Feb 162012

While I’m still in a bitchy mood from those festival posters, I might as well get this off my chest, too.

By the way, I don’t have anything against Whitney Houston, though to be brutally honest, her music never did anything for me and I had zero interest in her celebrity or the up’s and down’s of her personal life. To be further brutally honest, unlike some people, I felt nothing about her death. What I did feel was a slight sense of disgust at the outpouring of publicity over her death. Call me a kvrmvdgeon.

To make its point, this image could have featured many other people besides Quorthon by way of contrast, but he will do. Most certainly, he will. For those who may not know his name, there’s a more complete bio after the jump, copied from The Font of All Human Knowledge.

I will now try to become less bitchy for today’s remaining posts.

(Thanks to Black Shuck, through whom I found the Whitney-Quorthon comparison at the top of this post.)


Quorthon (born Tomas Forsberg February 17, 1966, Stockholm, died c. June 7, 2004, Stockholm) was a Swedish musician. He was a multi-instrumentalist and the founder and songwriter of the pioneering Swedish black metal band Bathory. He is also credited with creating the Viking metal genre. He composed the music and wrote the lyrics on all of Bathory’s albums.

Quorthon formed Bathory in 1983 when he was 17 years old. Always underfunded, his albums had a rough quality which many black metal bands would later emulate, and which would come to characterize this genre of music. He recorded in a garage known as Heavenshore Studios on a 4 track recorder, with mechanics working around him and neighbors mowing their lawns.

Around this time (in the mid-late 80’s) Bathory began to amass a cult following in the underground metal scene, despite the fact that live performances by Bathory were rare, if they even happened at all. Albums from this period helped to define the then-burgeoning black metal sub-genre, and the (also rare) photographs of the band helped to define its image. Quorthon at this time also had many frightening and stressful experiences dealing with over-zealous fans, often receiving letters written in blood and dead/mutilated animals in the post, amongst other things. This behaviour, along with Bathory’s dark image and extreme music, cemented Quorthon’s unfortunate image, as he put it, as “the baby-eating, blood-drinking God of the bat-cave” in the popular imagination as well as popular metal press, much to Quorthon’s disgust and anger.

Beginning in the 1990s, Quorthon took full control of Bathory, choosing to forgo performing live in order to spend time recording music with hired musicians, as well changing style from the black metal of the 80’s to a slower, heavier style dubbed “Viking metal”, due to its lyrics being focused on Norse mythology. From this point onwards, he also played bass guitar on almost all of his albums, and mostly used a drum machine or a session drummer. Quorthon also personally paid for the production of Bathory’s only ever music video, for the song “One Rode to Asa Bay”, taken from their first Viking metal album, Hammerheart. The video was shown on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball, though Quorthon had not yet seen it at the time he was interviewed for the program.

In 1993 Quorthon set Bathory aside and recorded and released two albums under the name “Quorthon”. The first, called Album, was released in 1994, and Purity of Essence followed in 1997. The albums were more rock oriented than Bathory’s black / Viking metal style. While working on these albums he found new inspiration to continue composing music for Bathory. Bathory’s next albums were in a retro-thrash metal style, unlike previous releases. But in 1996 Quorthon released Blood on Ice, a Viking metal concept album which he began recording in 1989 but did not finish. His next albums followed in that vein, including the Nordland saga. It was planned as a four-album set, but only two were finished.

Quorthon was found dead in his apartment on 7 June 2004, apparently from heart failure. Quorthon was buried at Sandsborgs Kyrkogård in Gamla Enskede, South Stockholm on 13 July of the same year.

  39 Responses to “THIS↓”

  1. Imagine if he had had one half of the money spent on Hitney Wouston’s drug problem (let alone the production of one of her songs). Bathory would have sounds pristine and black metal would actually have some good fucking production on a regular basis. Goddamnit!!!

    • Phro, when you are serious for more than 2 seconds its amazing how right you are.

      • Are you hitting on me? Because if you are, you should know that I accept cash only and in small denominations.

        Oh…no…you weren’t…well, is it awkward in here or is that just my boner?

        Yep…yep…it’s just my boner.

  2. I fucking love Blood Fire Death and more specifically the song A Fine Day To Die. It absolutely reeks how much we have missed out because he isn’t alive anymore. Also, the image at the top re-affirms my hatred of everything that is hip hop, pop, or things of the like.

