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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


Sub-genre collaborators:
  • adg211288 (leader)
  • 666sharon666
  • TheHeavyMetalCat

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BLUT AUS NORD Odinist: The Destruction of Reason by Illumination

Album · 2007 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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While beginning as the one-man solo project of Vindsval, the French experimental freak show known as BLUT AUS NORD really came into its own once the lineup was expanded to a trio that included drummer / keyboardist W.D. Feld and bassist GhÖst. Already having crafted some of the most chilling atmospheric black metal albums in the vein of Burzum, the trio version of BLUT AUS NORD shocked the black metal world with its lauded masterwork “The Work That Transforms God” which ironically transformed the world of second wave Norwegian style black metal into a stranger nebulous world of surreality that incorporated as much dark ambient psychedelia as it did black metal heft.

After reaching the apex of its industrial dark ambient infused alternative universe where black metal was forced to perform unthinkable acts with thick gnarled atonal guitar antics painfully decrying the jagged prog infused percussive beats, the album “MoRT” found this stylistic approach finding its logical conclusion with seemingly nowhere left to go but BLUT AUS NORD proved to be a wily beast that was content with experimenting and then perfecting said experiment and then moving on altogether without abandoning the underpinning of the band’s experimental and progressive black metal stylistic approach. While downright normal compared to “MoRT,” the band followed up with ODINIST - THE DESTRUCTION OF REASON BY ILLUMINATION which borrowed its title from the magickal world of none other than Aleister Crowley.

Decidedly less otherworldly and more anchored in contemporary atmospheric black metal that had taken the 2000s by storm, ODINIST retains the general characteristics that had graced the band’s previous two albums, namely the buzzsaw guitar riffs casting larger than life distorted feedback, bantering bass lines buried beneath the sonic swells and the irregular drum rolls that colluded to craft a bizarre atonal callithump through hellish soundscapes. However on ODINIST all that came before is toned down manyfold in order to craft a somewhat more accessible, or at least more orthodox black metal experience. While “MoRT” cast the strangest of sonic spells with a never-ending supply of jagged irregular jazz-fueled percussion, ODINIST takes on the more standard approach of blastbeats and less jagged progressive time signature attacks. This is all relative of course as ODINIST is much more avant-garde than the average black metal album.

Likewise the compositions lie more in the realm of standard black metal than the experimental freeform avant-garde tendencies of the previous two albums. While the newbie to this band may find this one to be more accessible due to the more standardized approach complete with the expected raspy vocals and less frenetic zigzagging effect, ODINIST to my ears sounds like a few steps down in quality and creative expression as the album tends to feel to safe for its own good in comparison to the albums that preceded and the excellent “777” trilogy that followed. While ODINIST hits all the marks that makes BLUT AUS NORD stand out from the pack, the album feels like it’s running on automatic pilot rather than tackling something completely fresh however occasional such as on tracks like “Ellipsis,” the doppler effect style of “MoRT” is more prominent.

In many ways ODINIST feels like a Viking metal style album with scattered melodic nods to Norwegian folk music with even the title referring to the god of Norse mythology. On board with the caustic black metal which had been amped up from the previous works, the dark ambient and industrial elements still teem with life however they are also kept on the leash as the compositional style is more predictable and less prone to crafting intangible elements that leave the listener in a cold bewildering reality devoid of any Earthly connections. ODINIST in its 37 minute run is nothing but a decent and compelling atmospheric black metal album experience however i can never shake the feeling that it just doesn’t rise to the standards that BLUT AUS NORD had set so high just the year before. Not my personal favorite but a must for fans no doubt.


Album · 2006 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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While second wave of black metal was without a doubt the product of Norwegian wrath against humankind and religious practices with plenty of church burnings to add some visuals, the relative adaptive nature of the buzzsaw guitar led bombast and simple song structures allowed various elements to hybridize quite quickly making black metal one of the most versatile subgenera in the entire metal universe. While Darkthrone, Emperor, Immortal and Mayhem may have led Norway’s darkened dramatic take on the 80s metal that evolved into the 90s, it became clear in the 2000s that France was taking the lead having created some of the most unique experimental examples of taking black metal into surreal new realities.

