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

EMPEROR In the Nightside Eclipse

Album · 1994 · Symphonic Black Metal
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SilentScream213
While Master’s Hammer actually take the accolade for the first Symphonic Black Metal album, few would disagree that Emperor’s debut improved on and perfected the genre. In the Nightside Eclipse may have singlehandedly launched the boom of Sympho Black albums in the late nineties, and became the template for the genre’s sound. It’s still regarded as widely the greatest Sympho Black album out there. But does it live up to its reputation?

The answer is a resounding yes. Emperor’s debut is a masterpiece of songwriting and dark, cold, but epic atmosphere. Each song is a beautifully crafted piece lush with choirs and strings, yet still heavily focused on classic Black Metal instrumentation. The symphonic aspect is not overbearing or overblow – not that I mind those styles – but it very much serves as a core backbone of atmosphere to the cold Black Metal riffing. Each song is not only dense with nocturnal soundscapes, but there’s a ton going on within the primary band as well. The instrumentation is of very high technique compared to most Black Metal, and the songs are full of varying passages, with fast parts, slow parts, pummeling aggression and more calculated melody.

One of those albums without any glaring flaws. Aside from the pointless into, every song is of equal quality, each has something special about them. No dull moments. Easily lives up to its reputation. Another one of those bands that aced a new style of music on their first try.

ENSLAVED Frost

Album · 1994 · Black Metal
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SilentScream213
Enslaved managed to release 2 fantastic albums in 1994, and it’s a toss up between which is better. They have surprisingly different sounds to them, but due to Frost’s further foray into Viking Metal, it fills a niche as the best Viking Metal album of 1994.

Frost is an incredibly well-played album especially in the world of Black Metal. Songs are approaching Progressive territory with how many changes they have, and there’s a great variety to the drumming as opposed to some of the other Black Metal of the time. Music is dense and often features acoustic instruments and keys backing the primary Metal ensemble. The acoustic guitars especially do a great job adding some extra melodies and a folky atmosphere.

One real problem here… it’s not really Viking Metal. It’s got the lyrical content and some of that folky feel, but overall, the music here is very much Black Metal. Another problem is the song Yggdrasil, which is an awful slog to get through… the rest of the album is strictly great material.

SUMMONING Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame

Album · 2001 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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lukretion
Austrian duo Summoning have carved a unique path within black metal, navigating further and further away from it until they created a whole new genre, halfway between score music and metal. On their fifth full-length album, 2001’s Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame, the band were well into their metamorphosis and by then their sound had consolidated into a distinctive and immediately recognisable style. In this sense, Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame may be perceived as “more of the same”, which is to some extent true, albeit there are subtle variations that give the album its own unique identity compared to previous Summoning’s records.

The music revolves around the combination of epic keyboards and tremolo picked guitar riffs, with the former dominating over the latter. The songs are very symphonic with lots of orchestrations, creating a cinematic, film-music vibe that is further accentuated by the use of spoken samples from the radio productions of The Lord of the Rings. These samples, which are one of the innovations on Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame compared to previous albums, are intertwined with classic black metal growls (sung by both band members, Protector and Silenius) and, in the final song “Farewell”, a clean male choir (another novelty). The mood is epic and majestic, a feeling that is reinforced by the incorporation of “marching” style (sampled) drums and percussions. The songs mostly stay in the mid-tempo range and each track is based on a limited number of riffs and motifs, repeated extensively throughout their considerable length. There are suitable shifts in dynamics throughout most songs, as guitars and drums fade out to let the keyboards carry the music for a few bars. This injects some variation into the compositions and creates a satisfying sense of build and release.

Nevertheless, I feel that, for the most part, Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame works best as background music rather than for attentive, active listening. There isn’t an awful lot going on in each song and many of the tracks explore similar melodic ideas and moods. This makes it hard to retain attention throughout the 56 minutes of the record. For the same reason, it is also hard to pick favourites among the album’s 8 tracks, although “In Hollow Halls beneath the Fells” does come across as the most well-accomplished piece here.

Overall, Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame is a bit of an acquired taste. If you are into the score music / black metal hybrid that Summoning have been cooking up throughout their career, you’ll lap this up eagerly. In fact, Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame may as well be one of the best records the band have released up to this point in their career. It is certainly more assured and pleasant than its 1999’s precursor, the grim, guitar-driven Stronghold. As such, Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame may also be a suitable point of entry into Summoning’s discography for those readers who are uninitiated to the black art of the Austrian combo. Either way, this is a quality release that I may not be returning to very often, but, when I do, it will continue to provide listening pleasures, I am sure.

NEGATIVE PLANE The Pact...

Album · 2022 · Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
NEGATIVE PLANE dates back as far as 2001 when it was founded in Gainesville, Florida and found its unique niche with a mixture of classic heavy metal sounds forged in black metal with its debut “Et In Saecula Saeculorum.” The band caught the world’s attention with its 2006 debut but took another five long years for its followup “Stained Glass Revolutions” to finally see the light of the day. Without even an EP in sight for years this band has been presumed M.I.A. but lo and behold after a whopping eleven year absence NEGATIVE PLANE which now calls New York City its home base has arisen from its slumber and at long last finds its third album THE PACT out in 2022.

