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

black metal top albums

Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy MMA!

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ROTTING CHRIST Ade's Winds

Demo · 1992 · Black Metal
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UMUR
"Ade's Winds" is the 4th demo by Greek death/black metal (later black/gothic metal) act Rotting Christ. The demo was independently released on cassette tape in the autumn of 1992. It bridges the gap between the May 1991 EP "Passage to Arcturo" and the band´s debut full-length studio album "Thy Mighty Contract" from November 1993.

The demo features 2 tracks and a total playing time of 11:20 minutes. Both tracks from the demo appear in re-recorded versions on "Thy Mighty Contract" (1993). The music style is a continuation of the death/black metal style which was initiated on the October 1989 "Satanas Tedeum" demo and continued and further developed on the May 1991 "Passage to Arcturo" EP. Although Rotting Christ are often associated with black metal, this is not your typical blasting black metal release with harsh snarling vocals. It´s rather an atmospheric and predominantly mid-paced type of death/black metal. The occasional use of horror tinged keyboards only further enhance the occult and at times epic atmosphere of the band´s music.

The musicianship is still the weak link, and the clumsy drumming and not particularly developed lead guitar work aren´t that interesting to listen to. The vocals sound really great and Rotting Christ definitely have some strong songwriting ideas too, so there are definitely positives to mention here. "Ade's Winds" features a relatively well sounding demo quality sound production, which isn´t perfect, but does present the material in a decent way. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

ROTTING CHRIST Passage to Arcturo

EP · 1991 · Black Metal
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UMUR
"Passage to Arcturo" is an EP release by Greek death/black metal (later black/gothic metal) act Rotting Christ. The EP was released through Decapiated Records in May 1991. 1990 didn´t see any releases from Rotting Christ so the last release before this EP was the "Satanas Tedeum" demo from October 1989.

Stylistically the over a year long recording break, has meant a maturity in the songwriting, but "Passage to Arcturo" still sounds like the natural successor to "Satanas Tedeum" (1989). It´s maybe slightly more black metal tinged (the guitar sound on both releases have that thin black metal sound to them), but the music is still a combination of death metal and black metal elements. Labelling this a pure black metal release would be wrong (personally I think this release swings more towards death metal). Just listen to the vocals, which are predominantly death metal growling. The band again incorporate the occassional horror tinged keyboard part (and even piano on "Gloria De Domino Inferni"), which enhances the dark an occult atmosphere of the music. "The Forest of N'Gai" is an example of the use of keyboards, but they appear more frequently here than on the preceding demo.

"Passage to Arcturo" features a raw demo quality sound production, but it´s not bad sounding at all and you´re able to hear every instrument and vocal part in the mix. If anything the relatively lo-fi sounding production values only add to the authenticity and occult atmosphere of the EP. Upon conclusion "Passage to Arcturo" shows progress and development from Rotting Christ, and although it´s not a perfect release (the musicianship is still a bit untight, and the spoken work sections unnecessary and a bit cringe worthy), it´s a good quality death/black metal release. A 3 star 60%) rating is warranted.

ROTTING CHRIST Satanas Tedeum

Demo · 1989 · Black Metal
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UMUR
"Satanas Tedeum" is the 3rd demo by Greek death/black metal (later black/gothic metal) act Rotting Christ. The demo was independently released on cassette tape in October 1989. Rotting Christ started life as a grindcore act and that´s also the music style heard on their first two demos "Leprosy of Death" (November 1988) and "Decline's Return" (January 1989), but things have obviously changed a lot since the release of "Decline's Return" (1989).

Stylistically the material on the 5 track, 17:11 minutes long demo is death/black metal. The vocals are death metal growling and I´d predominantly label the instrumental part of the music death metal too, but there are some black metal traits in the music pointing in the future direction of the band ("The Nereid of Esgalduin" is for example a black metal tinged track, although the vocals are death metal growling). Atmospheric (horror tinged) keyboards occasionally play a role in the music and to great effect.

"Satanas Tedeum" features a well sounding demo production, where all instruments and vocals are audible in the soundscape. The demo reeks a dark and occult atmosphere, and it´s one of the great assets of the release. Considering the low quality of songwriting (or at least the one-dimensional nature of it) the band displayed on the first couple of demos, "Satanas Tedeum" comes off as a very impressive release, and it did lead to the band being signed by Decapitated Records for the release of the May 1991 EP "Passage to Arcturo". A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

FEN The Malediction Fields

Album · 2009 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
One of the early pioneers of what has become known as blackgaze, the London based FEN has been referred to as the English Agolloch and for great reason. Both bands develop lengthy soundscapes that evoke vast desolate terrains that are bereft of hope and fuse the world of atmospheric black metal with post-rock, acoustic guitar passages and nightmarish atmospheres although FEN while following Agolloch’s footsteps, took things into even bleaker depths of depression and without the folk elements.

