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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black metal Music Reviews

DARKTHRONE Old Star

Album · 2019 · Black Metal
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Warthur
Perhaps Arctic Thunder was just something Darkthrone had to get out of their system - a necessary creative purging before moving on to this. Old Star sounds much more like the followup to The Underground Resistance that a lot of us were expecting than Arctic Thunder does. Whereas the latter album felt more like "blackened heavy metal" than a full-on black metal release, this time around Darkthrone deliver up black metal with a strong influence from the genre's roots in thrash (via Bathory or Venom) and traditional heavy metal (via Mercyful Fate), with more of an emphasis on the thrash this time than on Arctic Thunder. I wouldn't put it above The Underground Resistance, which I consider to be the pinnacle of Darkthrone's current sound, but it's pretty damn good in its own right.

DARKTHRONE Arctic Thunder

Album · 2016 · Black Metal
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Warthur
The Underground Resistance saw Darkthrone adopt a sort of "blackened heavy metal" approach, combining their usual grim darkness with juicy riffs reminiscent of the more hard-edged 1980s traditional heavy metal bands. It was pretty good too - a sort of return to the first wave of black metal's approach, with the lessons learned from subsequent decade to hand to add spice.

Arctic Thunder, however, doesn't succeed quite so well. The heavy metal dial is turned up even further, the black metal is dialled back a bit but for the vocals, and perhaps worst of all, whilst the music is entertaining enough, it's not more than that. The overall experience is a bit like sitting in on a practice session of your buddy's band who play in his garage and drink beer and tend to drink a bit more beer than they play actual music and are cool with that, but do a decent job of turning out the material and might have done something more interesting with their talents had they applied themselves.

It's not a bad album, mind - it's fun when you're in the right mood for it - but we know that Darkthrone can do better, even in this general style. Three and a half stars, on the verge of losing that half star at that.

BATUSHKA Litourgiya

Album · 2015 · Black Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Times have certainly changed. Black metal emerged from the underground world in the 1980s with the first signs of life coming to fruition with bands like Bathory and Mayhem engaging in a rather misanthropic rage with a vehement emphasis on anti-Christianity. The genre quickly became known as the Satanic section at the metal supermarket but as soon as the full swing of the 90s second wave hit, bands were beginning to experiment with varying supplemental sounds and subject matter which even resulted in the ultimate paradox of Chrirstian black metal dubbed “unblack metal” first attempted by Australia’s Horde and while it would take a few years for the process to fully unfold, by the 2000s there would be as many atmospheric blackened metal bands lamenting about Paganism and ecology as there were those still engaged in the occult and black arts.

Samples from traditional Christian liturgical sounds in black metal also extends way back to the 90s when bands like Ulver juxtaposed orthodox Gregorian chants within the tapestry of the fury and bombast of black metal and once the flood gates were opened it seems that every black metal act since has been trying to find a way to make the darkness and the light dance together with some results better than others. While perhaps France’s Deathspell Omega has proven the most successful in integrating these chants into the darkened bleakness of bantering buzzsaw guitar metal, another band that has successfully integrated the two aspects surely has to be Poland’s Батюшка (BATUSHKA) whose debut album Литургия (Litourgiya) found the perfect recipe for a steady stream of Russian Orthodox Church litanies wrapped up in the usual black metal suspects of distorted tremolo guitar picking, blastbeats and raspy no fucks given vocal bantering.

While the band has split into two separate entities in recent years, this early version began in Białystok, Poland in 2015, a city that straddles the border of Poland and Belarus and contains as many ethnic Russians, Belarussians, Jews and other minorities as it does Poles. The city has always been a crossroads of sorts for immigrants and in the region has been exposed to a wide variety of traditions. BATUSHKA which consisted of Krzysztof Drabikowski [aka Христофоръ] (guitar, bass, vocals), Bartłomiej Krysiuk [aka Варфоломей] (vocals), Marcin Bielemiuk [aka Мартин] (drums) created a style of music with a passion that lay in the realms of black metal however found that the Eastern Orthodox liturgical music shared many characteristics with the more modern antithesis and set out to fuse the two as had never been successfully amalgamated before. The result was the bands debut Литургия (Litourgiya) which literally translates as “Liturgy.”

LITOURGIYA is a musical statement of contrasts. A Polish band chanting in Russian. Orthodox Christian liturgies surrounded by the suffocating subversiveness of the fiery fury of black metal. A sense of ancient timelessness in cohorts with a style of music that is clearly rooted in the modern era. While this sounds like a recipe for disaster and to be honest it really could go down in flames in so many ways, BATUSHKA carry it off with relative ease. In fact, BATUSHKA make it sound downright natural and makes you wonder why someone else hasn’t pulled this miraculous hybrid off sooner. The album consists of eight tracks with each titled “Ектения (Yekteniya)” which means “Litany” followed by a subtitle. The album begins with the dominant forces of the Christian liturgical sounds with the black metal taking a back seat and slowly ramps up the black metal dominance as the album plays on. The contrast between the clean vocal chants and raspy black metal screams trade off perfectly with each side of the equation holding its ground throughout the album’s 41 minute run.

