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

See: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/subgenre/atmospheric-black-metal

War Metal, also known as Bestial Black Metal, is a black metal sub-genre that eschews many of the genre's usual techniques such as trebly tremolo picked guitar playing and raspy growled vocals in favour of down-tuned power chords played as faster speeds compared to other black metal sub-genres in general, even up to grindcore levels, and vocals that are more in line with those used in death metal. Another relation to grindcore that war metal shares is the tendency towards shorter songs. Production values are also different, exchanging the raw cold of typical black metal for a muddy, bass heavy sound that overall, is aimed to come across as sounding chaotic. The war metal name comes from the common themes of war and nuclear holocaust that artists of the genre use though like with any genre, themes are not a strict requirement of war metal. Canada's Blasphemy are commonly considered to be the first band to truly play war metal.

Depressive Black Metal

See: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/subgenre/depressive-black-metal

Melodic Black Metal

See: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/subgenre/melodic-black-metal

Symphonic Black Metal

See: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/subgenre/symphonic-black-metal

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

Sub-genre collaborators:
  • adg211288 (leader)
  • The T 666
  • Dobbie03
  • 666sharon666
  • TheHeavyMetalCat

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black metal Music Reviews

DIMMU BORGIR Forces of the Northern Night

Live album · 2017 · Symphonic Black Metal
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Kev Rowland


It has been way too long since we last heard from Dimmu Borgir, and they have returned with a double DVD set, of which I have been sent the audio (and surely will be released on CD as well). Back in 2010 they performed with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and a full-scale choir in their hometown of Oslo, and this release contains that entire show plus their performance at Wacken Open Air with the National Czech Symphonic Orchestra (as well as an in-depth documentary with behind-the-scenes footage of the massive stage production in Norway). By now the band was down to just a trio, with Shagrath (vocals), Silenoz (guitars) and Galder (guitars) joined by session musicians Daray (drums), Cyrus (bass) and Geir Bratland (keyboards), plus of course everyone else! I always felt that ICS Vortex was a key part of their sound, with his vocals complementing those of Shagrath, but he certainly isn’t missed here with everything else going on.

Their over the top symphonic black metal sound lends itself to the orchestral treatment, and the result is something that is quite extraordinary. The crowd also know that they are seeing something very special indeed, and are vocal in their support of what they are seeing and hearing. It is over the top, it is bombastic, and simply excellent. It is hard to pick a favourite moment among the seventeen songs on offer, but one must admit that “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse” has been lifted to even greater heights with the combination of Dimmu Borgir’s attack, the orchestra providing the backdrop, and Shagrath riding the maelstrom to its natural conclusion. This type of music just doesn’t get any better than this, and this will tide over the fans until the new album is released that they are currently working on.

SATYRICON Dark Medieval Times

Album · 1993 · Black Metal
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adg211288
Often overlooked in favour of the later Nemesis Divina (1996), Dark Medieval Times (1993) is the debut studio album by Norwegian black metal act Satyricon. Some sources insist that the album was actually released in 1994, but evidence, including the band's official website, suggests against this. On this album the long time duo of Satyr (vocals, guitars, bass) and Frost (drums) were joined by Lemarchand (guitars), albeit uncredited due to parting ways with the band and Torden (session keyboards).

I mentioned Nemesis Divina, the group's third album, right off the bat because it's often credited as their best release, but I'd like to refute that notion on behalf of Dark Medieval Times, which actually is the only Satyricon release that's ever really grabbed me as being something special. Of course I will advise to take that statement with a pinch of salt because there are a good number of Satyricon albums that I haven't tried yet. So far though, Dark Medieval Times is the first and only one that's caught my attention instantly.

Albums are made up of many things. First and most important is the music, of course, but the complete package of an album also includes it's title and artwork. Satyricon's Dark Medieval Times is an example of where the artwork, title and music contained within all fit together into one big picture. Rather than a straight black metal album of its time period, we find Satyr and Frost combining the genre's traditional aspects of raw, unpolished guitar and raspy vocals with heavy influences of dark/medieval folk, and even a touch of ambient.

They are sounds from two completely different walks of music, that somehow have always gone very much hand in hand with each other, this album no doubt being an early example. This symbiosis is likely what has resulted in many black metal musicians producing side projects in the ambient, dark/neofolk and neoclassical darkwave styles, including Satyr's own Wongraven album Fjelltronen (1995), an album whose roots are easily heard during Dark Medieval Times seven tracks.

I digress, the combination of the two creates an atmosphere that just fits the title so well. It's dark and it's medieval. And the album as a whole is an excellent experience to take the time to enjoy. Things are achieved no better than during the album's 8:12 minute long title track, where the band trade off sections of black metal and dark medieval folksy atmospheres for a lengthy instrumental closure.

Speaking of atmosphere there are some places where Dark Medieval Times almost becomes an actual atmospheric black metal album. Its black metal parts tend to be a bit too traditionally structures for that to really be the case but when it does have those moments, such as the opener Walk the Path of Sorrow, Satyricon actually do a better job of realising the sound than Burzum ever did.