The works of the German literature king Goethe is nothing new in the subject matter of classical music or even metal for that matter and NEGATIVE PLANE has adopted the subject matter of Dr Faust and beyond, NEGATIVE PLANE offers an hour’s length of seven tracks that offer that classic 80s speed metal meets black metal sound of Venom and brings it into the modern era. Despite a lengthy absence between albums, the lineup of Nameless Void, Bestial Devotion, D.G. and Thammuz remains intact which allows the band to focus on the chemistry of making their strange mix of early Celtic Frost mixed with the Japanese band Sabbat along with the pummeling speed metal ferocity bands like Helstar.

Paced like a true dramatic theatrical release, the first three tracks which all exceed the eight minute mark showcase the band’s most intense playing style with chugging and oft angular riffing accompanied by the ferocity of speed bass and technical drum rolls. Bestial Devotion offers a vocal style that exists somewhere between the world of 80s speed metal and modern black metal sounding more like Lemmy of Motorhead than either of those respective styles actually. The middle intermission “The Wailing of the Immured” provides a classical orchestration of less than two minutes which offers a nice breather between the intensity of the two sides of the album that bookmark it. The Satanic and evil tales of woe pick up the pace with “Even The Devil Goes Into The Church” with the same aforementioned style of blackened speed metal.a

The grand finale comes with the 16 1/2 minute track “And So It Came To Pass” which finds NEGATIVE PLANE weaving a tapestry of movements into its speed / black metal vision along with moments of clean guitar as well as a heavier reliance on atmospheric backdrops. Given the length of the the tracks on the album, THE PACT in many ways comes off as the modern representation of Venom’s “At War With Satan” and to be honest if someone were to tell me that this was a modern Venom album, a band i don’t keep up with, i might even believe them! In the end this one is what i would call retro metal that evokes some of the classic 80s sounds over four decades ago. The Venom connection is undeniable however since i’ve been been the biggest Venom fan, i have to say that NEGATIVE PLANE in many ways corrects some of the mistakes of Venom’s classic albums.

Overall this isn’t a bad album at all but it seems like it overly relies on the same speed metal riffs decorated in black metal clothing. The diversity factory for such a concept album is painstakingly small and therefore the album does wear thin in its delivery. The closing track is the exception with some nice additional touches that contrast it with the rest of the album but overall the band relies on the same formula which may be fine for some but doesn’t quite take me where i want to go. Still though this is a decent slice of speed meets black metal, two sounds that don’t really commingle much these days and for anyone hoping for a continuation of the classic NEGATIVE PLANE sound then even though it’s eleven years down the road, this is a worthy follow up indeed.

BLUT AUS NORD Disharmonium - Undreamable Abysses

Album · 2022 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Having gestated in the fertile French black metal scene of the 1990s, the Mondeville based BLUT AUS NORD has been quite instrumental in bridging the gap between the worlds of atmospheric black metal and psychedelic electronica and has produced some of the most memorable experiences of surreal metal especially in the 21st century with the mind bending musical antics of “The Work That Transforms God” and beyond. While many a black metal act seems stuck on autopilot, BLUT AUS NORD is one of those rare acts that remains utterly unique in pretty every way and some 30 years on still is crafting the same styles of bestial black metal in fine form.

The power quartet of VIndsval (vocals, guitar), W.D. Feld (drums, electronics, keyboards), GhÖst (bass) and Thorns (drums) returns with its 15th powerhouse DISHARMONIUM - UNDREAMABLE ABYSSES. With an album cover that comes just in time to make one think of the new Dr Strange flick about the Multiverse, it also seems fitting that the bizarre sounds unleashed on this bizarre avant-garde display of black metal and dark ambience does indeed sound like a stroll through some strange path in between universes. Once again BLUT AUS NORD delivers the perfect ingredients of an ominous journey into a hypnotic atmospheric series of soundscapes that teeter between absolute dissonance and infernal elegance.

Like many of the modern BLUT AUS NORD releases, this one sort of oozes its way from beginning to end with a mix of heavy guitar riffs, hyperactive percussion, oscillating sound effects and buried vocals that sound just as out there as ever. While BLUT AUS NORD may not be covering any new ground, i have to say that these guys really don’t need to either. They have successfully inculcated a unique style that even decades later sounds like no other. The impeccable mix of the metal and ambient parts that swarm around like a mad swarm of hornets attacking a choir is literally intoxicating as the music is unrelenting and unsettlingly surreal!

This time around DISHARMONIUM - UNDREAMABLE ABYSSES features seven hypnosis inducing tracks that all sort of gel together fairly comfortably but as an album of this magnitude where the freakery dial is turned up to 11 and beyond, the album is merciful in that it doesn’t exceed much beyond the 46 minute mark. This is truly music that can test your very sanity and too much exposure may indeed cause some sort of mental breakdown of some sort! I happen to have thick skin so i personally love this bizarre chimeric musical display and even though BLUT AUS NORD continues to stick to its formula, it’s one that i personally never grow tired of one little bit.

Still no idea what to call this. Some sort of industrial black metal that utilizes elements from post-rock, dark ritual ambient, depressive black metal and even a bit of stoner doom metal here and there. Whatever this madness it, you cannot mistake these sounds for anything other than the inimitable BLUT AUS NORD which remains one of the French scene’s most dynamic and prolific extreme metal acts. While every album is firmly in the BLUT AUS NORD camp, the band has been clever in how it switches things up subtly from one album to the next and this 15th installment is by no means the exception. Expect elements from the “Memoria” releases as well as the “777” trilogy and beyond. As bleak and inaccessible as ever, BLUT AUS NORD remains one of my favorite extreme metal acts of all time.

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ENSLAVED Live Retaliation

Movie · 2003 · Black Metal
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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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