    • “A Fine Day To Die” is such a great song . . . it’s now in the post.

    • I think it’s a bit unfair to use Ms. Hitney (I’m not letting that go, it still makes me giggle) to condemn all of hip-hop. (Pop is condemnable by definition.) I know not everyone likes it, and that’s cool. But I really think we need to avoid hating on it, because it’s a very important cultural and art form.

      I’m not saying that you need to like/listen to hip-hop, only that I don’t think it’s deserving of hatred. Especially not if that hatred is coming from pop, because most hip-hop/rap (okay, the good stuff) is pretty far removed from pop.

      I know, that was a strange think to fixate on, wasn’t it?

      • *Cultural movement

        • Rap as a cultural movement? I think you mean lack of culture movement. It’s just auditory diarrhea over a 6 second looped soulless electronic beat. Pure crap.

          Black people used to make awesome music. Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Lead Belly, Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, Lightnin Hopkins, Reverand Gary Davis… Now THATS music. Rap just reinforces the stereotypes about blacks.

          • You, sir, need to listen to more Immortal Technqiue.


          • Dude, it’s cool if you don’t like it, but saying it reinforces the stereotypes about black people is kinda crazy. Rap doesn’t reinforce anything…but confirmation bias does.

            I mean, rap and rappers do not represent all black people, so it doesn’t make sense to extrapolate that what you hear in rap songs represents anyone but the specific rapper.

            • I know my views aren’t popular, but I personally can’t stand rap or anything associated with that mentality. I may have been a bit extreme, but I stand by what I say. I wasn’t expecting any praise, just felt compelled to share.

              • I appreciate that. I don’t care that you don’t like rap. That’s fine, and I’m not suggesting you should be condemned for it. I just meant that the way you said had some unfortunate racial connotations.

            • Umm..not to be that guy, but dosnt saying “It reinforces the STEREOTYPE about black people” pretty much mean that its not an accurate/factual portrayal of the average black person?

          • White people used to makeawesome music. Mozart, Black Sabbath, Cream, Led Zepplin, Motorhead, Judas Priest, iron Maiden….Now THATS Music. Modern metal just reinforces sterotypes about ignorant whites.

            • Lol, seriously? I didn’t know modern metal endorsed materialistic right-wing corpratist consumerisms. Maybe you shouldn’t listen to any “modern metal? bands then. Especially on a site that mostly deals with them.

      • I’m not basing it just on her, its the douchewads at my school and up at college who play it 24/7 and think that all other music sucks that has really inflamed my hatred.

  3. Well done, Quorthon is a true legend. Twilight of the Gods could be my favorite Bathory album.

    I personally don’t care for whitney’s music, or her untimely demise, but I think it’s a good thing the mainstream media didn’t get involved with Quorthons death. They would certainly not do it justice, and it would just serve to attract a bunch of falsies and corporate money grubbers who would tarnish the mans legacy.

    No no, the people who matter will find out about Bathory on their own or already know, and those who don’t.. well, they don’t need to in my opinion.

    Song to Hall up High.

    • “I think it’s a good thing the mainstream media didn’t get involved with Quorthons death. They would certainly not do it justice, and it would just serve to attract a bunch of falsies and corporate money grubbers who would tarnish the mans legacy.”

      I like you, good sir.

  4. So that image comes down to:

    Mainstream media fails to cover underground star. Praises famous person. No-one is surprised.

    That’s not really making any sort of interesting statement.

    • Party pooper. Who said it was supposed to be interesting? This is called Venting. If one doesn’t vent occasionally, one swells up like a distended condom balloon and explodes.

      • Meh, I’ve just seen his “meme” around a few times and it epitomises one of the inherent contradictions present in a lot of metal-fandom:

        “look how much better our musical heroes are, they’re REAL artists, you should be praising them… except don’t, because we don’t need YOUR approval”…

        So, what is the point? Lots of self-righteous huffing and puffing that only serves little purpose except self-aggrandisement of one’s own “superior” elite music tastes.

        Not that I’m not guilty of the same thing at times, but really, internet memes aren’t a great way to communicate, well… anything.

        • Internet memes are not a great way to communicate, but every so often, one does the job cleverly and effectively. Obviously, I liked this one because it got me pissed me off.

