Under the Sign of the Black Mark

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Under the Sign of the Black Mark
Bathory Sign.jpg
Studio album by
Released11 May 1987 (1987-05-11)
RecordedSeptember 1986
StudioHeavenshore Studio, Stockholm, Sweden
GenreBlack metal
LabelBlack Mark/Tyfon (Sweden and Germany)
Under One Flag (UK)
New Renaissance (US)
ProducerBoss Forsberg & Quorthon,
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 photograph on the cover was by Gunnar Silins, from a photograph 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
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[4]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal4/10[5]
Kerrang!4/5 stars[6]
Metal Forces9.1/10[7]

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.[8]

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."[9]

The song "Call from the Grave" was featured in 2009 game Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned

In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked Under the Sign of the Black Mark as 81st on their list of 'The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time.'[10]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Quorthon.

Side 'Darkness'
1."Nocternal Obeisance"1:28
3."Woman of Dark Desires"4:06
4."Call from the Grave"4:53
Side 'Evil'
6."Enter the Eternal Fire"6:57
7."Chariots of Fire"2:46
8."13 Candles"5:17
9."Of Doom......"3:45

Outro track introduced on 2003 remastered edition.


  • Quorthon – guitar, vocals, bass guitar, synthesizer, drums, producer, mixing, cover design [11]
  • Christer Sandström – additional bass guitar
  • The Boss (Börje Forsberg) – producer, engineer, mixing


  1. ^ "The Quietus | Features | Anniversary | Voices from Valhalla: Quorthorn's Bathory Revisited". The Quietus. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  2. ^ Ekeroth, Daniel (29 July 2008). Swedish Death Metal. Bazillion Points Books. p. 27. ISBN 978-0979616310. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  3. ^ "Bathory – Under the Sin". Bathory Official Website. 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. ^ Popoff, Martin (1 November 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. pp. 38–39. ISBN 978-1894959315.
  6. ^ Russell, Xavier (28 May 1987). "Bathory 'Under the Sign of the Black Mark'". Kerrang!. No. 147. London, United Kingdom: Spotlight Publications Ltd. p. 16. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  7. ^ Doe, Bernard (1987). "Bathory - Under the Sign of the Black Mark". Metal Forces. No. 23. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  8. ^ Bennett, J. "Darkthrone - Panzerfaust". Decibel. Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  9. ^ Ekeroth, Daniel (11 May 2012). "Black Mark Turns 25, Daniel Ekeroth Reflects". Decibel. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  10. ^ http://www.theprp.com/2017/06/21/news/rolling-stone-share-choices-100-greatest-metal-albums-time/
  11. ^ https://www.decibelmagazine.com/2017/10/02/r-p-stig-borje-boss-forsberg-1944-2017/

External links[edit]