War Metal

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War Metal, also known as Bestial Black Metal, is a style of metal music that fuses elements of black metal and death metal, but is considered district from more traditional black/death metal fusions and blackened death metal sounds. Though considered a sub-genre of black metal, the genre does draw extensively from death metal as well, with death metal style growling being a prominent feature of the style, compared to other types of black metal which favour a more raspy style. This can often lead to misidentification of war metal bands, especially since the style also eschews many of the black metal genre's other typical traits, such as trebly tremolo picked guitar playing, which is often replaced by fast, down-tuned power crowds. The production sound of war metal tends to come across as muddy and chaotic, rather than cold and atmospheric.

Canada's Blasphemy are commonly considered to be the first band to truly play the genre known as war metal. Other reasonably known names in the field include Archgoat and Morbosidad. The genre remains, however, a very niche style that few play and even fewer can claim familiarity with.

War metal can also draw on grindcore, especially in regard to playing speed and the tendency for artists to write short songs, with many war metal albums clocking in at under forty or even thirty minutes. Though not as associated with grindcore as it is death metal, some artists have been credited for fusing war metal and grindcore together, such as Revenge from Canada.

The name of the genre comes from the prevalent themes of war and nuclear holocaust that artists of the genre use, though like with any style of metal war metal bands can cover any kind of subject matter and in this respect the more accurate name for the style is actually Bestial Black Metal. However War Metal is the name more commonly used and as such is the name displayed on Metal Music Archives.

- Style definition written by adg211288.

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BLASPHEMY Gods of War Album Cover Gods of War
4.28 | 5 ratings
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ARCHGOAT The Light-Devouring Darkness Album Cover The Light-Devouring Darkness
4.25 | 4 ratings
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ARCHGOAT Whore of Bethlehem Album Cover Whore of Bethlehem
4.15 | 7 ratings
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TEITANBLOOD Death Album Cover Death
4.17 | 3 ratings
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WEREGOAT Pestilential Rites Of Infernal Fornification Album Cover Pestilential Rites Of Infernal Fornification
4.14 | 3 ratings
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REVENGE Scum.Collapse.Eradication Album Cover Scum.Collapse.Eradication
3.92 | 4 ratings
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ARCHGOAT The Apocalyptic Triumphator Album Cover The Apocalyptic Triumphator
3.83 | 3 ratings
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ARCHGOAT Whore of Bethlehem

Album · 2006 · War Metal
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Go down that dark alleyway at the intersection of brutal death metal and lo-fi black metal and you'll get coshed over the head by the gutteral hybrid style known as war metal. Archgoat's Whore of Bethlehem is a short, sharp burst of fury, adeptly deploying the most brutal weapons in the war metal arsenal. From the subgenre's black metal heritage, you have a filthy, murky production sound which evokes a deliciously evil atmosphere; from the brutal death metal side of the family tree, you have the gutteral grunts of Lord Angelslayer and a tendency to stick to the lower end of the sonic spectrum. This is metal you might hear coming from an enemy warlord's bunker on the battlefields of World War IV.

I'm not sure I'd want much more than 35 minutes of Archgoat in one sitting, or many more albums in a similar vein, but as far as comprehensive explorations of a very niche musical style goes Whore of Bethlehem is pretty decent.


Album · 1993 · War Metal
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BLASPHEMY may have been one of the more influential bands of the early years of extreme metal by crafting the first example of what would be called war metal, war black metal or bestial black metal but they were hardly the most prolific band around. The band formed all the way back in 1984 in Vancouver, BC, Canada but didn’t even release the first demo until 1989 and the debut album “Fallen Angel Of Doom” until 1990. It took three years to record the followup GODS OF WAR and then it was only slightly over 20 minutes long. All re-releases have included the demo “Blood Upon The Altar” tagged to the end to make it a full-album’s length.

GODS OF WAR doesn’t deviate too much from what was laid down on the debut but did find a new bassist joining Satan’s team with Ace Gustapo Necrosleezer and Vaginal Commands. As far as i know i think BLASPHEMY initiated this trend of ridiculous stage names within black metal and the core metal subs that would catch on. One of the main reasons for a delay in a sophomore release was the souring of relations with the Wild Records label which despite “Fallen Angel Of Doom” selling fairly well, failed to pay any royalties to the band for it. The band sought out a new label and ended up on the well established Osmose that had already found success with bands like Samuel, Massacre, Immortal and Pan.Thy.Monium.

