Symphonic Black Metal

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Symphonic Black Metal incorporates symphonic or orchestral elements as a backdrop for a number of other black metal sounds (such as atmospheric or melodic black metal), while also being a distinct genre in its own right.

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Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 60 min. caching

AQUILUS Griseus Album Cover Griseus
AQUILUS
4.59 | 7 ratings
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NOKTURNAL MORTUM Lunar Poetry Album Cover Lunar Poetry
NOKTURNAL MORTUM
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EMPEROR Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk Album Cover Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk
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4.24 | 48 ratings
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LIMBONIC ART Moon in the Scorpio Album Cover Moon in the Scorpio
LIMBONIC ART
4.34 | 16 ratings
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DIMMU BORGIR Stormblåst MMV Album Cover Stormblåst MMV
DIMMU BORGIR
4.38 | 12 ratings
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EMPEROR In the Nightside Eclipse Album Cover In the Nightside Eclipse
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4.19 | 59 ratings
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CRADLE OF FILTH Dusk and Her Embrace Album Cover Dusk and Her Embrace
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4.18 | 30 ratings
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SAMAEL Passage Album Cover Passage
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4.23 | 14 ratings
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CARACH ANGREN Death Came Through a Phantom Ship Album Cover Death Came Through a Phantom Ship
CARACH ANGREN
4.19 | 17 ratings
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CHTHONIC Seediq Bale Album Cover Seediq Bale
CHTHONIC
4.31 | 8 ratings
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CARACH ANGREN This Is No Fairytale Album Cover This Is No Fairytale
CARACH ANGREN
4.29 | 8 ratings
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CARACH ANGREN Lammendam Album Cover Lammendam
CARACH ANGREN
4.31 | 7 ratings
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Dimmu Borgir
Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)
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symphonic black metal Music Reviews

SIGH Scenes from Hell

Album · 2010 · Symphonic Black Metal
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Unitron
"Fire is so cold though my blood is boiling in my veins. Vice on virtue, victory on vanity. Answer me now, I will laugh in pain."

Few bands can claim to be as eclectic as the Japanese extreme metal band Sigh. While the band's main sound is based in black metal, the band has made use of a wide variety of influences which includes but is not limited to: classical music, thrash metal, power metal, jazz, and doom metal.

Sigh may be presenting Scenes From Hell, but who knew hell would be an orchestral assault of thrashing black metal riffing. No other song on the album beats the rampage of the opening "Prelude to the Oracle", which never lets up with its rapid thrashing and chaotic orchestrations. After opening with spoken word, "The Red Funeral" blends brooding doom metal and melodic black metal with more strings and orchestra. The latter is pretty much prevalent in the whole album, making the album play out like some sort of demented symphony or movie score, ending with the raging title track as a grand finale.

The production couldn't be any more perfect for the sound of this album, as it has a real dirty and filthy sound that gives a nice contrast between the grimy riffing and also prevalent melody throughout the album. "Prelude to the Oracle" and the title track in particular show this contrast quite well. The murky basslines and stabbing thrashing in the latter are particular great.

If you're looking for some eclectic black metal that lies on the more melodic and thrashing side of the spectrum, you can't do much better than Sigh. The band has many great albums, but to me Scenes From Hell is one of their finest records and most focused. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!

LIMBONIC ART Moon in the Scorpio

Album · 1996 · Symphonic Black Metal
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Warthur
When it comes to Limbonic Art's early albums, I think Moon In the Scorpio has just a slight edge over In Abhorrence Dementia. At points the album hits a spacey atmosphere which, whilst never getting to the sort of weird territory that latter-day Arcturus, Mare Cognitum, or Darkspace gets into, sort of points toward it. The compositions here are also really good, giving each section just enough space to breathe and then shifting on you just as you think you've got a handle on what they are doing. An impressively textured work for a two-musician project, Moon In the Scorpio set a favourable horoscope for Limbonic Art's future trajectory.

AQUILUS Griseus

Album · 2011 · Symphonic Black Metal
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adg211288
Black metal that draws influence from symphonic and even classical music, isn't anything new. In facts bands have been doing it since the early nineties. But with debut album Griseus (2011) Australian one man act Aquilus has taken that idea a step further, creating something quite extraordinary in the process.

