Bathory was a Swedish heavy metal band, and is regarded as one of the forefathers of the black metal and Viking metal genres. The band's name is taken from the infamous "blood countess," Elizabeth B????thory.
The then 18-year-old Quorthon formed Bathory in Stockholm in 1983, for fun. After various names and numerous line-up changes, the group finally settled on Bathory. That same year, Quorthon managed to secure the consent of Tyfon Grammofon's boss to record two tracks for the compilation Scandinavian Metal Attack. The tracks, which he recorded, gained unexpected attention by fans. Soon afterward, Tyfon Grammofon contacted Quorthon and asked him to record a full-length album.
Although Venom's Black Metal (1982) was the first record to coin the term, it was Bathory's early albums, featuring Satanic lyrics, low-fi production and an inhuman vocal style that defined the genre. Bathory's subsequent releases, the self-titled debut, The Return and Under the Sign of the Black Mark are now regarded as major influences on the Norwegian bands, which extended Black Metal's musical progression and popularity in the beginning of the 1990s.
The first signs of what was to follow appeared on what some fans consider to be Bathory's best album: Blood Fire Death, where on some of the tracks the pace had slowed down to allow for a more epic songwriting approach. It was also here that the Viking theme was introduced. Most of the musical elements of Black Metal were still present, however. It was with the release of Hammerheart that Bathory surprised many of its fans. The style had now drastically changed towards less aggressive, more epic and atmospheric music; the lyrics dealt with themes about Vikings and Scandinavia's Norse mythology. Bathory had become pioneers in yet another genre within the world of extreme music that of Viking Metal. The style of Hammerheart was further perfected on the subsequent Twilight of the Gods and Blood on Ice.
With 1994's Requiem, Bathory changed style once more, this time turning to vicious retro-thrash in the vein of 1980s Bay area thrash bands. In recent years, critics have seen Bathory's output as increasingly erratic, as the band has returned again to Viking themes and, with the Nordland albums of 2002 and 2003, largely abandoned the retro-thrash sound of the mid-1990s in favor his more popular, more epic style for which he is best known.
Musicians as diverse as Metallica, Marilyn Manson, and Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins have cited Bathory as an influence. An early member of the band was Jonas
??kerlund, the music video and film director. In June 2004, Quorthon was found dead in his home, apparently of a heart failure.
On June 3rd, 2006, Black Mark Records released a box set in tribute to Quorthon containing three CDs of his favorite Bathory & Quorthon songs, a 176-page booklet, a DVD with his long-form video for One Rode To Asa Bay also containing an interview and some rare promo footage and an 11x14 poster.