Hell Awaits

It's always great to talk with people like Quorthon, whom I could interview for another magazine around 1989, after the release of "Hammerheart" (by the way, the guy remembered that hot August day when we met for speaking...). Well, this Swedish that stirred the whole extreme metal scene of the last decade with his music is now surprising us with "Destroyer of worlds", a really manifold album, but keeping the BATHORY spirit alive. And these are the things he said, showing a sympathy that many "metal stars" lack of...

First of all, this October your 13th album is out in the streets and it's called "Destroyer of worlds", why have you taken such a long time to release new stuff?

The truth is that after releasing "Blood on ice" I was seriously wondering about the path BATHORY should take. Certainly the band's history is full of curiosities, that sometimes turn into contradictions: we have edited two black metal albums [he's talking about "Bathory" and "the return..." –Ed.], then two death metal ones ["Under the sign of the black mark" and "Blood fire death" –Ed.] and last we leaned toward viking metal in our following releases. When "Blood on ice" was out, I thought about if BATHORY would stay within viking metal or otherwise I'd manage to do something in the vein of the first releases. Many fans used to write me saying they rather liked the first BATHORY albums, instead of the last ones. But it also happened the opposite, tat people told me I didn't change the style nor play black metal again. When making a new album, the first thing I have in mind, as any musician, is to satisfy myself with the things I do and, after that, I think of the fans. Due to this, in "Destroyer of worlds" I've tried to please everyone. There are pure black metal songs, but also epic tracks and others closer to death metal. I think it's gonna be an album that older fans will enjoy, the same as people that haven't never heard BATHORY before."

And don't you think that thing can turn against you? I mean, the old BATHORY fans won't easily accept an epic song, and similar for the latter stuff fans.

I don't think so. See, for example, there are already 40.000 pre-orders for "Destroyer of worlds" on CD format, about 15.000 for vinyl and the same for cassette, in the whole world. That must mean something, don't you think? And the album isn't out yet... I was very excited with this new album, after the break following "Blood on ice", with the Jubileums in between. I've told you yet that in those years I wondered about the future of the band, and now I look at the result, I think I see it clearer..."

Were the three "Jubileum" issues a way to tell people that BATHORY were still alive? Or did you really wanted to release 3 successive "best of" albums?

Many people have asked me the same. Some people think those compilations are fillers in my discography. And it's not true. The fans have accepted those albums very well, because in all of them rare tracks were included, unreleased songs ranging all the band's history. They were tracks from demos, compilation albums and so on. The problem was that in the beginning we were going to release only a double compilation album called "Jubileum", but the label thought that splitting it could be better, making two different volumes and selling them separately. When we managed to compile songs to carry these albums out, we realised that a double CD wouldn't be enough, so that we decided to release 3 different parts and name them by volumes. These three albums have been useful to keep the BATHORY flame alive and I do know that people have enjoyed them a lot. Of course there will always be the ones that consider Jubileums are just fillers, but I tell them to think the hell they want to."

Going back to "Destroyer of worlds", tell us a bit about its creation...

I've spent most of this year composing the songs and polishing them a bit in order to make them sound as I really wanted. I've taken ideas from many sources, from Hindu mythology, from Norse mythology (a source that never ends up for me) and many other places. Then, in the summer, I decided to get into the studio and record the LP. This time I haven't used the help of Boss when producing it, I've done absolutely everything and I think the result is rather satisfactory. Now we have to wait for the people's opinions about it. But I've got good expectations."

And the cover art, what is it featuring?

As one can see it's fire, flames that maybe are meaningless for some people, but if you look at it properly you'll see there's a face, really. In Hindu mythology, the fight between good and evil is described with the gods represented in the four elements. In this case, fire is an alive element. Many people may think fire is parallel to destruction, but fire itself is something alive and, as this, it belongs to life. "Destroyer of worlds" is the perfect title for what I wished to feature: the destruction that an alive element, like fire, can cause. So far, and in the last albums, I'd always used Viking mythology, but now I've wanted to stay away a bit from it, and because of that I've used Hindu myths that are very interesting, besides having much to do with Norse mythology."

