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Born Tomas Forsberg, Quorthon formed the seminal black and Viking metal band Bathory in 1983. A guitarist influenced by Motorhead and punk rock more than Iron Maiden, Quorthon's vision of metal, replete with lo-fi recording techniques (thanks to his own poverty), became the de facto black metal blueprint, and Bathory's first three albums had an incalculable effect on the church-burning Norwegian scene of the early '90s. Bathory is also credited with giving rise to the Viking metal genre with the expansive structures and lyrical content of a trio of albums released between 1988 and 1991. In 1994, Quorthon branched out on his own, with the heavy rock solo release titled simply Album. A second rock-oriented solo record, Purity of Essence, appeared in 1997. Throughout, Quorthon continued to work with Bathory, as the band put out Bay Area-style thrash records before returning to the Viking metal of their middle period with Destroyer of Worlds in 2001. In the midst of recording a four-album Viking metal opus in 2004, Quorthon was unexpectedly found dead in his apartment, the victim of apparent heart failure.

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