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

black metal top albums

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PROGENIE TERRESTRE PURA
4.82 | 10 ratings
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MARE COGNITUM
4.73 | 13 ratings
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NAGELFAR
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black metal Music Reviews

SHINING Fiende

EP · 2017 · Black Metal
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UMUR
"Fiende" ("Enemy") is an EP release by Swedish black metal act Shining. The EP was released through Season of Mist in November 2017 as a teaser release to Shining´s tenth full-length studio album "X: Varg utan flock" ("Wolf with No Pack"), which was released in January 2018.

The EP features two tracks. "Jag är din fiende" ("I Am Your enemy") was at the time a new original Shining song, which would subsequently be included on "X: Varg utan flock", but "No Rest for the Wicked", which is a The Coffinshakers cover, is exclusive to this release. "Jag är din fiende" is a brutal, raw, and heavy Shining track, in their trademark blackened metal style with lead vocalist Niklas Kvarforth sounding as deranged as ever, switching between raw snarling and odd semi-melodic shouting. It´s a great song also featuring some sharp heavy riffs and blistering lead guitar work.

Since "Jag är din fiende" is also available on "X: Varg utan flock" it´s of course The Coffinshakers cover which is the greatest attraction of this EP. Shining perform an almost one to one version of the acoustic horror rock song (which is obviously greatly influenced by Johnny Cash), and it´s not much different from the original version. It´s a bit of a shame really, that Shining don´t manage to put their own mark on the song, because it means that this cover is a bit redundant. It´s not bad by any means, but it´s unremarkable.

"Fiende" is a well produced release but as the only attraction here is more or less "No Rest for the Wicked" if you already own "X: Varg utan flock", I´d say it´s not the most obvious buy even for the hardcore fans. Still a 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

SHINING Within Deep Dark Chambers

Album · 2000 · Depressive Black Metal
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UMUR
"Within Deep Dark Chambers" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish black metal act Shining. The album was released through Selbstmord Services in 2000. While it´s the band´s first full-length release, Shining did release the two-track "Submit To Selfdestruction" EP in 1998. Since then band leader Niklas Kvarforth has taken over the vocal duties and assembled a whole new lineup to support him. Born in 1983 Kvarforth was still a very young man/boy when writing and recording the material for "Within Deep Dark Chambers" and considering the depressive darkness of the music, he wasn´t exactly a happy teen.

Stylistically "Within Deep Dark Chambers" is dark, angsty, grim, and depressive black metal, featuring noisy atmospheric riffing and pounding drums, and some chilling cold haunting leads, which provide the music with its sad atmosphere (along with the occasional use of eerie sounding keyboards). The vocals are raw and snarling black metal screaming. Kvarforth masters the art of using repetition to build atmosphere and its one of the great strengths of "Within Deep Dark Chambers". One other great asset is the tempo changes, which are quite effective. While Shining often blast away, they also sometimes take the tempo down and play some pretty heavy mid-paced parts with a great brutal groove.

"Within Deep Dark Chambers" features a raw, distorted, high end sound production, which suits the material well, but for all the grimness and noisy nature of the sound production, it´s actually one of the better sounding lo-fi black metal recordings. I can even hear the bass.

In many ways "Within Deep Dark Chambers" is the arch typical depressive black metal album, but there is quality here that you don´t always hear on other similar releases. Kvarforth is a songwriter and he understands the importance of musical drama and dynamics, so while this at times may sound a bit one-dimensional and repetitive it´s clear there is intent behind the compositional style, the production values, and the raw musical performances. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

DISSECTION Storm of the Light's Bane

Album · 1995 · Melodic Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
A landmark in the development of fusing the black metal and death metal genres, DISSECTION’s second release STORM OF THE LIGHT’S BANE is almost ubiquitously regarded as one of the best metal albums of all time but this band certainly didn’t come without generating any controversy to say the least. The album continued what it started on its debut “The Somberlain” which itself was cutting edge as DISSECTION’s location in Strömstad found itself closer to Oslo’s second wave black metal than to the melo-death frenzy rocking Gothenburg to the south in the early to mid-1990s. The band effortlessly melded the two styles together like forging a battle sword for battle. While the debut was competent enough in its own right, STORM OF THE LIGHT’S BANE tied up all the loose ends and polished the gem of a stylistic gem into a shiny sheen where the listener couldn’t distinguish where the black metal ends and the melo-death begins.