Formed in 2006 and named after the Fens of East Anglia, the quartet of The Watcher [Frank Allain] (vocals, guitar), Grungyn [Adam Allain] (bass), Theutus [Daniel Spender] (drums) and Draugluin (keyboards) released the EPs “Ancient Sorrow” and “Onset of Winter” before unleashing this ferocious debut THE MALEDICTION FIELDS onto the world. Given the success of the first blackgaze band Alcest, FEN followed the stylistic approach only kept the fiery black metal aspects in tact making their debut sound like an early second wave black metal album that incorporated the world of post-rock.

The seven tracks that make up THE MALEDICTION FIELDS feature atmospheric and ambient soundscapes that alternate between depressive acoustic passages and caustic black metal outbursts and everything in between. While black metal in general is usually uptempo with blastbeats in a furious rampage, FEN opted for a mellower mid-tempo trot. The band has been called the perfect mix of Agalloch, Negura Bunget, Primordial and Burzum but of course that only gets you in the right ballpark. Like many of these bands, The Watcher’s vocals range from raspy screams to clean melodic ones.

Unlike much post-rock and -metal, FEN offers melodic song structures that simply extend the playing times with long repetitive and hypnotic extensions. The track lengths all exceed seven minutes (minus one that misses by two seconds). The song structure also adopts subtle influences from progressive rock with complex arrangements that don’t seem quite so because of the slower ratcheting up effect. Like most bands that fall into the world of blackgaze, this one sort of meanders and implements the harsh tones, timbres and distortion of black metal but basically in the music itself falls into the world of post-rock and mellow prog.

This was highly touted as the next best thing when it was released in 2009 but i can’t say i’m the hugest fan of THE MALEDICTION FIELDS. It’s definitely an interesting and unique experience but it seems lopsided in many ways. While the black metal parts are performed exquisitely, the clean vocal parts are quite weak to my ears. There’s just something that seems to be missing and i can’t quite put my finger on it. The album is also way too long with one too many sprawlers for my liking. The most unsavory parts come when the raspy black metal vocals are singing in tandem with the clean vocals. Some sort of beauty and the beast take that falls flat. Innovative for sure but pleasant to listen to over the long run? Not really. This is definitely one of those albums that once the wow factor wears off it becomes quite average.

COFFIN FUCK Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Single · 2021 · Black Metal
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Vim Fuego
Ho, ho, fuck...

Yep, it’s Christmas time, so the world’s most (only?) Christmassy death metal band Coffin Fuck have made their annual trip to the studio somewhere near their home base of Hopatcong, New Jersey. COVID played the Grinch in 2020, the first time in a decade a Coffin Fuck Christmas single didn’t eventuate, so the three lads in their silly sweaters are making up for lost time this year.

But something has changed.

Yes, it’s the usual three self-professed dorks mangling a Christmas song in a so-bad-it’s-good completely unproduced metal manner. Yes, the lyrics are mostly inappropriate and silly. And yes, the artwork to this year’s offering “Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree” looks to have been hand drawn using Microsoft Paint.

But therein lies a clue: there’s a rough hand-rendered version of the most famous image in black metal history. No, not Dead’s splattery “excuse the mess” farewell. No, no! Not Count Grishnakh posing with the over-sized butter knife. The OTHER most famous image from black metal. You know, Abbath and Demonaz in full battle dress and badger make-up ready to shovel snow with their guitars from the cover of “Battles in the North”.

Yep, Coffin Fuck have passed over to the dark side. This year’s Christmas single is... black metal!

And actually, it’s not half bad. Well OK, it is pretty bad, but that’s the point. It’s standard-ish black metal with fast, reedy sounding guitars, and blasts and snare drum flurries like you’d expect, but it’s the funny little foibles which make Coffin Fuck such fun. The tuneless vocal tuning at the start of the song. The clunky solo mid-song. The stupid lyrics – “You will get a detrimental feeling when you hear/heathens screaming, worship Santa” and “Have a Misanthropic day/Everyone glaring evilly/In the most trve nekro way”.

Yep, it’s dumb as fuck, but that’s why it’s fun. Merry Antichrist-mas!

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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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