The black metal here is an atmospheric brand of symphonic black metal. It's well crafted and powerful, but what sets Griseus apart from other symphonic black metal releases is the tendency to switch the metal off and suddenly delve into passages of pure classical music. I'm not talking cheap symphonic interludes, but actual classical. It's rather reminiscent of film score music actually. There's also a dash of dark folk thrown in here and there on the album too, which provides a further special touch to the proceedings. The use of acoustic guitars on the album certainly shouldn't be underestimated. Lone member Waldorf is clearly a talented composer and player, one who truly knows the meaning of how to be epic in such a way that others trying to achieve something as powerful as this should be put to shame. Griseus is one of those rare releases that has left me completely awestruck after the first listen and hasty repeats of the album have done nothing to diminish that. In fact I've played it no less than ten times before even finishing this review, and it's lost none of its impact. As soon as it finishes I want to play it all over again! It's a massive release too at only just shy of eighty minutes, and it still has that kind of effect on me. Times flies when you're having fun, and so do the best albums.

Though there are eight tracks on Griseus with lengths ranging between 5:35 and 17:30, you can't really take any one of them out of the package and expect to get the same effect as the whole release gives you. In essence this album may as well have been one long track because that's how it works best even with pauses between the compositions. The opener Nihil sets a good example of what the album is all about. It's an incredibly journey through Waldorf's influences. Not counting any of the shorter passages the main parts of the song take you through black metal first, then some classical and then some folk to finish. Whether the tracks are the shorter ones like Latent Thistle and The Fawn or longer epics like In Lands of Ashes and Night Bell, the music never fails to captivate. Griseus is, simply put, one of the best black metal albums I've ever heard. Which is really why this review has been do damn difficult to write, as nothing I can stay about it here will have half as much impact as checking the album out for yourself and, hopefully, being as blown away as I have been.

LIMBONIC ART In Abhorrence Dementia

Album · 1997 · Symphonic Black Metal
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Warthur
Tell me quick: what's the big difference between Dimmu Borgir's accessibly melodic symphonic black metal and Limbonic Art, aside from the personnel? Well, if the difference is "I haven't heard Limbonic Art" I guess it's worth giving In Abhorrence Dementia a go, since it's a bit like early Dimmu Borgir before they started really phoning it in and with better production. That said, whilst there is a lot of sound and fury here I don't feel like it signifies very much at all in the grand scheme of things; it's competently done, but it just doesn't grab me. Cradle of Filth might have run this sort of style into the ground, but at least they had a bit of personality doing it.

CARACH ANGREN Death Came Through a Phantom Ship

Album · 2010 · Symphonic Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
With DEATH CAME THROUGH A PHANTOM SHIP, CARACH ANGREN continued to catch the world’s attention with their unique interpretation of black metal. While most black metal acts tend to emphasize a particular negative emotional response summoning the darkest aspects of depression, fear, evil and the like, this Dutch band took the symphonic route but instead of merely copying obvious influences like Dimmu Borgir or Cradle Of Filth, this band found a niche in the theatrical operatic department. While the vocals are clearly rooted in the black metal world, the musical approach sounds like a black metal opera gone wrong, well wrong in the subject matter. The music is quite adeptly written and performed.

Their second album DEATH CAME… captures their usual black metal fairytale subject matter meets symphonic bombast with this one being an interpretation of “The Flying Dutchman,” which is the legendary cursed ghost ship that was doomed to stay out to sea for eternity. One of the more unique aspects of CARACH ANGREN is that although the lyrics are performed in the typical raspy black metal vocal style, it is actually possible to discern the lyrics and understand the story as it unfolds! How un-kvlt is that?!!

Although i agree with those like me who can tolerate symphonic black metal but find it a precarious balance to maintain a sound that works, i find this album to be an interesting blend of different styles of metal albeit blackened with a nice symphonic backing that serves more as the trampoline for which the metal aspects can bounce off and around rather than the metal itself serving as the backbone. I know this rubs the kvlt crowd in all the wrong ways and likewise any classical music purist would cut their ears off listening to this stuff, but CARACH ANGREN has a way of keeping the musical ideas flowing and therefore interesting.

Although there is a lot to love about this album i can’t quite appreciate it as much as the following “Where The Corpses Sink Forever” where i feel all the elements just gel perfectly together. On DEATH CAME…. all the same elements are present but the balance isn’t quite as honed and the symphonies sometimes feel like a bit of pompous fluff and outstay their welcome. While the black metal is quite well adept at incorporating everything from traditional to thrash aspects of metal and for the most part plays well with its symphonic counterparts, i have to admit that at times it does seem a bit too much like Darkthrone competing with Wagner, nevertheless overall i find enough on DEATH CAME THROUGH A PHANTOM SHIP to enjoy. If you are seeking an eviler-than-fuck type of metal, then run away from this one because this is for those rare breeds who can appreciate a black metal aesthetic coupled with the symphonic compositional skills of a classically trained musician. Not for everyone but rewarding for those who can dig it.

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