Focusing more on the grindcore influences of Repulsion and the hardcore punk of Discharge, BLASPHEMY crank out an even more intense slap in the face of aggression with GODS OF WAR. As succinct as the playing time is the album runs on full throttle for its brief 20 mintute tirade. The guitar riffs are on fire as they whiz up and down the scales with Morbid Angel inspired squealing solos and heavier percussive drive that makes GODS OF WAR sound like a true soundtrack for the battle field. Nocturnal Grave Desecrator and Black Winds’ guttural growls are more diverse this time around despite never approaching intelligible and the overall song structures are more varied with slow churning doom riffs finding a place amongst the buzzsaw down tuned chugging riffs.

Just as they were getting started, BLASPHEMY took a hiatus in 1994 and wouldn’t regroup until 1999. The band has always been a bit unusual but remained so for even as they got back together have still never released another studio album to date, however they have released a few live albums as well as a couple more demos. GODS OF WAR takes BLASPHEMY to the next step but it’s rather disappointing that it was cut off in the middle of the album and then never has found resolution. Perhaps it all lends an air of mystery around the band that debuted the wonderful world of war metal, which i guess is fitting since the music is just as unstable and ready to collapse under its own weight. Nevertheless, GODS OF WAR is the perfect followup even if it’s way too short.

BLASPHEMY Fallen Angel of Doom....

Album · 1990 · War Metal
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The fiery pits where the earliest black metal bands were forged were sparing in their early yields of fledgling bands developing the style that didn’t quite scratch the itch on Venom’s earliest recordings. While Scandinavia was the hotbed of second wave black metal taking the world by storm with Bathory and Mayhem crafting the earliest known sounds to be called true black metal, half the world away in Vancouver, BC, Canada another band had its hand in crafting its own cacophonous sonic terror. BLASPHEMY formed all the way back in 1984 but wouldn’t release the first demo “Blood Upon The Altar” until 1989. While Bathory and Mayhem were responsible for unleashing the first black metal recordings onto an unsuspecting world, BLASPHEMY was still in its embryonic stage gestating the most brutal and aggressive noisefest possible.

The wait was worth it since BLASPHEMY crafted the earliest sounds that would be deemed war metal (also known as war black metal or bestial black metal). This band took the aggressive, the cacophonous and the chaotic to even more extreme levels by following in the footsteps of some of the 80s most intense metal bands like Sodom and Possessed along with early grindcore like Repulsion as well as the death metal sounds of Autopsy, Sarcófago and early Sepultura. After the demo was released BLASPHEMY followed up with the debut FALLEN ANGEL OF DOOM the next year with cover art so vile and blasphemous that the style of a war metal bands to come would copy the tricolor schematic of black, white and red with monstrous depictions of Satanic beasts and anti-Christian themes. And according to Terrorizer magazine, this album is heavier than the entire forests of Canada falling on your big toe.

BLASPHEMY was a quartet and donned unusual Gwar-like personas with terrifying stage names like Black Hearts of Damnation and Impurity (drums), Nocturnal Grave Desecrator and Black Winds (bass, lead vocals), Traditional Sodomizer of the Goddess of Perversity (rhythm guitars, backing vocals) and the crazed lead guitarist Caller Of The Storms who happened to be one of the very few black guitarists who would forsake the world of funk and hip hop and join the ranks of the noisiest legion of sonic terrorists the early 90s had to offer in the world of black metal. With subject matter steeped in Satanism and demonology, BLASPHEMY became one of the most revered bands in the underground extreme metal scene and was signed to the Wild Rags label while touring the US.

FALLEN ANGEL OF DOOM is a short blast in the hellfire pits of early war metal with surreal intro effects that lead into down-tuned hellish fury that finds frenetic power chords, blastbeat percussion and low guttural growls coalescing into distorted monstrous dinfests with punk infused brevity. Breaking out the squealing solos, Caller Of The Storms displays how the war metal segment at the black metal store has much more in common with old school death metal than Scandinavian contemporaries that utilized trebly lo-fi tremolo picking as the primary means of expression. At the time this debut album was released, BLASPHEMY had no competition in the war metal but soon their influence would spread far and wide with bands like Beherit, Archgoat and Impaled Nazarene quickly joining the deathened black metal pits from whence this vile din of perversity found life.

Like many other artists who develop a new style, BLASPHEMY’s debut FALLEN ANGEL OF DOOM has become a classic for its infidel influences on the entire extreme metal scene that would follow. Despite its classic status the album wasn’t rereleased for over a decade and finally found new life in 2007 on the Nuclear War Now! label. While not the best example that black metal has to offer, the incessant deathened core influences that BLASPHEMY mashed into the second wave black metal sounds are staggering and about as extreme and sacrilegious as music could get in 1990, a year when both black metal and death metal were barely out of the cradle. Not my favorite but still a classic.

