Black Metal

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Black Metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal. It often employs fast tempos, shrieked vocals, highly distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, double-kick drumming, and unconventional song structure.

During the 1980s, certain thrash metal bands established a prototype for black metal. This so-called "first wave" included bands such as Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer and Celtic Frost. A "second wave" emerged in the early 1990s, which consisted primarily of Norwegian bands such as Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone, Immortal and Emperor. This scene developed the black metal style into a distinct genre.

Black metal has been met with considerable hostility from mainstream culture, mainly due to the misanthropic and anti-Christian ideology of many artists. Additionally, some musicians have been associated with church burnings, murder or National Socialism. For these reasons and others, black metal is often viewed as an underground form of music.

Black Metal Sub-Genres

Atmospheric Black Metal

Depressive Black Metal

Melodic Black Metal

Pagan Black Metal

Symphonic Black Metal

War Metal

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_metal

Sub-genre collaborators:
  • adg211288 (leader)
  • 666sharon666
  • TheHeavyMetalCat

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black metal Music Reviews

GOATPENIS Inhumanization

Album · 2004 · War Metal
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siLLy puPPy
You gotta love Brazil and Latin America in general when it comes to extreme metal. They have absolutely no fucks left to give when it comes to taking the shock value to even more shocking bang for yer buck territory and even though they more often than not are following in the footsteps of their European or Norther American counterparts, once in a while a band comes along that stands out in the crowded mosh pit.

Take for example GOATPENIS which sounds pretty cliche as far as war metal bands go by today’s standards but this band from Blumenau, Brazil was actually one of the very first war metal bands to come out of Brazil along with Impurity having adopted the GOATPENIS name as far back as 1991 and existed as Suppurated Fetus from 1988 up to the name change. So we’re clearly not talking about a band that just suddenly jumped on the shock yer grandma bandwagon.

The band released a series of EPs and demos all throughout the 1990s incrementally taking them out of the deathcore / grind world of caustic metal to the more refined and musically adept world of war metal. INHUMANIZATION was the first full-length album but didn’t hit the world until 2004 a lengthy thirteen years after GOATPENIS spewed its foul semen onto an unsuspecting world. By this point the band was a well-oiled war metal machine with all the attitudes of the genre that one would expect.

War metal pretty delivers the expected results with most bands sounding identical to the undiscerning ear. GOATPENIS is no exception to this rule. War metal by definition is a caustic mix of evil as fuck sounding black metal with the musical dexterity of death metal and that’s exactly what you get with INHUMANIZATION. Described as sounding something as an answer to Canada’s Revenge with more tremolos, GOATPENIS’ also took a clue from Pig Destroyer in how to craft an album that offers contrast rather than the incessant flow of buzzsaw guitars, blastbeat fury and snarling guttural growls.

INHUMANIZATION, in its 31-minute wake of sonic destruction does indeed offer all the standard war metal traits in full abundance but differs from many other war metal bands by starting the tracks off with sound clips from various sources. The opening “Byochemical Annihilation” begins for example with an eerie sample of an old military promotional video promoting the test explosion of a hydrogen bomb before the grunt-rich metal madness begins. As the metal progresses it is also a treat that the tracks actually have variations and are not of the cookie cutter variety that many a war metal album has been guilty of .

The GOATPENIS debut is quite satisfying as it features a ridiculously heavy distorted guitar tone and exciting drum rolls outside fo the machine gun blastbeat norm of war metal. I think what sells me on this band is the distinguished vocal style of Schulz who can actually sing in a grunted style and captures a more comprehensive range than the average guttural growler. And best of all the music itself features interesting songwriting styles which transcend the oft monotonous nature of war metal.

War metal is of course an acquired taste reserved for those who crave some of the most extreme sounds to emerge from the molten metal universe and in that regard GOATPENIS delivers with a vengeance. INHUMANIZATION exhibits a filthy raw production and a fiery display of musical competence that retains its humble garage rock origins. For my tastes, war metal is often too much of a one trick pony but there are a few bands that stand out here and there and of course when it comes to this style of music, the differences are subtle. While i wouldn’t call GOATPENIS’ debut a classic by any means, it sure is a nice explosive even cathartic listening experience for those times when you just wan to say fuck it all to hell!

WORMWOOD Arkivet

Album · 2021 · Melodic Black Metal
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Time Signature
The loneliness...

Genre: melodic black metal

I think I've said this a couple of times before, but I am not really an expert in black metal. I acknowledge it as a genre of artistic expression, but I am not able to appreciate all its different subgenres as I lack insight into all the little details and conventions that a true aficionado has. However, every now and then, I happen across a black metal band or maybe just a black metal release that clicks with me.

Wormwood's "Arkivet" is one such release.

While it is rich in many of the tropes that make black metal what it is, such as tremolo-picking, harsh and screetchy vocals, and blastbeats galore, the album has another feature that hits it home with me: melody. That is not to say that I don't like the black metal figures that I just mentioned, because I do, and they work really well on this album. They work so well because they are not just juxtaposed with the melodic elements; the harsh intensity and the melody are intertwined in an unholy union of melancholy.

The melodic element consists in guitar melodies, which are often but not always tremolo-picked, along with the chord progressions themselves. Adding a slightly epic feel are atmospheric keyboards, and in a track like "Ensamheten" there is even some traditional Scandinavian folk instrumentation. In addition, there is the occasional breakdown into mellow clean-guitared sections.

"Ensamheten" is Swedish for "the loneliness", and, if there is one emotion that captures the atmosphere on this album, it's gotta be loneliness. There is a pervasive sense of melancholy on this album, and I guess that, with covid and lock-downs and all that, this sense of loneliness and desparation makes this album even more relevant. I'd say that we are not dealing with the typical type of self-pitying attitude that characterizes much melancholic black metal. This is bigger than that. This is about humanity itself. No, seriously, it is; just check out the lyrics. While personal suffering is tragic, the suffering of humanity does raise the stakes just a bit.