The one man band BLUT AUS NORD also known as Vindsval took the atmospheric black metal approach of Burzum and Naglfar and adopted some of the first traces of psychedelic rock as far back as “Ultime Thulée” in 1995 but once the BLUT AUS NORD project became a fully fueled band beginning with 2003’s “The Work Which Transforms God,” Vindsval and friends took the black metal world by storm by crafting a new level of sophistication that had never been achieved with depressive chugging atonal guitar riffs enshrouded by suffocating atmospheres and crafting a sonicscape that reflected the frequencies of true hellish underworlds.

Three years later this Mondeville outfit took the stylistic approach on the breakthrough album to its logical conclusion with the fifth full-album MoRT which featured Vindsval on guitar and vocals along with bandmates W.D. Feld on drums and keyboards and GhÖst on bass. The album which pretty much was a continuous flow of bleak mind-numbing surreality which featured eight tracks symbolizing a “Chapter” of a greater nebulous concept never quite defined. The overall mood of the album is terrorizing as MoRT allows you to enter a strange new world where nothing is familiar and excels in atonal deformity unlike anything else that has been experienced before or after.

Beginning with terrifying processed vocals and dark ambient swirls, the atonal amorphous guitar riffs swim in a gelatinous vacuum with abstract drum beats, dissonant swells of distortion and thick depressive atmospheres that sound like single musical notes are tortured until they cease to exude a life force. In many ways MoRT exudes the absolute perfect fusion of black metal textural sensibilities with icy dark ambient atmospherics crafting a perfect balance of calculated metrics. Twisted progressive time signatures slink and slither like magically enhanced serpents writhing out of cold fiery pits in the bowels of the deepest recesses of the underworld, a place so devoid of light and human tangibility that one is reduced to a spiritual cryogenic state of the soul.

Perhaps one of the most adventurous black metal experiences one could possibly encounter, it’s fair to say that BLUT AUS NORD changed the black metal world exponentially with “The Work Which Transforms God” and this even more bizarre example of MoRT which would apparently shift the tectonic plates leading many other French black metal bands like Deathspell Omega and S.V.E.S.T. to adopt some of the deranged harsh tactics employed on this sonic display of freakery. Perhaps the least metal of BLUT AUS NORD’s canon, MoRT excels at being utterly outside the boundaries of virtually anything orthodox in any musical genre. The processed unintelligible vocals that erupt occasionally only add an emphatic sense of horror to the incessant parade of soul splitting awe that lasts for 47 minutes of sonic terror.

Needless to say, MoRT is unlike any other musical experience you could imagine existed and is perhaps one of the most terrifying albums that has ever been produced. Taking on aspects of black metal, dark ambient, progressive rock and even freeform no wave accompanied by a series of deep processed otherworldly growls and the occasional liturgical choirs peaking out of the din, MoRT is without a doubt one that will disturb even the most hardened music lover upon first listen and will send any uninitiated passerby to the insane asylum. This music requires learning an entirely new language in many ways to comprehend as it craftily displays some of the most extreme possibilities of a black-metal-in-opposition approach. While BLUT AUS NORD has crafted some excellent albums in its multi-decade career, it’s this one MoRT that i find the most original and utterly fascinating in its unapologetic experimental rampage.


EP · 2012 · Black Metal
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DROUGHT was the second EP to emerge after the DEATHSPELL OMEGA’s attention grabbing Satanic trilogy of albums that showed the world that black metal could be as intellectually saturated with theological highbrow concepts accompanied by the most progressive and complex compositional fortitude of any advanced musical style while still hiding in the complete anonymity of darkness. Following 2011’s single tracked “Diabolus Absdonditus,” DROUGHT featured six separate tracks that more or less coalesced into a single 21 minute experience.

Cranking out the already established mix of jagged blistering black metal guitar riffs, bantering bass lines and technical percussive assaults accompanied by despondent Satanic liturgies in the form of raspy vocals, DROUGHT showcased yet another methodology of taking all the individual parts that made up the sonic terror of DEATHSPELL OMEGA and put it all together in yet another unique recipe. Although to the uninvited listener, this will all come across as bantering din from social deviants, this French band finds still more ways of mixing slow plodding, even doom metal fueled nonchalantness with caustic aggressive fury.