WEREGOAT Pestilential Rites Of Infernal Fornification

Album · 2017 · War Metal
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Formed in 2009 in Portland, Oregon, the war metal masters WEREGOAT followed in the footsteps of other war metal pioneers such as Teitanblood, Blasphemy, Archgoat and Beherit. In accord with their influences, the bestial black metal band WEREGOAT continued the depravation by releasing two EPs in 2011 and 2013 with a split with Diocletian appearing in between. Finally in 2017 they release their first full-length release PESTILENTIAL RITES OF INFERNAL FORNICATION and prove that they have what it takes to summon the attention of the darkened gutter world with a extraordinarily strong bestial debut release. Very much in the vein of Blasphemy or any of the aforementioned bands WEREGOAT practice a darkened ritual of heavy aggressive and fast downtuned power chords, grindcore bursts of frenetic energy and traces of death metal never too far behind. While the chords have that staunch black metal wall of sound buzz saw effect, the riffs have more of a death metal edge to them as do the growled lower register vocals that don’t have that famous black metal shrieked rasp.

PESTILENTIAL RITES OF INFERNAL FORNICATION is an wickedly perverse venture into the world of musical degeneracy with relentless musical fortitude forging new ways into every taboo subject possible. The album cover pretty much sums up what you’ll experience on this one and the music does feel like a horror film to a forced spawning session of Satan while the dark priests gaze in admiration of their master as he violently gestates his bloodline in the most unthinkable ways possible. Musically this has a very strong relation to early second wave black metal with some of the more energetic bands like Gorgoroth and Marduk coming to mind but delivered with a hybridization of that early death metal sound that Morbid Angel was known for with those pummeling heavily distorted riffs and the sudden unexpected squealing guitar solos. There are even some nice guitar tricks that make the squeals sound like a horse in the midst of an infernal battle as the war frenzy commences.

Vile and repugnant as fuck, WEREGOAT prove that there is a fiercely staunch underground splinter of the black metal world that refuses to add symphonic elements, cute cuddly melodies or even one tiny element of compromise. While many a war metal band can sound pretty monotonous after experiencing a 38 minute time run, WEREGOAT find ways to deliver dynamic shifts despite the unrelenting brutality and hellish overtones blasted out in every note. Even the slower parts are pure evil and exude the whiff of sacrificial blood and semen stained corpses. I find this debut by WEREGOAT to be an excellent example of taking all the most extreme elements of both the black and death metal universes and fusing them together like a Satanic centaur roaming the caverns of Hades. The album titles say it all. You will truly feel “Molested By Evil” as you observe how the “Forked Tongue Lashes Between The Virgin’s Thighs”. This album will keep you “Under The Whip” as “Malediction Command” evokes the “Goatlust Invocation” until one can’t cease from “Screaming Forth Endless Blasphemies and Emitting Foul Seed upon the Pitiful Face of Benevolence.”

BLASPHEMY Blood Upon the Altar

Promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs) · 1989 · War Metal
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In the 80s when the Satanic bowels of hell were giving birth to deformed fetuses only partially infused with slimy maggoty life, they were endowed with a spark of pure evil which gave them the impetus to create massive quantities of musical mayhem in the name of hate of religion, death, pain and misanthropy. Such creatures became the early nascent forms of black metal such as Celtic Frost, early Bathory and Mayhem. But some were irradiated by melted down nuclear reactors and Satanic sludge that mutated them into maniacal creatures so vile and repugnant that they took pure musical aggression where it had never gone before.

True musical bleakness was born in the fire pits of Vancouver, BC with the help of BLASPHEMY which on their first demo / EP release BLOOD UPON THE ALTER is the first fully developed example of war metal, which is a highly aggressive and chaotic type of metal that sounds a lot like death metal in its musical hostility but incorporates the anti Christian philosophies and misanthropic vile of what black metal would become famous for. On this release we hear a typified war metal sound solidly unleashing pure hostility rather than atmosphere much in the same as early black turned thrash bands like Sepultura or Sarcófago. There is a hardcore crust punk brevity to the tracks with occasional high pitched guitar solos.

Unlike most black metal from the second wave onwards that developed a certain template for the sub genre, war metal does not engage in a trebly lo-fi veneer with lightning fast tremolo picking but rather murky, muddy bleakness with emphasis on the bass with tortured vocals more akin to death than the shrieks more familiar with black. While many a black metal band lays the Satanic imagery and lyrics on a bit thick, war metal bands like BLASPHEMY are known for the outrageous and unrelenting over-the-top approach to their darkness. If you like the loudest, crudest and most obnoxious music ever to assault the ear drums then all roads lead back to BLASHPHEMY and their debut release BLOOD UPON THE ALTER, which boldly adopts the imagery and lyrics of Slayer, Mayhem, Possessed, Bathory and others and injects a healthy dose of Satanic steroids to conjure up one massive mess of sonic assault. Check em out if you dare!

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