Under the Sign of the Black Mark

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Under the Sign of the Black Mark
Bathory Sign.jpg
Studio album by Bathory
Released 11 May 1987 (1987-05-11)
Recorded September 1986 at Heavenshore Studio, Stockholm, Sweden
Genre Black metal
Length 35:55
Label New Renaissance, Under One Flag
Producer Quorthon, Boss Forsberg
Bathory chronology
The Return……
Under the Sign of the Black Mark
Blood Fire Death

Under the Sign of the Black Mark is the third studio album by Swedish extreme metal band Bathory. It was recorded in September 1986 and released on 11 May 1987 through New Renaissance Records and Under One Flag. It was a key album in the development of the black metal genre,[1] and greatly influenced the Norwegian black metal scene that emerged in the early 1990s.[2]

Background and recording[edit]

The painting on the cover was by Gunnar Silins, from a painting in the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm. The model used was Leif Ehrnborg, a then-top class Swedish bodybuilder.[3]

The song "Woman of Dark Desires" is a tribute to the band's namesake, Elizabeth Báthory. "Enter the Eternal Fire" was the band's first epic, reaching nearly seven minutes in length, with lyrics referring to a deal with the Devil. The song "Equimanthorn" makes references to Hell as well as to Norse mythology, including Odin's "eight-legged black stallion" Sleipnir.

Critical reception and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[4]
Kerrang! 4/5 stars[5]
Metal Forces 9.1/10[6]

Eduardo Rivadavia of AllMusic wrote that the album "remains a career highlight for Bathory, and a crucial LP for all lovers of extreme metal."[4] Fenriz of Darkthrone called it "the quintessential black metal album". He also cited it as a musical inspiration for the 1995 Darkthrone album Panzerfaust, besides Celtic Frost's Morbid Tales and Vader's Necrolust demo.

On the album's impact, Daniel Ekeroth, author of the book Swedish Death Metal, commented in an interview with Decibel magazine in 2012: "Even by Bathory's standards, this was a masterpiece, on par with both Bonded by Blood and Reign in Blood. The songs were perfected, and the sound more atmospheric and uncanny than before. Bathory were now the most extreme and one of the very best metal bands out there."[7] The song "Call from the Grave" was featured in 2009 game Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Quorthon

Side 'Darkness'
No. Title Length
1. "Nocternal Obeisance"   1:28
2. "Massacre"   2:38
3. "Woman of Dark Desires"   4:06
4. "Call from the Grave"   4:53
5. "Equimanthorn"   3:41
Side 'Evil'
No. Title Length
6. "Enter the Eternal Fire"   6:57
7. "Chariots of Fire"   2:46
8. "13 Candles"   5:17
9. "Of Doom......"   3:45
10. "Outro"   0:25
Total length:


  • Quorthon – guitar, vocals, bass guitar, synthesizer
  • Paul Pålle Lundburg – drums
  • Christer Sandström – additional bass guitar


  1. ^ "The Quietus | Features | Anniversary | Voices from Valhalla: Quorthorn's Bathory Revisited". The Quietus. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Ekeroth, Daniel: Swedish Death Metal. Second edition. Brooklyn, NY: Bazillion Points 2009, p. 27.
  3. ^ "Bathory – Under the Sin". bathory.nu. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Under the Sign of the Black Mark - Bathory : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Russell, Xavier (28 May 1987). "Bathory 'Under the Sign of the Black Mark'". Kerrang!. London, United Kingdom: Spotlight Publications Ltd. 147: 16. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Doe, Bernard (1987). "Bathory - Under the Sign of the Black Mark". Metal Forces (23). Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  7. ^ "'Black Mark' Turns 25, Daniel Ekeroth Reflects". decibelmagazine.com. 11 May 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 

External links[edit]