Thwarted by the lackadaisical attitude of guitarist John Zwetsloot who failed to appear for rehearsals and finally even didn’t bother to show up to gigs, DISSECTION recruited former Satanized guitarist Johan Norman who was not only able but willing to take the band to the next level. The band spent the next two years honing their unique fusion style of metal until the glistening masterpiece STORM OF THE LIGHT’S BANE emerged in November of 1995 to welcoming fans and critics alike. What the debut had started, this sophomore effort forged into a pearl of perfectly infused black metal furor with the elegant sophistication of folk melody inspired melodic death metal. The disparate elements of softer parts, heavy extreme metal excesses and cold, bleak atmospheres had coalesced into the perfect sum of the parts and a legend in the overall metal universe for time immemorial. The album is nothing less than epic in not only its visionary stylistic developments but also in terms of tight memorable songwriting.

Primarily written by lead vocalist and guitarist Jon Nödtveidt, STORM OF THE LIGHT’S BANE delivers eight tracks of metal magnificence beginning with the military march heft of the opening “All The Fathomless Depths” before erupting into one of the most competent displays of blackened melo-death too the entire era. Building on beautifully designed twin guitar harmonies and folk musical scales, STORM OF THE LIGHT’S BANE balanced tender clean guitar arpeggios with thundering power chords, tremolo black metal picking and lightning fast death metal riffing styles that adopted the best aspects of both the second wave black metal scene and merged them with the more technically infused sounds of the Swedish death metal approach. The twin guitar attacks relied less on traditional 80s metal this time around and evolved into a unique cohesion of dueling riffing that occasionally broke out into lead guitar attacks that emphasized the melodic construct in a more virtuosic approach.

Nödtveidt’s demon from hell vocal style had hit full capacity while the compositions were taken to the fusion’s logical conclusion. The drumming style of Ole Öhman featured some of the boldest technical moves in all of the early 90s metal scene with endless variations in drum fills and full-on blastbeat ferocity. The strong melodic developments keep the album from stagnating and each individual track glimmers in its own magnificence thus keeping the album’s 43 minute run completely exhilarating with no filler material bogging down the momentum. To sum it up, the album just rips from beginning to end and then after the pinnacle of the ghoulish deliverance, gently delivers you back into a placid state of mind with the classically inspired piano piece closer “No Dreams Breed in Breathless Sleep” thus signifying the end of an album that breezes by much too soon. The album is and cold and forbidding as the scythed grim reaper on horseback suggests from the cover art.

This would be the end of DISSECTION well at least for another 12 years since after this second offering was released, frontman Jon Nödtveidt was sentenced to prison for the murder of Josef ben Meddour and although DISSECTION would arise from the ashes with a totally new backing band, the momentum had more than been lost and Nödtveidt would soon commit suicide thus ending the once great band forever. What amazes me about some of the early Scandinavian black metal bands is how brilliant and gifted they were musically speaking yet were some of the most troubled souls with unthinkable psychological damage. These guys were as unstable as dynamite at a gun shooting range and yet still found it in them for a brief moment in time to craft some of the most gorgeous musical expressions ever recorded. It’s hard to believe i didn’t even like DISSECTION at first because i just couldn’t accept the two merging metal forces together. It just didn’t sound right but now i listen to this one and am utterly blown away by its sheer perfection. A good example to not let initial experiences taint your possible delayed enthrallment. This one is definitely worthy of all the hype. Now i’m smitten too.

DISSECTION The Somberlain

Album · 1993 · Melodic Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
As one of the earliest extreme metal bands to emerge from Sweden, DISSECTION had a unique vantage point from its point of origin in the city of Strömstad being closer to Oslo, Norway than Gothenburg to the south. This explains why DISSECTION is credited as a pioneer in fusion of the second wave black metal sounds of Norway with the melodic death metal style that was taking the Gothenburg scene by storm. Unfortunately the band is not only legendary for its musical ingenuity but was one of those crazy Satanic cult band of trouble makers which eventually led original vocalist Jon Nödtveldt to kill an Algerian national living in Sweden for which he would be sent to prison and thus breaking up the band after only two albums.

While the band started out as a standard thrash metal band under the moniker of Siren’s Yell in 1988, the members of Jon Nödtveidt, Ole Öhman, Peter Palmdahl, and Mattias "Mäbe" Johansson quickly latched onto the new extreme metal styles quacking evolving in Scandinavia and released a few demos before releasing its debut THE SOMBERLAIN which emerged in 1993. This album coincided with the suicide of Mayhem’s lead vocalist Dead and was dedicated to his to his passing. While the drama was heavy with this band, so too was the talent and the band’s original two releases are now considered classics in the entire metal universe. While THE SOMBERLAIN was the lesser of the two releases with the slightly superior “Storm Of The Light’s Bane” following two years later, the effortless fusion of not only death and black metal but melodic styles from 80s heavy metal catapulted this band into the top ranks of the ugly metal underground.

