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

BOTANIST EP2: Hammer of Botany + Oplopanax Horridus

Album · 2019 · Black Metal
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Kev Rowland
We all love sub genres of sub genres don’t we? Well, Botanist are described as a highly creative Experimental Avant-garde Black Metal band, or, in their perspective, Green Metal. Musically it is mostly drums with piano (with the sustain pedal kept down for the most part) plus some vocals, sometimes males and sometimes female, which may be up in the mix or so far back it is difficult to even hear them. The result is something which definitely has a black metal feel to it, but it shows just how broad the genre is as there are no guitars to be heard. Botanist is a new signing to Aural Music, and to celebrate this is a reissue of 2015’s limited edition ‘EP2: Hammer of Botany’ recording, along with a new song, the 13-minute “Oplopanax Horridus,” (a solo recording from mainman Otrebor, which does contain additional instruments), which takes the total length to 34 minutes.

Apparently, Botanist is highly rated in the scene, and his website is certainly interesting, but this is an artist who really deserves to be heard before purchase and fortunately he has released all his music through Bandcamp, so it is easily obtainable. For me, I can’t imagine ever voluntarily listening to this again, even though I have very wide and eclectic tastes, as this doesn’t work for me although others obviously feel differently about it.

ROTTING CHRIST The Heretics

Album · 2019 · Melodic Black Metal
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Kev Rowland
I was fairly late hearing Rotting Christ for the first time, but even I have been a fan for twenty years now. It is incredible to think that Sakis Tolis (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and his brother Themis (drums) formed this band as long ago as 1987, and now in their thirty-second year they have surely produced an album which is going to make the metal world sit up and take notice. The Greeks have brought in a couple of guests to help out and have then somehow produced one of the most incredible melodic black metal albums I have ever had the privilege to hear. The album opens with monks in their cloisters, a voice describes heretics, and then suddenly the band are crunching into “In The Name of God”. This is one of the most blistering, melodic and heavy black metal numbers I have come across as the riffs blast through in perfect unison, crunching everything into mush beneath the sheer power.

It is an incredibly brutal album, yet it is wrapped in symphonic majestic black metal power, a real iron fist inside a silk glove as it is incredibly commercial yet totally uncompromising all at the same time. That this has been picked up by music buyers and has catapulted it into charts all over the world is not a surprise to me, as any metalhead who hears this (no matter what subgenre they normally listen to) will just be blown away. Irina Zybina makes her presence felt on “Vetry Zlye” with some delicate additional vocals, adding yet another touch of class to what to my ears in a faultless album. I have been playing this a great deal, and I just can’t tire of it, each and every time I listen to it I am blown away by the sheer scale as this is something that feels to be far more than just music. This is a real force, an artistic creation which is monstrously beautiful. Now if only they could tour down here so I can hear this in the live environment then it would feel complete. This is one of the most important albums within this genre ever released, as it cuts through and across so many areas and is an amazing achievement.

PERVERSOR Umbravorous

Album · 2019 · Black Metal
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Kev Rowland
I know very little about this Chile-based band, but they released their debut album as long ago as 2008, and the same line-up has been together since 2009. There have been some EP’s and singles, but the second album didn’t come out until 2015, and this is their third. This is blackened thrash metal with more than one eye on classic Darkthrone and Bathory with perhaps some Sodom thrown in for good measure. Distorted and very angry, here is a band who want to destroy their instruments with aggression as they bring brutal death metal into the mix as well, covering all the bases for an over the top attack on the senses. I also find myself being reminded of the classic Brazilian band Sarcófago, plus a conversation between Bill Steer and Shane Embury on the classic BBC documentary where they were talking about how there were some really good death bands in Chile.

It is brutal, basic, with production as clear as mud, which is just right for this style of music. The vocals are raw and powerful, right in your face, as the maelstrom of noise comes together into something which feels incredibly naïve, incredibly honest, and indisputably powerful. According to the press release, with this album “you're laughing like a madman, hanging on for dear life as the winds of the vortex tear at your body. The music shifts and surges organically; accelerating, settling, exploding”, and I couldn’t have put it better myself. This is brutal stuff which has no place at all in 2019 as it should have come out 20 or 30 years ago, yet here it is in all its dark relentless beauty.

EIKENSKADEN The Black Laments Symphony

Album · 2001 · Melodic Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
EIKENSKADEN is one of the many projects of Stefan Kozak of Metz, France. Other bands he has been involved with are Azerlath, Bolverk and Mystic Forest, the latter of which is what began this project in 1998 after that one ended. Mystic Forest only really got to the demo phase of band projects by the time this one was formed but continued in conjunct with this one. EIKENSKADEN has released four albums to date before truncated the moniker to simply SKADEN. This debut album THE BLACK LAMENTS SYMPHONIE came out in 2001.