I think the songwriting is really good as is the musicianship. We are dealing with a band of musicians who are not afraid of letting melodic sensibilities not just shine through but be the fundament of a black metal release. We are even treated to some pretty good almost rock-like guitar solos every now and then which go well together with the melancholic in-built harmonies that characterize the entire album. The compositions are dynamic with changes and shifts where necessary and lack thereof where necessary. This means that there is a nice blend of black metal hypnoticity and interesting dynamicity.

Not surprisingly, I think this is a great black metal album. It immediately made it into my top ten of black metal albums (for what it's worth, of course, seeing that I'm not a trve kvlt gvy). Fans of melodic, melancholic, folky, and maybe even epic and symphonic black metal should find this a very intriguing listen. It is also likely to appeal tp people who are looking for a gateway into black metal.

ENSLAVED Below the Lights

Album · 2003 · Black Metal
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ssmarcus
"Progression or evolution is best served if it does not include dismissing either the past elements or the future possibilities. Being all about regression makes music rotten from the inside in the long run, while total futurism tears up roots and make the tree fall," said Ivar Bjørnson, founding member and guitarist of Enslaved, in an interview with Metal Bite when Below the Lights first dropped in 2003. While referring specifically to the philosophy behind the music on the band's latest record, Ivar's comments could easily sum up the raison d'etre of many progressive and avant-garde metal acts leading up to and immediately following the turn of the millennium. This was an era where an open frontier of metal music remained undiscovered and many Nordic acts, Norway's Enslaved included, answered the call of exploration.

Below the Lights does its part in advancing these exploratory efforts by expertly threading together the most haunting elements of mellotron based 70's prog, Viking-inspired folk, and modern black metal. Coupled with an iconic album cover and esoteric lyrics, this is a record that fosters a palpable sense of impenetrable mystery. Who exactly is trapped below that snow covered forest? How does their pain and misery square with the abject euphoric beauty explored on tracks like "The Crossing"? Who exactly is having these mystical visions of impending darkness? I am not equipped to even attempt answering these mysteries. I am content with letting that mystery permeate through the music.

Despite the above praise, I'm still unable to afford this record a perfect rating. As I have mentioned in my reviews in the passed, black metal as a style is, for my own personal taste, a liability. Compared to a death metal growl, black metal vocals are thin and grating. If death metal vocals attempt to capture the power and terror of Satan himself, black metal vocals imitate the sounds of the small imps running around stirring trouble on Satan's behalf. Additionally, black metal guitars and drums are too keen on using tremolo techniques as the foundation of entire passages. "As Fire Swept Clean the Earth" could easily have been improved had those tendencies been tamed.

MASTER'S HAMMER Rituál

Album · 1990 · Black Metal
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SilentScream213
Master’s Hammer’s debut is a surprisingly melodic package of classic Black Metal material. Somewhat similar to Bathory’s transitioning stages as they add elements of “epic” sound with synthed choirs, but always stay strictly in first wave Black Metal territory. The band really lean into simple melodic leads, and they work the hell out of it. Every track has got some really memorable riffs despite them being quite simple and containing just a few notes. The drumming is actually a few levels above the other instruments, containing a nice variety of groovy Heavy Metal beats and classic Black Metal blast beating.

The band had plenty of time to perfect their craft with multiple demos and EPs, but this is still technically a debut, and a great one at that. Ritual isn’t the most unique album in the scene, but everything about it is executed extremely well, and the album is a fun, epic, evil ride. Not mind-blowing, but there are really no weaknesses to this thing, a classic example of melodic first wave Black Metal.

YMIR Ymir

Album · 2020 · Pagan Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Time Signature
Winterblasting...

Genre: black metal

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that, while I appreciate black metal as a genre, I am by no means a black metal afficionado, and I'll also be the first to admit that there are some genres of black metal that I simply just don't understand. However, every now and then, I happen across a black metal release that just clicks with me.

Ymir's eponymous 2020-release is one such release. It's not totally lo-fi in production (which might be a reason why I like it), but not polished either. It has a lot of the black metal tropes that so many know and love like the blastbeats, the tremolo picking, the dark atmosphere, and the harsh vocals. One thing that I like is that, while we are not dealing with super complex compositions, there is a nice balance between variation and repetition, so the listener is treated to both the trance-inducing effect of repetition and the excitement of changes and transitions. Another thing that I appreciate is how darkly melodic the entire effort is. Oftentimes, the melody emerges from the tremolo-picked parts themselves, but there are also the occasional melodic leads, which are often simple and melancholic. It all makes for a type of black metal that I feel I can appreciate.

Fans of early 90s black metal as well as of more melodic black metal should find this release appealing. It could also be a gateway for 'noobies' from the more polished contemporary black metal scene into the darker and rougher style of the 90s.

black metal movie reviews

ENSLAVED Live Retaliation

Movie · 2003 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
FMOTP
No reviews yet & only 3 ratings for the great ENSLAVED's 1st video production? To quote Will Smith, "That...is unacceptable." Live Retaliation is a very worthy representation of ENSLAVED live. The concert itself is a bit short, but the band shows its skill in playing their varied and fairly complex music. They play a good mix of their oldest songs and more recent ones; Monumension was the band's most recent album at the time.

The audio tracks are a very nice addition, for folks who don't own a lot of their records. Grutle doesn't interact extensively with the audience in concert, beyond introducing the songs & band members. However, that's a problem I have with the great majority of live concerts. The audio quality could be clearer at times, but I'm quibbling. If you love some progressive rock along with your extreme metal, nobody does it better than ENSLAVED. This is well worth your time and money!

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