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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

black metal top albums

Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

PROGENIE TERRESTRE PURA oltreLuna Album Cover oltreLuna
4.80 | 10 ratings
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DEATHSPELL OMEGA Veritas Diaboli Manet in Aeternum: Chaining the Katechon Album Cover Veritas Diaboli Manet in Aeternum: Chaining the Katechon
4.64 | 13 ratings
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IMMORTAL At the Heart of Winter Album Cover At the Heart of Winter
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ENTROPIA Ufonaut Album Cover Ufonaut
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EMPEROR Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk Album Cover Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk
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THE RUINS OF BEVERAST Rain Upon the Impure Album Cover Rain Upon the Impure
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NACHTLIEDER Lynx Album Cover Lynx
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SATYRICON Rebel Extravaganza

Album · 1999 · Black Metal
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"Rebel Extravaganza" is the 4th full-length studio album by Norwegian black metal act Satyricon. The album was released through Moonfog Productions in September 1999. It´s the successor to "Nemesis Divina" from 1996, which was a very successful release for Satyricon, considerably heightening their profile on the international black metal scene.

Following up a successful release is always a difficult task, and Satyricon chose to do the only right thing, which was to write and record a totally different sounding release to "Nemesis Divina (1996)". A "Nemesis Divina" number 2, would probably have pleased some fans of the band, but a release like that would always have been measured aganst its predecessor and would probably have been regarded the lesser release. With "Rebel Extravaganza", Satyricon have created a bleak, harsh, and cold sounding black metal release which is pretty unique sounding in their discography. Some people hear an industrial influence, but I suspect it´s the harshness and coldness of the sound production, which make people hear that, because the actual music does not feature industrial influences. This is dark, aggressive, and raw sounding black metal through and through. Definitely the band´s most harsh release up until then.

Most songs on the 10 track, 60:38 minutes long album are pretty long (two even exceeding the 10 minutes mark) and they are generally not easily accessible although all feature recognisable vers/chorus structures, but they also feature many other sections, which make most of them relatively challenging listening material. The word progressive will probably be misunderstood if used here, but I´ll risk it and call some of the material on "Rebel Extravaganza" progressive inclined. The almost 11 minutes long "Tied in Bronze Chains" which opens the album is for example quite the elaborate song, featuring many different sections.

Upon conclusion "Rebel Extravaganza" is a bold and quite adventurous black metal release by Satyricon and it´s overall a high quality album. It´s not through and through the most consistent release, and a few more memorable moments and tighter song structures could pretty surely have made for a more accessible and catchy listen. Satyricon went in the other direction on "Rebel Extravaganza", which is pretty much as uncompromising as they get, and there is a great charm to the harshness and savagery on display here, which can´t be denied. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

DISSECTION Storm of the Light's Bane

Album · 1995 · Melodic Black Metal
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The legendary Storm of the Light’s Bane is considered perhaps the greatest Meloblack album ever put to record, and for good reason. Every track is chock full of dark and icy riffs, thanks in part to its heavy Melodeath influence. You see that beautiful cover art with the reaper on horseback amongst a nocturnal tundra mountain scape? Yeah, this album just sounds like that. The beauty of cold, night, and death are all emanating from the electrifying songwriting here.

Black Metal tends to be a bit one note, and Meloblack is a much more purposeful aversion of that, but even among Meloblack, Dissection give us progressive, complicated, ever changing songwriting with weaves and turns up and down the mountains and through the evergreens. Even some acoustic passages give reprieve from that arctic assault. The vocals are fantastic, quite intelligible and death-touched shrieks. Drumming is lightning quick, but flows like a stream, full of smooth transitions and interesting fills, liberal use of double bass, a perfect mix of interesting and challenging. I need not go on about the guitars; awe-inspiring.

Dissection seem to love sandwiching their masterpiece compositions between useless intros and outros, so unfortunately bookending the album with the weakest and most boring tracks damages its listenability. Other than that, no flaws.

SATYRICON Nemesis Divina

Album · 1996 · Black Metal
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"Nemesis Divina" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Norwegian black metal act Satyricon. The album was released through Moonfog Productions in April 1996. It´s the successor to "The Shadowthrone" from 1994 and there has been one lineup change since the predecessor as guitarist Samoth has been replaced by Kveldulv. The core part of the lineup remains in drummer Frost and lead vocalist/guitarist/bassist/keyboard player Satyr. "Nemesis Divina" considerably heightened Satyricon´s profile and the promotional video for "Mother North" was one of the tools the band successfully utilized to spread their music to a wider audience. "Nemesis Divina" quickly became one of the seminal black metal releases of the 90s.