          I do see the contradiction you identify and I don’t deny that it exists and that I’m guilty of it. But speaking for myself, I didn’t mean to come off as claiming superior musical taste or to be self-righteous or elitist. I genuinely believe that Quorthon was at least the equal of Whitney Houston in artistic achievement (very different kinds of achievement, obviously) — I’m sure you believe that, too. Her death led to an outpouring of publicity, where Quorthon’s did not, because her music was/is much more popular and widely enjoyed than anything he ever created, and for no other reason, certainly not because she led an exemplary life.

          And yes, although I don’t expect or need popular acceptance or approval of Bathory, I still can’t help but believe the contrast is ridiculous and unjust and a yet another sign of the utter shallowness of popular culture.

          Ooops . . . I guess that did sound elitist, didn’t it? 🙂

          • There’s also the fact that Quorthon was a hard working motherfucker with an intense creative genius who died an untimely death…whereas Whitney was an overblown pre-packaged mouthpiece who killed herself with drugs. And yet she gets the accolades.

            • I hear you man. But at the same time she was no shit the best singer in the world at one point (if such a thing is calculable) not merely some pop princess. Its like Babe Ruth. Its been long analyzed how much of a dirtbag the guy could be throughout his life, but in the end all that anyone cares about is that he is the Home Run King (figuratively). He’s a greater collectively recognized Icon than Hank Aaron, a man who surpased his achievement and was by all accounts likely a better human being.

              • Yeah, you have a point. Honestly I have nothing against Whitney Houston herself (much). My issue isn’t really even with the fact that she is more well known than Quorthon, though I may not have articulated that very well. The thing that pisses me off is that people (like, for example, LL Cool J) are practically fellating themselves over what an iconic artist she was and how she was the ‘voice of a generation’, blah blah…again I say I have nothing against her, but really. She was a hot mess with a pretty good voice. Best singer in the world at one point? We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one (I would say maybe “most popular singer in the world at one point”). Call me when Aretha Franklin dies. Then I’ll cry.

      • The venting was mainly what I was feeling when I originally posted it on my facebook. I saw it mainly as a sad commentary n how musical talent and influence does not necessarily equal popularity. I understand exactly why Whitney Houston’s death was far more recognized than Quorthon’s. She was a far more widely-known artist, more accessible to the mainstream (and one hell of a singer, I’ll certainly give credit where credit’s due there). I just viewed it as “yeah, this is the way of the world and the music industry, but it still kinda blows.” I wasn’t trying to change anyone’s mind or be particularly profound.

  5. David Gold is another artist that passed away recently who is much more deserving of recognition than Whitney Houston ever was.

  6. Aaaaand MetalSucks completely misses the point. In, I might add, a highly offensive way.

  7. I’ve seen a similar meme circulating through my friends’ facebook as well. Its the now somewhat familiar picture of the Flag-draped caskets loaded into a cargo airlift. Under the image is the simple text “Whitney Who?”
    I see what my friends are trying to get across with this, but I find it just as tasteless as the the shallow apathy they sem to be denouncing. Of course I believe we should honor and remember our fallen, but its simply not a proper comparison.
    I first felt it was coming off with a tinge of racism, but then I realized it was more along how it simly wasn’t “their kind” of music. The same people circulating said phot were the sameones with Bradley Nowell (sublime) memorial photos and RIP Paul Gray (slipknot) status updates. Double Standard. And after all, all of my comrades who have died and coninue to face danger signed on with the explicit understanding that we face death; we didnt sign on for glory or recognition. For the families of a lot of those fallen, the death of their loved one really isn’t anyone elses fucking buisness.

    If anything, its good to find a postive in a negative situation. For me, your venting also provided the opportunity to learn something new. This quick summary biography brought up some excellent facts that i had not known about music that is important to me, and i will learn more as I continue my exploration into the back catalog of great metal bands like Bathory. Thanks for the article.

    RIP Whitney

    Quorthon is Dead. Long live Quorthon.

  8. Interesting that you post this today, as tomorrow is his birthday!

  9. Gonna be honest and say that the media’s reaction to her death is incredibly annoying. I know the comparison between her and fallen metal icons is wrong (which I realize and/or accept to acknowledge after reading the comments) but I couldn’t help but make the comparison with Dio. I too am guilty of this double-standard as well as many others that involve the metal community.

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