Satyricon haven't yet managed to become one of my favourite black metal acts but Dark Medieval Times is a different matter. This album is one I'd count among the essentials of the genre, one that everyone who claims to be a fan should be paying attention to and hopefully adding to their collection. Those who prefer their black metal guitar to have a bit more gloss on the production may find it a bit raw of course, but even a little more spit and polish would have resulted in part of the album's special atmosphere being lost, and special atmosphere's like this are usually what makes a true gem of black metal come to life. It certainly does here, not only capturing it's title and artwork but also the sound of the early 90's Norwegian black metal scene. To my ears, Dark Medieval Times is one of the most creative releases to come out of that scene, light-years ahead of what groups like Mayhem, Darkthrone and even Immortal were doing on their first albums.

PILLORIAN Obsidian Arc

Album · 2017 · Black Metal
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Nightfly
After the demise of folky black metal outfit Agalloch in 2016 guitarist and vocalist John Haughm has wasted no time and early 2017 sees the release of Obsidian Arc by his new venture Pillorian. He’s joined forces with drummer Trevor Matthews (Infernus, Uada) and bassist, guitarist Stephen Parker (Maestus, Arkhum).

Anyone still mourning the loss of Agalloch should be cheered up by the fact that Obsidian Arc is a cracking album and dare I say it, without taking anything away from them, better than anything Agalloch released. Whilst there’s inevitably going to be a connection and some of Agalloch’s sound in here, though still present there’s much less of the folk elements and Obsidian Arc is more of a pure black metal album. Apart from Agalloch probably the nearest reference in sound from the member’s previous/currently active bands is Uada. Seven tracks in total of black metal with strong hooks, haunting and melancholic melodies with crushing riffs. Pick of the bunch has got to be Archaen Divinity with its spine tingling slow opening riff packed with plenty of groove until it slips into ferocious blast beat territory. The rest of the albums not far behind though, each song packing considerable punch with memorable hooks that have me hitting replay as soon as it’s all over.

Whilst those drawn to Agalloch for the strong folk elements might be slightly disappointed with the reduction in them here. Nevertheless, most fans of any of the bands associated with the three members of Pillorian should find plenty to get stuck into and enjoy on Obsidian Arc.

FELL RUIN To the Concrete Drifts

Album · 2017 · Black Metal
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adg211288
Having previously released the EP Devices (2015) off their own back, US metallers Fell Ruin have joined forces with I, Voidhanger Records for the release of their debut full-length album, To the Concrete Drifts (2017).

The band have a sound that takes elements from both black metal and doom metal. From the former we get a semi-raw sound and the traditional harsh vocal style and from doom, a tendency towards slow, heavy riffs, but the band also display shifts towards faster playing, all in the space of one song. To the Concrete Drifts features five tracks though the first, Respire, is an intro making The Lucid Shell the first full song. It's a good choice to get a feel for what Fell Ruin are all about, featuring all the above elements and more. The riffs of guitarist Rob Radtke certainly aren't limited to just the two core styles that make up Fell Ruin's music. There's some added complexity in some of the faster parts that pushes the usual boundaries of black and doom metal, and even the odd thrashy bit. The group also use the odd softer section to add to their doom atmospheres, such as the one in The Lucid Shell where Rob Radtke's guitar takes on a minimal role but Jeff McMullen's bass provides a heavy, menacing thunder.

Apart from middle track Spy Fiction Folds in Ready Streets which leans more heavily on the group's black metal side, To the Concrete Drifts features an even blend of black and doom metal elements so the appeal to fans of both genres should be high. The quality is consistent but my impression is that the band never top The Lucid Shell in being definitive for their style, though I do also feel that the album would have benefited from having a little more material rather than clocking in just after thirty-seven minutes in order to achieve a more complete feeling. It does enough though to be a solid debut album for Fell Ruin and it leaves me looking forward to hearing more from them.

MYRKUR M

Album · 2015 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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Warthur
Ignore the purists throwing their toys out of the pram for the various sins against kvlt black metal orthodoxy Myrkur commits. (She's a woman! She used to be in an indie pop band! She brings ethereal folk influences into black metal! The album actually has decent production values!) The presence of Ulver mastermind Garm behind the production desk should be all the clue anyone needed that this wouldn't be your typical straight-ahead black metal release.

Nor is Garm's presence a mere act of tribute; the blending of folk elements and black metal that Myrkur indulges in is reminiscent of early Ulver in its choice of musical elements to intermingle, but unique to Myrkur in how this fusion is actually accomplished near-seamlessly. The upshot is that Myrkur is picking up the baton where Ulver left it when they shifted away from black metal, but running in a decidedly different direction with it - one which has a distinctive sound all of its own. Those out to drag down this album should think again: there will always be purist projects out there trying to recreate Transilvanian Hunger for the millionth time, but for any genre to not stagnate it needs new ideas and directions, and that Myrkur brings to the table in spades.

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