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

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NAGELFAR Hünengrab im Herbst Album Cover Hünengrab im Herbst
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DEATHSPELL OMEGA Veritas Diaboli Manet in Aeternum: Chaining the Katechon Album Cover Veritas Diaboli Manet in Aeternum: Chaining the Katechon
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black metal Music Reviews

MGŁA Age of Excuse

Album · 2019 · Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Black metal has emerged as one of the most creative and fertile grounds in all the metal universe where countless hybrids of musical genres have cross-pollinated and resulted in some of the most forward-thinking stylistic approaches in the entire metal universe so it always boggles my mind when a rather ordinary run of the mill band seems to emerge from the darkened battlefields and achieve a major victory in terms of commercial success and popularity. The Polish black metal outfit MGŁA is exactly one of those types of bands that i’m talking about and this band ain’t no Behemoth or Batushka.

Having formed in 2000 as the duo of multi-instrumentalist Mikołaj "M." Żentara with the collaboration of drummer Dariusz "Daren" Piper after playing together in Kriegmaschine, Daren moved on in 2006 just as M continued on to create a series of EPs and full-length albums and since then has steadily enamored the black metal world like very few have in recent days once the current drummer / percussionist Darkside (Maciej Kowalski) joined forces and conspired to conquer the world from their dark metal headquarters in Krakow, Poland.

MGŁA found its niche and has stuck to it ever since rarely deviating from its status quo and has been called the Amon Amarth of black metal in the process and that’s not an unthinkable comparison actually. Just like its death metal Swedish counterpart, MGŁA takes a melodic approach on the more extreme examples of the sub-genre and tames the once dissonant rage into more harmonic and accessible chunks of the blackened noise parade. Here in 2019, this duo has released its fourth full-length album AGE OF EXCUSE and not surprisingly continues where the previous “Exercises In Futility” left off.

While i’ve been aware of MGŁA (Polish for “fog”) for many years now, my scant exposure to a few tracks here and there has never prompted me to actually investigate further. Well, after the band releases another album with many fans going gaga, i figured it was probably time to fully digest a complete album in its entirety and AGE OF EXCUSE proved to be the easiest point of reference since it’s the most current album at this moment. Accusations of Nazi sympathies and other vicious rumors aside, MGŁA comes off as a rather generic black metal band that does everything by the books and really adds zilch to the sub-genre of black metal at all and no matter how hard i try to understand what the big whoopty-do is about this band, i remained baffled.

While nothing on AGE OF EXCUSE (or any other MGŁA release) is bad by any stretch of the imagination, neither does this band add any creative interpretations nor does it excel in any technical wizardry that sets it apart from the legions of imitators out there. The one thing they do exhibit quite well is the fact that the melodic constructs are instantly catchy much like Amon Amarth, Rotting Christ, Dimmu Borgir or a whole host of others however unlike all of THOSE bands, MGŁA just seems insincere to me and going through the motions. My first impression is that the band is basically copping a melodic take on the Deathspell Omega sound. Miikko Aspa styled raspy vocals drenched in evil, slightly off tune guitar on dissonance light and rather monotonous drumming techniques dominate AGE OF EXCUSE from beginning to end.

Another complaint about this album (and band) is that it begins to sound quite monotonous halfway through. Now it’s quite common for many to claim that a black metal album is monotonous and that is quite true for the untrained ear but the genre is all about detecting the subtleties beneath the carpet bombing of din that assaults the senses from every perceived angle. MGŁA delivers the same tritone laced chord progressions and monotonous groove with impunity. Yeah, there are some drumming outbursts from time to time and as i’ve stated, the album is perfectly listenable but as someone who has spanned the entire spectrum of black metal from its nascent origins with bands like Celtic Frost and Bathory to the more avant-garde experiments that range from Ukraine’s Graal to Norway’s Dødheimsgard, i just do not detect anything spectacular here.

Repeated listens do offer that magical ear hook experience for sure but at the end of the day i just can’t shake that this band is just playing the melodic alter ego of the much superior Deathspell Omega. Yeah, i do understand to a point. As metal ages and artists develop bolder and more avant-garde styles of musical expression, some of it is a little alienating for newbies trying to latch onto the relevance of the sub-genre but personally i would always recommend going back to the earliest examples of melodic black metal over this been-there-dont-that-before retro metal any day. Excluding bands like Emperor or Dimmu Borgir that implemented synthesizers to nurture a more melodic approach, bands like Dissection, Kvist, Nagelfar, Melechesh, Windir or Sacramentum just to name a few were much more creative in their delivery. As open minded as i am about music, once in a while a certain band makes me hit a brick wall and i just have an immediate reaction and in the case of MGŁA i am perplexed why it has become so revered while i just get a meh ho hum reaction. Oh well.

ABSU Tara

Album · 2001 · Black Metal
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Warthur
The first phase of Absu's existence, before lineup changes prompted a hiatus and a realignment of their sound, might just be the absolute pinnacle of their unique style of "mythological occult metal". Steeped in the darkly surreal atmosphere of Celtic mythology from the cover art to the occasional acoustic moment of calm to the twisting guitar riffs, the album takes us on a furious black metal journey of unusual technical complexity and accomplishment. With the vocals (including a guest appearance from King Diamond under the pseudonym Masthema Mazziqim) shrieking like capering spirits and the musical backing making the best use of the studio (I particularly like how they briefly go lo-fi at the start of From Ancient Times to get across the idea of a legend from the distant past), if Absu deserve to be remembered for anything, it's for this.

