Depressive Black Metal

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Depressive Black Metal or Depressive Suicidal Black Metal (DSBM) in full, is one of the sub-genres of black metal music. It tends to be more monotone, repetitive and droning with an aim to be hypnotic. Ambient influences may be included and while there is some crossover with atmospheric black metal especially, the mood intended to be put across by this style is very different. Vocals in depressive black metal bands tend to drift from the traditional raspy growls and into something more akin to a despairing wail. Lyrical themes will also usually deal with subjects of depression and suicide. It is not music designed for a happy listener.

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XASTHUR To Violate the Oblivious Album Cover To Violate the Oblivious
XASTHUR
4.32 | 5 ratings
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SHINING V: Halmstad Album Cover V: Halmstad
SHINING
4.15 | 15 ratings
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TODESSTOß Ebne Graun Album Cover Ebne Graun
TODESSTOß
4.33 | 3 ratings
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GRIS Il Était une Forêt... Album Cover Il Était une Forêt...
GRIS
4.11 | 7 ratings
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LEVIATHAN (CA) The Tenth Sub Level of Suicide Album Cover The Tenth Sub Level of Suicide
LEVIATHAN (CA)
4.02 | 15 ratings
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BETHLEHEM Dictius Te Necare Album Cover Dictius Te Necare
BETHLEHEM
4.10 | 5 ratings
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XASTHUR Subliminal Genocide Album Cover Subliminal Genocide
XASTHUR
4.00 | 5 ratings
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SILENCER Death - Pierce Me Album Cover Death - Pierce Me
SILENCER
3.96 | 5 ratings
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SHINING IV: The Eerie Cold Album Cover IV: The Eerie Cold
SHINING
3.85 | 12 ratings
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GRIS À l'âme enflammée, l'äme constellée... Album Cover À l'âme enflammée, l'äme constellée...
GRIS
3.85 | 5 ratings
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ABYSSIC HATE Suicidal Emotions Album Cover Suicidal Emotions
ABYSSIC HATE
3.77 | 3 ratings
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SHINING I: Within Deep Dark Chambers Album Cover I: Within Deep Dark Chambers
SHINING
3.62 | 5 ratings
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depressive black metal Music Reviews

XASTHUR Subliminal Genocide

Album · 2006 · Depressive Black Metal
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Warthur
Continuing and intensifying the approach of To Violate the Oblivious (even the cover art looks similar), Subliminal Genocide finds Xasthur main man Malefic continuing his project of applying atmospheric black metal techniques to depressive black metal mood and subject matter. Oppressively doomy and refreshingly experimental by turns, the album feels like a sort of weird opposite of psychedelia - whilst psychedelic music tries to open up your mind to wild vistas, Xasthur's music is more numbing, yielding an anaesthetic haze in which everything winds down until only the music is left. Maybe it's not a wild divergence the from the rest of his black metal material, but it's a decent entry in his discography.

PALE MIST Spreading My Wings into the Abyss That Calls

Album · 2016 · Depressive Black Metal
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adg211288
Spreading My Wings into the Abyss That Calls (2016) is the second full-length album by UK depressive black metal act Pale Mist. The solo project of Glomor, he's released an EP and a split in the time since the debut album Where the Darkness Is Praised (2012) was released. The album was originally released on CD and digital formats by Sinister Stench Productions with a limited cassette release following in 2017 through Heidenwut Productions.

The album opens with Through the Thick Fog of Misery and Woe, an instrumental that slowly builds up the album towards it's first vocal track, which is the title track Spreading My Wings into the Abyss That Calls, which is noticeable more aggressive than the former, where the guitars have quite a jangly tone, which is repeated in other tracks of the album including the eighteen minute long Embraced by the Pale Mist. I rather like the tone of those parts actually; they give the record what in my experience of the black metal genre as a whole is an atypical sound. There are also quite a few more clean tone parts used on the album as well, including a second instrumental, Gazing, Opening the Barriers. When used in the tracks with vocals though the clean parts when combined with the growls create a surprisingly dark vibe, more so than the heavier parts of the album manage. The album's finale is The Welcoming Glow of the Moon, another long track at just over twelve minutes.

Though the album as a whole does fit the mood of a depressive black metal release due to its rather bleak sound and a semi-raw production it's overall a lot more accessible than some such bands are. Glomor sticks to using growls, albeit fairly tortured sounding ones, and doesn't throw any of those wailing and whimpering like clean vocals that some DSBM bands like Taiga or Todesstoß use. You know, the kind that can really grate on one's nerves after a while. Fortunately there's none of that nonsense here and Spreading My Wings into the Abyss That Calls is a better album for it. I didn't hear of this album until after the year of its release, but I definitely count it as one of my best 2016 finds from after the event.

