NECRONOMICON / MALEFICARUM-material together with the OCCULTA / OKKULTA-stuff that was recorded at a later stage.
The CD version of the debut album. To this day, it is a top seller
and is being re-manufactured at a steady pace twenty years on.
........... As the year 1984 was drawing to an end, eventhough the NECRONOMICON / MALEFICARUM-session material had been shelved, for BATHORY it was soon time for a return...