Kozak’s interest in EIKENSKADEN was to create a more theatrical classical take on the black metal sound. The usual black metal elements are found in abundance such as tremolo picked guitar riffs, heavy buzzsaw distortion and raspy unintelligible lyrics screamed from under the din along with energetic deliveries that offer blastbeats and raging fury however the chaos is channeled with the order of neoclassical underpinnings which offer a much more melodic black metal experience than the average pissed off second waver.

The project consists of only two members. Kozak plays all the usual instruments which includes guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and piano and Gabriel “Gaabh” Palmieri plays only the lead guitar solos which there are plenty of. In addition to the relentless black metal bombast are soaring atmospheric melodies and introspective moments were classical piano rolls are left in solitude to conjure up a lugubrious melancholy. There are also doomy slower riffs that allow power chords to sustain while a lazy percussive backbeat allows the atmospheric wailing of the lead guitar to slink up and down spaced out musical scales.

While Kozak’s other band Mystic Forest was focused more on atmospheric constructs complete with female vocal parts, EIKENSKADEN is completely dedicated to thick noisy black metal that is married with neoclassical melodic compositional approaches which proves that the black metal aisle of the metal supermarket is the most adaptable to almost anything thrown at it. It almost always sticks and the infusion of Chopin piano chops and progressively infused guitar wails work quite well despite stealing a little thunder from the scary aspects that the genre can muster up.

Second wave black metal purists only interested in Satanic ritual music or evil as fuck bombast will probably hate this as much as Dimmu Borgir gets trashed but if you don’t mind an interesting mix of something that may resemble Symphony X more than Darkthrone at least in melodic flow then this isn’t a bad album at all. There’s enough black metal darkness to keep this from being too cheery but at the same time this style of music will never come close to be tagged depressive black metal either. A very cool hybrid but in the end not really enough variations in the album overall to make it absolutely essential either. This is an interesting album indeed that sits somewhere in between.

YGG Ygg

Album · 2011 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Kharkiv, Ukraine is quite the prolific nook of Eastern European black metal with many bands emerging from its proximity however a closer look will yield the discovery that many of the same artists are involved in many different band projects and the atmospheric black metal YGG is the perfect example. This band so far has released one self-titled album which emerged in 2011 and has remained silent ever since. This is basically a side project of Nokturnal Mortem with bassist / vocalist Vrolok and drummer Odalv hooking up with the newbie / vocalist / guitarist Helg to create a slice of repetitive yet hypnotic atmospheric black metal unlike Nokturnal Mortum and more in the vein of the Russian band Walknut.

Yes, this is a trio but despite only bass, drums, guitars and vocals listed on most credits, there is also plenty of other sounds including something called the vargan or Russian Jew’s harp in intros especially in the annoyingly long 5 minute intro of the album which should be a dead giveaway as it reminds me of Nokturnal Mortem’s equally long intro on “Goat Horns.” Likewise since this is atmospheric black metal there are lots of keyboards albeit kept in the backdrop. Credits are unknown but they are so simply played that anyone could pull off the task of performing them making the identity of the musician irrelevant. The term YGG is interesting. In the Urban Dictionary it is an abbreviation of “You Go Girl” while another musical group of the same name is a trio of MCs that is short for: You Get Grime or You Grime Gods. This one is probably short for Yggdrasil.

Not much to say about this album. If you are familiar with atmospheric black metal then you’ve heard all this before. While the subject matter is Pagan in nature, the lyrics are unintelligible with the usually raspy screams emerging from the din. The musical flow is a lot like early Burzum with a focus on a stream of hypnotic flow of atmospheric black metal bombast rather than any sort of actual diversity in how the composiitons proceed. Unlike many black metal albums the bass and guitar are clearly separated into their own while the vocals are sort of frantic like early Summoning. The atmospheric elements are only audible during the more subdued moments but are present throughout the album’s hour plus 4 minute run. This album is often considered the unofficial followup to Walknut’s one and only album “Graveforests And Their Shadows” which came out in 2007 although there is no relationship other than the stylistic similarities.

YGG created a mixed bag of an album for my tastes. Everything is perfectly executed with the subdued tremolo picked energetic outbursts, better than usual percussive bombast and by the books screamed vocal outbursts but in the end nothing about this album really stands out from the legion of black metal bands that have come and gone over the years. There is nothing remotely epic as heard on Nokturnal Mortem’s best offerings however this is an interesting album in that despite the lack of creativity perfectly exhibits an atmospheric black metal approach that is flawless in its execution and therefore offers a perfect hypnotic trance inducing hour’s worth of atmospheric black metal hypnagogic splendor. Slightly better than average but not exactly a classic either. YGG needed to find some ways of differentiated itself from the multitude of Burzum copycats. Didn’t happen except for maybe a bit more intensity.

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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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