1987. Under the Sign of the Black Mark
is the third album by band Bathory. It was recorded in September 1986 and released on May 1987 . It was a key album in the development of the black metal genre, and greatly influenced the Norwegian black metal scene that emerged in the early 1990s.
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.
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.
Under The Sign is something that must be experienced in any life. It began the ripple effect of black metal bands, with a sound even more potentially developpable then its contemporaries. A great lyrical development is present as well, as the album eschews the obsession with schlock Satanism which was found on previous material, instead evoking scenarios of a nuclear war on Chariots of Fire, and focusing on something of a more spiritual nature without mentioning Satan in Equimanthorn.
Quorthon Paul Lundburg