Quorthon, born as Tomas Börje Forsberg (17 February 1966 – c. 3 June 2004), was the founder, songwriter and leader of the band Bathory. Apart from singing and composing the songs, at some point in Bathory’s history he also began playing all the instruments on his records (guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, drums, sequencer).
Quorthon was born in Stockholm, Sweden. He initially formed Bathory in Vällingby in 1983 together with Frederick Melander (bass) and Jonas Åkerlund (drums). The band’s name was a reference to Countess Elizabeth Bathory, which Quorthon heard of while visiting the London Dungeon (according to Jonas Åkerlund it was taken from the Venom song Countess Bathory). Bathory’s first four albums, Bathory (1984), The Return… (1985), Under the Sign of the Black Mark (1987) and Blood Fire Death (1988), were all released through a small record label Tyfon, owned by Quorthon’s father Börje Forsberg, where Quorthon worked part-time. Meanwhile, the line up has changed and Quorthon was joined by Rickard Bergman as (bass) and Stefan Larsson (drums). Bathory’s concerts were rare because Quorthon wanted to concentrate on recording and thought that organizing live shows was too time consuming.
Bathory’s early musical style was considered to be a pioneer of black metal with dark, fast, heavily distorted music, raw recording (lo-fi) and harsh vocals. Lyrically the first albums concentrated on the themes of death, apocalypse and satanism, although Quorthon admitted that he used the satanic associations deliberately, in order to provoke the Christians. In late eighties and early nineties, the band’s lyrics have become more Viking and Norse mythology oriented. At that time Quorthon took full control over Bathory resulting in the change of musical style. Beginning with their fifth album, Hammerheart (1990), Bathory’s music transformed into slower yet deeper, with acoustic elements and background choirs added. This style was continued on their following albums, Twilight of the Gods (1991) and Blood on Ice (recorded in 1989 but completed and released in 1996), with the break for two thrash metal inspired albums, Requiem (1994) and Octagon (1995). Quorthon resumed the Viking metal stylistics on the next Bathory album, Destroyer of Worlds (1991) and most notably on Nordland I (2002) and Nordland II (2003). Quorthon planned the release of third and fourth Nordland albums, unfortunately he was found dead on June 7th in his apartment in Stockholm. His death was ruled as heart failure.
In early nineties, while Bathory’s activity was paused, Quorthon recorded two solo albums, Album (1994) and Purity of Essence (1997) and one EP When Our Day Is Through (1997).
A box set In Memory of Quorthon was released Black Mark Production, containing a poster of Quorthon, three CDs of previously released material and cover versions, some promo footage of Quorthon’s tours and the music video for One Rode to Asa Bay. Several Bathory tribute albums have also been compiled by black metal artists, such as In Conspiracy with Satan: A Tribute to Bathory and Voices from Valhalla – A Tribute to Bathory.
Quorthon is buried at Sandsborgs Kyrkogård in Gamla Enskede, South Stockholm.