Sea of Tranquility Review - November 2014
Various Artists: Voices From Valhalla- A Tribute To Bathory
Back in the mid 80s, Bathory were a band genuinely challenging musical conceptions and attitudes, introducing a form of extreme metal that leant less on the NWOBHM values that the likes of Venom remoulded. Instead being an altogether more uncompromising beast of spine-chilling intent. It is no exaggeration to suggest that Bathory were game-changers in terms of what extreme metal was capable of, with their early trio of releases Bathory, The Return... and my own personal favourite Under The Sign Of The Black Mark - an album I still remember staring at the cover of for hours on end as the deathly sounds rotated on my brother's turntable - leading a whole new movement in metal. The band would go on to produce a plethora of landmark extremities, before with 1990s Blood Fire Death, they started to introduce what would go on to be known as Viking Metal elements into their sound. Something Bathory would go on to investigate further as they left much of their extreme tendencies behind them. Many valiant guardians of the Bathory cause would slip in and out of the band's ranks over the years, but one constant remained, Quorthon (Thomas Börje Forsberg) who in truth was always the band's lynchpin. Tragically he died in 2004 of suspected heart-failure and with his passing so Bathory ceased to be.