When all is said and done the mysterious BATUSHKA represents a new paradigm within the black metal world and one that is the antithesis to its one-sided origins. The demonstrative efforts presented display the fertile cross-pollinating abilities that continue to emerge in the once one-trick pony metal sub-genre and the best thing of all is that the metal aspects of the album are in no way compromised for the sake of what may sound like a gimmicky side show. Perhaps my only complain is that the album does seem to resonate as a little samey as it plays on with the same metal riffs reemerging track after track but in the end this is a brilliant slice of black metal vs Christian liturgical chanting in the ultimate musical death match ever and in a day when it’s harder to stand out from the pack than ever before, it’s actually quite the accomplishment.

WORMWITCH Heaven That Dwells Within

Album · 2019 · Melodic Black Metal
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Nightfly
Black metal is a genre I dip in and out of. I have my favourites like Watain, Immortal, Melechesh and Dissection to name a few but I’m far more likely to be listening to death or thrash when it comes to the more extreme side of things. Now and again though something comes along in the black metal field that really grabs my attention. One such album is Heaven That Dwells Within, the second full length release from Canadians Wormwitch.

I’d heard they were a mix of black metal and crust punk. I’ve only had a brief listen to their debut after hearing this but that certainly seems a fair description of Strike Mortal Soil as far as I can recall. Heaven That Dwells Within seems to have reduced the crust quota though that D beat synonymous with crust rears its head from time to time, this being more of a melodic black metal affair with touches of melodic death metal at times. As opener Disciple Of The Serpent Star kicks in Tribulation immediately comes to mind. As the album progresses it’s not a one off either as they share that bands ear for a catchy riff loaded with melancholia. DOTSS happens to be my favourite song on the album but there’s no shortage of other great moments with plenty of variation with drums shifting through blasts, double kicks, D-beats and more. Whilst the vocals are of a fairly standard black metal style they’re well done but the strength of this album lies in its musicality. There’s no shortage of hook laden riffs, tremolo picking, searing licks and melodic solos – something else that reminds me of Tribulation. There’s enough variation to keep things interesting throughout and Lord Of Chains throws in a dose of dissonance which I always like.

I really love this album, probably my most played new release of the last month or so. I can’t see that changing any time soon and this one will certainly make my end of year list, somewhere near the top I suspect. To add to the appeal it has a great cover - a section of the John William Waterhouse painting “The Lady Of Shalott” which looks even better on the vinyl version . If you’re a black metal fan you really need to check this band out if you haven’t already.

CRAFTEON Cosmic Reawakening

Album · 2017 · Melodic Black Metal
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Kev Rowland
I have no idea where this 2017 album came from, but somehow it has made its way from Denver, Colorado all the way to Oxford, New Zealand. From what I have been able to discover, this is the only release to date, although according to their FB site they have been working on the next album. Their music is based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, while the name ‘Crafteon’ itself is a play on words of "Lovecraftian" and "aeon”. The band have a suitably unusual logo, interesting artwork, all wear corpse paint and have given themselves suitable names, so we have Lord Mordiggian (vocals, guitar), Fthaggua (lead guitar, backing vocals), Ithaqua (bass, backing vocals) and Rhagorthua (drums). It all adds up to one thing, right? Black metal. Well, yeah, but…

Although their music is based within the black metal genre, it is way more melodic than one would normally expect and incorporates elements of power metal and bring in early Metallica and even Amon Amarth. Some of the guitar solos are straight out of the “normal” heavy metal area, while the bass is deep and raw enough to sound as if Ithaqua has been studying the works of Chris Squire. Lyrically, Mordiggian (or Josh Mortensen to his mum) has an interesting approach that initially he wanted to write lyrics based on Lovecraft, but felt he was unable to do this justice. So he used what was in the public domain and turned Lovecraft’s words into lyrics, amending where there was no other choice. Overall this is an incredibly accessible album, and one I can imagine people coming to even if they are not normally interested in the genre. Melodic at all times, yet still keeping true to certain elements of black metal, with vocals which have been influenced by Darkthone, and plenty of riffing, it is certainly interesting. I do think the drumming could have been more powerful and provide more balance and dynamics instead of relying so much on double bass drum pedals, but I am somewhat surprised they have yet to be signed as they have a powerful image to go with the music so it will be interesting to see how they progress with the next one.

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ENSLAVED Live Retaliation

Movie · 2003 · Black Metal
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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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