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

NOKTURNAL MORTUM Lunar Poetry Album Cover Lunar Poetry
NOKTURNAL MORTUM
4.44 | 12 ratings
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AQUILUS Griseus Album Cover Griseus
AQUILUS
4.59 | 7 ratings
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EMPEROR Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk Album Cover Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk
EMPEROR
4.26 | 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
EMPEROR
4.19 | 59 ratings
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SAMAEL Passage Album Cover Passage
SAMAEL
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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LIMBONIC ART Epitome of Illusions Album Cover Epitome of Illusions
LIMBONIC ART
4.24 | 9 ratings
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Forces of the Northern Night
Live album
DIMMU BORGIR
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Dimmu Borgir
Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)
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Single
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Luciform
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A New Land to Find
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symphonic black metal Music Reviews

DIMMU BORGIR Forces of the Northern Night

Live album · 2017 · Symphonic Black Metal
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Kev Rowland


It has been way too long since we last heard from Dimmu Borgir, and they have returned with a double DVD set, of which I have been sent the audio (and surely will be released on CD as well). Back in 2010 they performed with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and a full-scale choir in their hometown of Oslo, and this release contains that entire show plus their performance at Wacken Open Air with the National Czech Symphonic Orchestra (as well as an in-depth documentary with behind-the-scenes footage of the massive stage production in Norway). By now the band was down to just a trio, with Shagrath (vocals), Silenoz (guitars) and Galder (guitars) joined by session musicians Daray (drums), Cyrus (bass) and Geir Bratland (keyboards), plus of course everyone else! I always felt that ICS Vortex was a key part of their sound, with his vocals complementing those of Shagrath, but he certainly isn’t missed here with everything else going on.

Their over the top symphonic black metal sound lends itself to the orchestral treatment, and the result is something that is quite extraordinary. The crowd also know that they are seeing something very special indeed, and are vocal in their support of what they are seeing and hearing. It is over the top, it is bombastic, and simply excellent. It is hard to pick a favourite moment among the seventeen songs on offer, but one must admit that “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse” has been lifted to even greater heights with the combination of Dimmu Borgir’s attack, the orchestra providing the backdrop, and Shagrath riding the maelstrom to its natural conclusion. This type of music just doesn’t get any better than this, and this will tide over the fans until the new album is released that they are currently working on.

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.

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