ABIGOR Verwüstung / Invoke the Dark Age

Album · 1994 · Black Metal
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Warthur
On the debut album Abigor might have originally presented a front cover reminiscent of a second-rate trve kvlt black metal outfit out to mimic Darkthrone or whatever (later editions have somewhat more dignity), but the contents took a very different approach. Whilst their demos had been somewhat lo-fi, this was born of necessity rather than a deliberate and aesthetic, and as soon as they had their hands on a proper studio they used to craft this whirling vortex of black metal fury. Early-to-mid 1990s black metal tended not to put a high priority on musicianship, but Abigor were always one of the significant exceptions.

GOATKRAFT Sulphurous Northern Beastiality

Album · 2019 · War Metal
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siLLy puPPy
The war metal section of black metal seems to be growing by leaps and bounds in 2019 with not only new releases by classic bands such as Diocletian and Seges Findere but finds a whole new cast of beastial noise bringers to the mix! New releases from Esoteric Order of the Red Goat, Mothersuperior, Savage Necromancy, Ygarokk, Death Worship, Pig’s Blood, Warbrother, Morbital, Sankara, Eggs of Gomorrh, Abysmal Lord and Tetragrammacide just to name a few DEMON-strate that this little loud and obnoxious subgenre is in no danger of falling into oblivion any time soon. Add to the list is the debut album by one of Norway’s newest noisemakers - GOATKRAFT and it’s also clear that the frigid darkness of the Scandinavian northlands continues to generate angsty youths who love to take out steam through the most vile and horrific sounds possible!

Emerging from Bergen, the city of Immortal, Burzum, Gorgoroth and Taake also clearly shows that this little city on Norway’s west coast is also in no danger of losing its touch for delivering the black metal goods. GOATKRAFT formed in 2017 and quietly released its debut EP in the form of “Angel Slaughter” the following year. Now one year later in 2019 comes the band’s debut full-length affectionally titled SULPHUROUS NORTHERN BESTIALITY, a true northern brutal slice of bestial black war metal in the vein of the most aggressive and energetic miscreants this little nook in the black metal universe can muster up. Living up to the standard of the war metal world, GOATKRAFT delivers a crude slice of lo-fi black metal fortified with the rampage of death metal drenched in pure eeeeeee-vile! Steeped in the blood of the pioneers such as Blasphemy, Archgoat and Beherit, GOATKRAFT don’t reinvent the wheel but rather blow it to smithereens.

Falling into the same camp as newer bands like Weregoat, GOATKRAFT exudes a purely Satanic saturation of which the hellish album cover art is what attracted me to sample SULPHUROUS out of the many war metal albums releases as of late. While the album cover gets a full five stars for its perfecting the mysterious nature of the evil underground, musically GOATKRAFT don’t exactly top my list for epic black metal releases. While gazing towards the past to tritone based Darkthrone in its earliest second wave black metal compositional flair, GOATKRAFT does strike the perfect retro pose while adding new layers of aggression to their 21st century angst but unfortunately the album (as do many in the war metal zone) comes off as a one-trick pony with incessant power chords with tremolo picking and incessant blastbeat drumming that blurs into a continuous headache inducing machine at full speed for almost the entirety of the album’s playing time.

With a running time of just under 29 minutes, the album buzzes along on a relentless rampage with only the opening “Yawns From The Abyss” and the intermission “Invocation Of The Lord Of Huracan” providing some dark ambient ritualistic noise to demarcate some sort of contrast. Other than those two short snippets of sound, SULPHUROUS NORTHERN BESTIALITY tends to sound like a typical lashing out by a drug overdosed schizoid who screams and snarls until blood gushes out of every orifice. While the grim riffing and brutal bombast are certainly up to snuff in generating the proper degrees of musical violence and lupine savagery, the lack of any sort of deviation from the overall plan does tend to create a bit of monotony on this nihilistic journey. In the end a decent war metal album but not in the top ranks of the sub and certainly doesn’t match the majesty presented by the album cover art but nevertheless, GOATKRAFT provides a distinctly morbid brutal sound and a band to look out for in the future.

BOTANIST EP2: Hammer of Botany + Oplopanax Horridus

Album · 2019 · Black Metal
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Kev Rowland
We all love sub genres of sub genres don’t we? Well, Botanist are described as a highly creative Experimental Avant-garde Black Metal band, or, in their perspective, Green Metal. Musically it is mostly drums with piano (with the sustain pedal kept down for the most part) plus some vocals, sometimes males and sometimes female, which may be up in the mix or so far back it is difficult to even hear them. The result is something which definitely has a black metal feel to it, but it shows just how broad the genre is as there are no guitars to be heard. Botanist is a new signing to Aural Music, and to celebrate this is a reissue of 2015’s limited edition ‘EP2: Hammer of Botany’ recording, along with a new song, the 13-minute “Oplopanax Horridus,” (a solo recording from mainman Otrebor, which does contain additional instruments), which takes the total length to 34 minutes.

Apparently, Botanist is highly rated in the scene, and his website is certainly interesting, but this is an artist who really deserves to be heard before purchase and fortunately he has released all his music through Bandcamp, so it is easily obtainable. For me, I can’t imagine ever voluntarily listening to this again, even though I have very wide and eclectic tastes, as this doesn’t work for me although others obviously feel differently about it.

black metal movie reviews

ENSLAVED Live Retaliation

Movie · 2003 · Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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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