“Salowe Vision” opens as what sounds like a band fully exhausted from its decade long rampage with slow plodding riffs that sound as if the band is ready for a complete breakdown but emerges into top form on the fueled by Satan orotundity of “Fiery Serpents.” Fueled with jagged guitar riffs that seem to have taken an even more boastful pride in crating gnarled math rock inspired progressive time signatures, DROUGHT continues the swells of sonic scare tactics in a seemingly limitless ability to shape shift around simple rhythmic processions fortified with an endless array of darkened dynamics.

While “Diabolus Absconditus” seemed to thrive on its simplicity, DROUGHT on the other hand returned to the antics of the Satanic trilogy with incessant drifts of highly fustian freelancing that delivered an entire album’s worth of emotional torture tactics all in the short playing time of 21 minutes. While the shock value may have been long gone for members of the DSO cult, the perfunctory prowess of the musical complexities does not cease to impress. Few black metal bands have mastered the vast arsenal of tricks and trinkets that DEATHSPELL OMEGA has and although far into the band’s canon, DROUGHT only reinforces that this band had an extraordinary beyond human sort of talent that seemingly came from Faustian pacts with you know who.

DSO disappeared for several years after this and wouldn’t re-emerge from the underworld until 2016’s “The Synarchy of Molten Bones” but the band’s legendary status reverberated well into the 2010s with countless imitators adopting the highly complex and atonal characteristics that DSO launched with its lauded masterpieces of molten maniacal monstrosity. It seems that in many ways that this would end the first era of DEATHSPELL OMEGA’s reign as rulers of the black metal underworld and that what came after was simply a retread of all the established sounds that preceded. Fittingly the title DROUGHT signified the four year gap when DSO returned to the underworld to offer the captured souls that their music attracted. Sure the ticket is your soul but at least there is a 30-day satisfaction guarantee or your soul back! Whew, that was close :D

DEATHSPELL OMEGA Diabolus Absconditus

EP · 2011 · Black Metal
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After completing it’s groundbreaking black metal series of albums that constituted the unholy Satanic trilogy, DEATHSPELL OMEGA wasn’t done terrorizing the world with its caustic uproar of jagged progressive black metal composiitons that promoted highly advanced theological Satanism but proved it was just getting started as this French band released two more EPs before taking a much needed break for several years.

Emerging the year after “Paracletus,” the one track release DIABOLUS ABSCONDITUS featured a 22 minute and a half frightening journey through a multitude of soundscapes seemingly originating from the bowels of hell yet effectively cranking out a never-ending processions of demons that allowed DEATHSPELL OMEGA to focus on the slower aspects of its sonic palette in order to craft some of the creepiest doom-ridden sounds that the band had crafted.

Proceeding much like post-metal with cyclical guitar riffs, DIABOLUS ABSCONDITUS finds plodding guitar riffs accompanied by the bass and lackadaisical drum rolls along with Mikko Aspa’s ominous vocal raspiness that cast a hypnotic although terrifying spell as the guitars slowly become echoey as if the band was fading in and out of our perception. While rhythmically monotonous with a steady beat that is punctuated by only occasional outbursts of aggression, the star of this show is the guitar which features a deliciously evil cauldron of tricks that offer enough variety to keep the entire run engaging.

Likewise the musical accompaniments such as the bass and drums also find clever yet seductive means of mastering a perfect triumvirate of instrumentation while the lyrics barrage the soul with darkened themes and slamming mind tricks. Perhaps the least aggressive of DSO’s jarring canon, DIABOLUS ABSCONDITUS nevertheless finds enough room to bring out the big guns with the expected bantering din-fest that assaults the senses with all those by now familiar outbursts of aggressive fury.

