Bathory: Quorthon's delve into his own past

Still Bathory is known as one of the most obstinate acts metal is worth. Everything is about one man, the mysterious Quorthon, who has made his sphere of work out of the studio. He has always refused performing categorically. Besides without any negative consequences for his career. Bathory's early works are ever worshipped by black metal followers, while the wagnerian music from later opened a gateway to a bigger metalaudience.

The last years even the loyalest fans sometimes don't know what to do with Quorthon and his chimeras. Two years ago he released a solo-album under his own name. It was a CD full of accessible, but poor recorded hardrock. "I was in need of a liberal record - away from Bathory for a while," as Quorthon's explanation runs. A year later Bathory appeared at the horizon again and reverted with 'Octagon' to his black metalroots. 'Octagon' disappointed at all fronts, both in the way of songs as production and was by few taken serious. "I had spoken about my first albums in a couple of interviews. It inspired me to record such a record again." Quorthon reverts also with his new album to the past. In the most literal sense. This eleventh CD, 'Blood On Ice', is the album that for the greater part was recorded in 1988 and 1989, but never saw daylight.

"I recorded the material between the sessions for the CD's 'Blood Fire Death' and 'Hammerheart' . When this project was almost ended, I wasn't convinced of the quality for hundred percent. It gave a somewhat incoherent impression. My attention was soon absorbed by new records and the tapes from 'Blood On Ice' were found again on the shelf. A lot of information about the songs was already filtered through, and consequent that I got in a lot of interviews questions about this never released record. All those questions brought me to dig up the old tapes again and submit the recordings to a new opinion. I was enjoyable surprised. It was all still in its priming, but the essence - the songs - appealed to me. After long weighing the pros and cons I decided to take up the thread again."

In the comprehensive and most readable intro, that Quorthon wrote the CD's booklet, the musician reveals how he went to work. How old pieces partly got replaced and supplied by new ones. Moreover a part of the tracks still had to be provided with vocals. It has become a good CD, that fits in the sphere of records like 'Blood Fire Death', 'Hammerheart' and 'Twilight Of The Gods'. 'Blood On Ice' is a concept-album, where the spirit of the classical composer Wagner walks emphatically once again. All the stops are pulled out. And of course there is no one who with bombastic metal, soundeffects and broadly staged choral singing knows to achieve such fine results as Quorthon...

"I realise that it's old and thus dated material, but it would be a pity to let everything rot away at a dark spot. Again, for that are the songs too cherished to me."

'Blood On Ice' deals about the vicissitudes of the 'man of iron' and the story is, according to Quorthon, based upon old Conan adventuries, as written down by the author Robert E. Howard at the beginning of this century.

"It's a story that I have read in my youth. Unaware elements from those sagas prevailed. Don't ascribe a special sense to it. It's just a 'bullshit'-story. I use elements from the past because history is a passion of mine. Besides I want to get rid of all satanic and occult rubbish."

It's rather unusual that an artist provides his CD with a personal statement, that covers six closed written pages. First in English, then in German.

"I get a lot of letters from fans who ask why I never do any interviews. I don't understand anything from those questions, because I cannot help feeling that I do at least threethousand every year. But come, to reveal the story from 'Blood On Ice' once and the rest of my career, I have written this piece."

The writing of this short biography appealed to Quorthon so much, that he in the mean time is thinking about a bigger job.

"I consider to write a book about the evolution of metal throughout the years. You know, the origin, the subgenres and the red thread. I'm still saving for a powerful computer. When I have one, I get to work."

About his own place in the history of metal Quorthon is striking sober...

"Of course I know that my bandname often falls in interviews with black metal artists. Should I feel flattered? Most times it's about young guys, who are just a few years in a band. Bathory exists for thirteen years. So they didn't even witness that glorious beginning period. I think they are talking crap. I don't set any value on it at any rate."

In your face! If required Quorthon confirms that there is still much more unreleased material in his archive...

"In two years I can celebrate my fifteenth birthday as 'recording artist'. I want to make something special out of that, just like back then with my tenth, when the two anniversary-records came out. I have this thought to compose an album full of rare and unreleased tracks. "

Of course it doesn't release Quorthon from the fine task to think about a new CD. The plans are still vague. A new solo-CD is an option, but that counts for an album under the Bathory banner too...

"Whatever it is going to be, it will surprise the people. The best record that I have heard in ten years is that one from the Foo Fighters. It's a complete rockalbum, no fault to find with. I want to go that way."

Who cherished a gleam of hope ever to see Bathory once live, can better drop that...

"Live I will never be able to prove what I have in sight. I just don't make the music for that. While the expectations will only be very high. A Bathory tour would be a goodlooking present, that once unpacked disappoints terribly."

Interview From Aardschok Magazine # 6, 1996.
Written by Robert Haagsma for Aardschok Magazine # 6-1996.
Provided by Allard Vermeulen.
Taken from Twilight web-site.

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