Don't you think "Octagon" and "Requiem" are two albums that haven't been any good to your career? I think they have been the worst when it comes to sales, aren't they?

It's something I don't understand very well. "Requiem" is my favourite BATHORY album, it's a super-consistent and complete work. It's got everything and, however, it's true that it's the least successful of all BATHORY albums. Even so, it has sold many copies and there are many fans that keep up writing me saying it's a really good album. There's a curious thing, and it's that the whole BATHORY discography is selling quite well. I think it's maybe because of the 'legend' that has been created behind the band's name. Young people hear the old fans say good things about us and then they themselves decide to find out what the BATHORY stuff is about, and then the albums sales increase year by year. Perhaps that's the good thing about having created a legend..."

Certainly, in the promotional flyer that goes along the new opus, we can read something like "BATHORY have been the ones that have created a myth inside the extreme scene..."

And it's true. Nowadays, if you ask any fan about us, he knows us. Many bands quote us as their influence. Look, I still remember when a guy from DIMMU BORGIR sent me a copy of their first album and he told me I listened to it, for that album had been released because of me. As first I thought of them as the typical band that releases an album and nothing more. And look where are they now. They belong to the new breed in black metal. And I think of it and that makes me feel special. I don't know whether we are a legend, but I do certainly know that fans appreciate us and they like us. And there are more examples similar to this one I mentioned. I don't like to believe we are or we have been innovators at any time in our career, but one must admit that when people quote you as one of their influences, that makes you feel special."

I'm aware you're not much into the extreme music scene of today, but how do you see the evolution of this scene since you started up the band?

Well, certainly I'm not really into it... I don't know a lot of things about it, but I see it has grown a lot and now it's easier for people to find references about their tastes in any music style. In extreme music, when I started, we were just a few, and fans were very die hard, maybe because that thing that they weren't so many people involved. Now you can go to any records shop, and next to the greatest hits that everyone knows you have a section with every new release in black, death, doom and so on. That's very positive, in my point of view. Now music is done with more resources and it's better in quality, and that's fine."

And how has Quorthon changed since the release of your first albums to this date?

I'm older... he he he!!! Seriously, now I take things easier. When you're young, you're more rebel, you see things from a more extreme point of view. As years go by, you realize that everything is more simple. A musician's life is really incredible, time passes by and you can see you're living off the things you enjoy doing. Not so many people can say the same. Many of my youth friends now have jobs they dislike and they are very embarrassed with their homes' bills and other domestic, economic matters. And I don't have those problems. Understand me, I have to live like everyone, too, I must pay my bills and things like that, but I like what I do and I enjoy doing it. I'd say I'm more mature now. Fortunately, I've lived great experiences through the music and that's ve but I like what I do and I enjoy doing it. I'd say I'm more mature now. Fortunately, I've lived great experiences through the music and that's very pleasant."

Does Quorthon still refuse playing live?

...And journalists still push me to do it!!! Seriously, I'm not thinking about playing live, I should look for the right musicians and that's difficult. I don't mean they don't exist, but, fitting in a BATHORY show... it would be difficult. Moreover I've never liked concerts. In the last ten years I've attended only two shows, a bit forced to do it. I hate being surrounded by people. I know many fans would like to see me playing live, but I'm really sorry."

And how do you see the future of BATHORY?

I hope I keep on being myself and doing everytime what I like, which is music. So far I've been lucky and I wish this won't change."

Do you want to add something for the Spanish BATHORY fans?

First of all, thanks for this interview, it hasn't been the typical 'How, when and why' one, and that's interesting. This goes to the fans: I really hope they like "Destroyer of worlds" as much as I do. Greetings!"

Interview From Hell Awaits Magazine #18, November 2001, conducted by Antonio Pardo
Translation was carried out by Jordi Prieto.
Taken from Twilight web-site.

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