Naming a band is something you don’t always do with ease. Conflicting interests within a band is a common point of dispute. A name that may have seemed perfect at one point, may years down the road seem less suitable. The many miles a band may have walked during its natural evolution may in practice have rendered a name obsolete.
A name can also become a burden, a reason for people aware of nothing beyond the sphere of an image to shuffle you into a corner, a corner that may prove very hard to escape from.
If your intention is to reach out to an audience around the world, the name for your band could be chosen for several reasons. You can for instance pick a name because it is pronounced the same way - and has the same meaning - in more languages than one. You can also pick a name for it’s visual effect or simply because it’s easy to remember.
It can be a name that reflects the lyrical content of your songs. It can represent a view, an interest or a passion for a specific time, place or dimension. Or it may be a name one can easily tie to religion, history, legends or mythology. Then there’s always the option to pick a neutral name. Another issue is making sure you’ve picked a name that’s not only great for your band, but also vacant.
The three young men that made up the first BATHORY line-up, didn’t have any ambitions whatsoever of ever “making it”. There were no thoughts of record deals or concerts. The fun was all in meeting up usually twice a week and perform original material and whatever covers they could agree on playing.
The few occasions when people were invited to come down the BATHORY rehearsal place for a quick listen, the comments would even be of the “-…you’ll never get a record contract or a gig!” sort. Quit simply, they just wouldn’t go anywhere playing that kind of unheard-of brutal noise.
And hence it would seem picking the very right name for the trio really wasn't all that important. But truth is, right from day one basically, there was a name that both said it all and yet was as neutral as it needed to be.
The name BATHORY was short, easy to remember and reflected the dark content of the lyrics written even at that early stage. And should anybody want to now, there was an interesting story behind the name.
But truth is, no deep reading of ancient stories ever settled the choice of name, at least not initially. Tits and blood did, to be frank.
After looking the bloodcountess up, some more serious reading into the subject followed. Her life story being as close to a BATHORY lyric as can be, the name was of course perfect for the band. The idea was, should anybody want to know, there was a story behind the name. However, should nobody care about no story, the name was short, simple and neutral enough and thus perfect.
When UNDER THE SIGN OF THE BLACK MARK was released in May 1987, BATHORY had decided to celebrate the old bloodcountess by dedicating to her memory a specially written track. Considering the topic, one might think that "Woman of Dark Desires" ought to be one of the favorite tracks of the fans, but truth is it just barely missed making it into top 25 when the material for the two first JUBILEUM volumes was compiled in 1992 for the up and coming BATHORY 10th anniversary. And since it had already been decided that the choice of the fans was going to decide which tracks should end up on these two 10th anniversary releases, "Woman of Dark Desires" had to be left out for lack of votes. To the dismay of several old fans one should ad.
Another portrait of the Bloodcountess. What a pity they decided to wall the girl in.
We will never find out if all that blood bathing had any effect on beauty and life at all...
A common mistake made on numerous websites and elsewhere, is the mentioning of several other "earlier" names of the band. This is not correct and has become another BATHORY legend proven hard to kill. And it doesn't seem to matter how many times Quorthon tries to correct the story.
There never was any other name for the band but BATHORY. There was, however, some names flung about down the rehearsal place one day, names that were tasted for about five minutes.
There never was a band called Countess Bathory, Elizabeth Bathory, Nosferatu, Satan or even Natas. Quorthon persisted that it had to be BATHORY right from the start, and consequently no other name was ever carried by the band.
On lyric sheets, homemade stickers and assorted paraphernalia, the band logo would now be drawn on virtually everything using plain black marker pens of various thickness. Initially the logo was in the Koch Fraktur font style. All in an effort to mimic the most common version of the Black Sabbath logo. But within weeks Old English was chosen as the best looking font, and the name would for ever after be written in capitals.
Yet, for a short period of time between 1993 and 1996, a logo known as the pointed edge logo would be designed to mark the second decade of BATHORY. Appropriately the logo would first come into use when the first album of the second decade - REQUIEM - was released.
scanned copy of the initial 1983 version of the BATHORY logo.
original BATHORY logo, hailing from mid 1983. Except for some albums
scanned copy of the pointed edge version of the BATHORY logo.
The name Bathory - and the images of blood and horror it may bring about - may have suited the Nordic and Viking theme rather badly. One might think it impossible for an act named after the old Bloodcountess, to be able to make the transition from Black Metal to Nordic Metal in under two years and still be worthy a hundred per cent credibility.
One may wonder if the old Bloodcountess - where ever she may now be - do not rejoice over the victories won by her Scandinavian sons, and celebrated BATHORY's 20th anniversary...by filling up a tub...