GHOST BATH Starmourner

Album · 2017 · Depressive Black Metal
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Kev Rowland
I was sent this by the record label to review, but still know virtually nothing about the band. I know it’s their third album, and that they were formed by Nameless (vocals, guitar, piano), but even though they are touring and there are five of them in the band the guys aren’t listed on the press release, or the band’s own homepage, or their Facebook page (I tried, honest). In addition, their debut EP was released on both a Russian and Chinese label, and I don’t even know what country they’re from! Apparently the stories, or parables, look into Jewish angelology and the hierarchy of angels as found in the bible and other religious texts," says Nameless. Although the album has a definitive joyful and hopeful feel, it is still drenched in depression and sorry, as any true Ghost Bath record should be."

So, they’ve put a lot of work into staying anonymous, apparently so that listeners aren’t distracted from their brand of depressive black metal. And I can understand why listeners might easily be distracted, as in all fairness this isn’t all that good. Easily the best parts of this album are the artwork (and apparently the CD booklet has each track accompanied by a beautifully crafted painting as well as a "parable" to read alongside), and the first song which is a delicate piano instrumental. The rest of it is well-recorded and produced but these are the only positive comments I really have. In “Ambrosial” the same chord is repeated so many times that I felt like slashing my wrists or turning the album off, whichever I could get the most energy for.

Black Metal as a genre contains many groundbreaking and inspiring bands, this isn’t one of them.

TODESSTOß Hirngemeer

Album · 2015 · Depressive Black Metal
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adg211288
In the world of avant-garde metal there are many crazy albums. There are many downright weird albums. And there are also albums like Hirngemeer (2015) by German act Todesstoß, which sound like something straight out of a nightmare and are completely fucking unhinged. The release is the seventh full-length album released under the moniker, but the first with an extended line-up. Joining founder and previous sole member Martin Lang is Euer Gnaden (bass) and Flesh of L (vocals). Hirngemeer (apparently meaning Brainworm if Google Translate is accurate), contains just three tracks but lasts for a massive near seventy-five minutes of music.

The album should come with a warning sticker telling potential listeners not to approach unless they are feeling brave and open-minded. In every traditional sense of what music is supposed to be, Hirngemeer just isn't it. It's three tracks clock in at 28:25, 34:05 and 12:18 respectively and on the surface nothing seems particularly structured and certainly not good in the usual way that music is supposed to be, but it's all an illusion. Pay closer attention to what's happening and there's a method in the madness that's actually quite out in the open, with some true genius in the instrumental work from the two instrumentalists, especially the bass of Euer Gnaden. Martin Lang does everything else, including liberal use of a harmonica on opener Verwehung, while Flesh of L spews the German language lyrics, sometimes like he's been possessed by a demon, at others like he's desperately trying to escape its menacing clutches and is utterly terrified about what it might do to him. It's depressive black metal at its core, with many other elements detectable the more the album is listened to, notably funeral doom metal and ambient ideas, but seems more designed to drive its listener to madness than suicide.

That's the first track at least, the second and longest Narbenkäfig is surprisingly more restrained on its use of these elements, though it still maintains a lot of them and a general air of menace. And it goes on for such a long time that it really does present the impression that they'll be no escape from whatever hell Todesstoß are trapped in. Finally, the shortest of the three tracks is Strom der Augenblicke, which actually takes the album in a non-metal direction to finish the bizarre journey off but is of course no less dark and creepy for the lack of metal elements.

Hirngemeer is just too crazy to be an album that many could enjoy on a regular basis, but I admit to finding a strange kind of fascination with it. It's something that you could listen to a dozen times and still not really understand and I think that may even be the band's intention. You're not meant to understand the album. It's a window into a warped mind, one you wouldn't want to own but is kind of eye-opening to visit and an album that's quite unlike anything else I've ever come across, not even the other Todesstoß album I've heard, Ebne Graun (2017), which is comparatively sane and structured. Listen to this when you reach the point where you feel that you've heard everything else black metal has to offer.

XASTHUR To Violate the Oblivious

Album · 2004 · Depressive Black Metal
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Warthur
Xasthur has long stood as an example of a one-musician black metal project Doing It Right, chasing Malefic's particular aesthetic vision without compromise and wherever it may lead (even if that's out of black metal altogether, as on his recent dark folk and gothic country releases). To Violate the Oblivious is a remarkable black metal release combining the raw emotional catharsis of the best depressive black metal with the all-encompassing immersive moods of the best atmospheric black metal. Goodness knows what the lad is so upset about, but he's intent on the whole world knowing about it. Bedroom black metal never sounded so good.

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