While blackened death metal has become quite common well into the 21st century, DISSECTION delivered it effortlessly unlike any other thus immediately setting itself apart from the bleak musical simplicity of the early stages of the second wave of black metal while offering a darker Satanic thematic approach absent from the early Gothenburg melo-death. The band distinguished itself from most black metal of the day by crafting memorable melodic approaches that were delivered through the twin guitar attack in a similar style to Iron Maiden or Judas Priest however the atmosphere and raspy growls were straight out of the Darkthrone playbook yet all delivered with the sophisticated bombast of Swedish melo-death bigwigs like Dark Tranquility, Edge of Sanity and At The Gates. All of these elements kept DISSECTION well in its own musical world during its existence although traces of fellow Swedes Bathory permeate the release as well.

THE SOMBERLAIN is a masterwork of melo-death which features melancholic classical guitar intros that explode into molten metal ferocity that offered a black metal aesthetic that assaulted the senses with technical percussion, dueling melodic lead guitar and a propensity for thick chugging riffs that walked the line perfectly between the detached irreverence of black metal and the more actively engaged wizardry of the more technical adept death metal style. The album offered nearly 46 minutes of playing time with 12 distinct tracks that each stood on their own and offered Luciferian philosophical themes that connect DISSECTION more to the occult magic subject matter of the Norwegian black metal scene, the thematic presence that would prevail throughout the band’s short initial run and one that would ultimately find them at odds with the law. The band seemed to be running a parallel path with Mayhem as it was involved in Satanic rituals that involved animal sacrifices and conjuring up demons.

While considered a classic of both black metal and death metal, THE SOMBERLAIN was marred from total perfection by the noncommittal insouciance of guitarist John Zwetsloot who increasingly failed to show up for rehearsals and eventually even didn’t even make it to gigs. The band would fire him and replace him with Satanized guitarist Johan Norman before recording the more focused second album. Despite all the dramatic events and lack of total band cohesions, DISSECTION’s first album turned out pretty damn good with a nice cohesive flow that melded classic 80s sounds with the extremities that were dominating the early 90s. While i too have always preferred the following “Storm of the Light’s Bane,” i have to admit that THE SOMBERLAIN has grown on me over the years as it certainly yields an intricate display of clever compositional fortitude rightfully ranking high on most revered albums of the era.

VEHEMENZ Vehemenz

Album · 2014 · Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Following in the footsteps of the modern wave of French black metal, Germany’s VEHEMENZ formed in 2010 in Hammelburg with the unusual lineup of six members that consisted of Letharg (guitar, vocals), Monolith Aversion (guitar, vocals), Furor (drums), Inclusus (vocals), Obscurus (bass) and Aquarius Igneus (guitar). Although technically still in existence so far this sextet has released only one self-titled album in 2014 that came out on the MDD label which has spawned many underground metal artists.

Forged in the fiery pits of hell, VEHEMENZ which features members from various previous bands including Krew, Atopie and Demgoroth unleashed its debut of ravaging black metal that offered a taste of jangly spider guitars of the Deathspell Omega playbook while evoking various German bands like Bethlehem and Agrypnie as source inspiration. Likewise the band showcases a frenetic tremolo based guitar style reminiscent of the typical second wave black metal scene while alternating slower passages with more outlandish rampages.

The band’s claim to fame is that it hosts three guitarists which all work together to assault the senses with heavy riffing, spooky arpeggios and distorted dissonance and dismay. The percussion varies from fully fueled blastbeats to more contemplative lackadaisical time keepers just chugging along. Unlike many black metal albums, the bass is quite distinct as the instrumentation allows for cracks in the flow for every sound to rise out of the crevices into an aural spectral range. Most compared to Agrypnie for its song structures, the band’s overall sound is like a murky mix of atmospheric black metal, blackgaze and post-metal.

At times the music is caustic and at others very epic sounding with the concluding 9-minute track “Der Traum ... Im Chaos Verient” offering a more relaxed procession through the moods and dynamics VEHEMENZ delivers on their sole release. For whatever reason this band stopped cold after this 2014 debut and has been M.I.A. for the last decade with only vocalist / drummer Furor emerging in the band Heimleiden since. Overall VEHEMENZ delivered a solid black metal release but unfortunately the album also doesn’t really stand out significantly in any particular way. Despite the three guitar shtick it’s mostly not even apparent that three guitars are clamoring away rather than two. Decent and competent but not original enough to be considered any sort of classic by any means.

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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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