Perhaps not the most developed of the DSO releases, this one still is amazingly effective in scaring the bejeezus out of anyone who hasn’t acclimated themselves to this otherworldly musical effect that sounds like a soundtrack to the underworld. It’s utterly amazing how DSO can crank out so many different stylistic approaches with the same ingredients firmly in tact. The true genius of DIABOLUS ANBSONDITUS is how the subtleties conspire to create and effective sum of the parts with the usual contrasts and shapeshifting effects that haunted the Satanic trilogy albums that preceded.


Album · 2010 · Black Metal
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Completing the third installment of the Satanic metaphysical trilogy that shocked the world with black metal being taken to unthinkable technical complexities with themes that focused on the highly advanced Satanic theology inspired by the philosophies of George Bataille, Michel Leiris and Pierre Klossowski, the French black metal band DEATHSPELL OMEGA released PARACETUS which is the Latinized form of the Greek world παράκλητος (parákletos), meaning “comforter,” and synonymous for the Holy Spirit. Released in 2010 after a couple of EPs and a split, PARACLETUS served as a recording that resolves the band’s three act magnum opus that made 90s black metal look like schoolchildren.

As anonymous and mysterious as ever DOS ended the trilogy with a collection of ten tracks that are more tightly constructed and really does have a feel of conclusion as if PARACLETUS is the final act where the resolving battle and judgment allow the dark forces’ reign comes to fruition. It wasn’t until i finally heard this third episode of DEATHSPELL OMEGA’s Satanic saga that it occurred to me that the trilogy really runs together, musically as well as thematically, as a single cohesive unit where each album resonates as an entire act of a much larger black opera for the lack of a better term. Following 2004’s “Si monvmentvm reqvires, circvmspice” and 2007’s “Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum,” the latter of which introduced bizarre new dynamics that included dramatic pauses and stylistic shifts, where the final track “Obombration" essentially served as a two minute symphonic intermission designed to be followed.

That’s where PARACLETUS comes in as it eschews the subtle atmospheric swirls of “Fas - Ite” and instead jumps into the bombastic caustic and atonal jangle chord swarms of din of “Epiklesis.” The album overall is a much heavier and rampaging one with less moments of downtime in the form of slower creeping, almost doom metal in its processional prowl. Like the band’s previous album’s DEATHSPELL OMEGA doesn’t employ many new tactics on PARACLETUS as all had been established therefore this third installment of the trilogy comes off as less impacting as the shock value had been exhausted and the main focus is on the highly advanced compositions that tackle the complexities of progressive rock and 20th century classical music in black metal regalia.

Generally speaking the beginning and end of the album are heavier with rampaging stampedes of sound while the mid-section around “Phosphene” offer those cooling off periods with slower, less complex and more introspective ones often with choral chanting replacing the snarling raspy shrieks of Mikko Aspa’s effective vocal approach. The atonal jangle guitars appear in abundance as the tale of the virtues of advanced Satanism employ the multitude of stylistic shifts that DEATHSPELL OMEGA has mastered with nary a misstep in execution. While less depend on symphonic accoutrements, there are moments as in “Epiklesis II” where a parallel sound effect accompanies the jangle guitars but tracks like “Malconfort” with faster tempos and caustic sonic assaults are more the norm on PARACLETUS.

While excellently performed as usual it surprises me that PARACLETUS remains the most popular DEATHSPELL OMEGA release in some circles which perhaps is the result in that it’s a bit more accessible than its predecessors but is less effective for that otherworldly experience that the perfection of “Fas - Ite” delivered. For that reason PARACLETUS is my least favorite of the Satanic metaphysical trilogy of albums as it’s a bit more predictable and doesn’t really offer anything new to the DSO sound and rather relies on simply changing things around a bit. Despite the connective tissue that clearly links it with previous material, make no doubt about it that PARACLETUS is still worthy of concluding what many deem as black metal’s most effective multi-album run. For those who prefer the most bombastic of the trilogy, this one probably wins but i personally prefer the greater spectrum of stylistic shifts that “Si Monvmtvm” and “Fas - Ite” offered.

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ENSLAVED Live Retaliation

Movie · 2003 · Black Metal
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No reviews yet & only 3 ratings for the great ENSLAVED's 1st video production? To quote Will Smith, " 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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