Stylistically Satyricon have upped most elements of their music on "Nemesis Divina" compared to the preceding releases. The musicianship is stronger, the sound production more professional and intense, and the songwriting has in particular increased in quality. "Mother North" is the most famous track off the album, and it is indeed an absolutely brilliant track featuring both furious blasting sections, epic atmospheric keyboars/choirs, and crushingly doomy sections. But it´s not the only track worth mentioning from "Nemesis Divina", as it´s a strong album throughout. Other highlights include album opener "The Dawn of a New Age", and the raw and aggressive "Du som hater Gud" (translates into "You, Who Hates God").

Satyricon are a well playing act, who deliver their music with precision but also with a raw organic touch, which is important for the authenticity of the music. Satyr´s vocals deserve a special mention, as they are some of the most easily recognisable black metal snarls on the scene. He has a commanding and passionate delivery not many other black metal vocalists can equal. He understands the importance of phrasing and the power of delivering lyrics for impact (in both English and Norwegian). When he sings the first lines of "Du som hater Gud", you are not in doubt that he means what he sings. We can safely establish that there is no love for God and the Christian religion from Satyricon.

Upon conclusion "Nemesis Divina" is a high quality black metal release through and through. There´s good compositional variation and a near perfect balance between the authentic rawness of old school black metal and a more sophisticated adventurous songwriting approach. Satyricon successfully use keyboards, choirs, acoustic guitars, and the occasional ethnic Scandinavian folk element, to spice up their core black metal style, but it´s always just a spice, and never the elements which carry the tracks. The strong riffs, intriguing song structures, and overall clever compositional ideas are what carry the tracks, in addition to the high level musicianship and raw and intense sound production. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

GHOST BATH Self Loather

Album · 2021 · Black Metal
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Kev Rowland
It is safe to say that I was not a fan of Ghost Bath’s last album, 2017’s ‘Starmourner’, and I said that by far the best thing about it was the artwork! The band were still hiding their identities at the time (at one point everyone was convinced they were Chinese), but this time around I have full details in the press release, and they are not Chinese but hail from North Dakota. Originally a solo project by Dennis Mikula (vocals/guitars/synths/lyrics), before becoming a full band with the addition of Tim Church (guitars), John Olivier (guitars), Joshua Jaye (bass), and Jason Hirt (drums). All albums prior to this one were written by Dennis, but this time around it was a band effort even with the rest of the guys living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, so not exactly next door.

Everything which was wrong with the last album is right with this one. When they bring in atmosphere with beautiful piano and cello as on “Sanguine Mask” then they do so incredibly well, and songs like these are in stark contrast to when they become full-blown black metal as in “A Crystal Lattice”. What amazed me with this album is not only the way it is so superior to the previous one, but the amount of depth in their performance. Given what I thought of the last one I never imagined this was even possible, yet here we are with a black metal album which ticks all the boxes. Dramatic, atmospheric, and vital, this is incredibly solid and intense. On previous albums, Mikula expressed himself mostly with glossolalia or speaking in tongues, which allowed him to hide due to his lack of self-confidence, yet here we have him singing in a definable language for the first time which is another pointer to just how much the band have grown and changed.

If, like me, you wrote this band off after their last album, then give them another chance as this is powerful black metal indeed.

CRADLE OF FILTH Existence Is Futile

Album · 2021 · Symphonic Black Metal
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Kev Rowland
There are few bands over the years who have generated so many as extreme reactions as Cradle of Filth, from being arrested by armed police at the Vatican in Rome for wearing ‘I Love Satan’ T-shirts in the Holy City to collaborating with Ed Sheeran, Dani has led this band through numerous line-up changes in their 30-year existence (and since the release of this album towards the end of last year there have been even more). He has always been at the heart of a metal beast which has its roots in black metal but over the years has embraced (darkly) many more styles, and here we find the band again bringing plenty of symphonic modes into their sound. Have they moved more towards Dimmu Borgir with this release, or vice versa? Discuss.

I loved their last album, 2017’s ‘Cryptoriana (The Seductiveness of Decay)’, yet there are moments on this album when they manage to exceed those lofty heights, with “Crawling King Chaos” being the perfect blend of Dani, black metal, symphonic and orchestral as it creates something dark and majestic. It is immediately obvious that this is a CoF album, and we are taken on a journey of styles and contrasts, with the instrumental “Here Comes a Candle... (Infernal Lullaby)” being both beautiful and totally at odds with the far more metallic “Black Smoke Curling from the Lips of War” which follows. This is one of the real delights of this album as one never knows where it is going to lead us, and Dani is the master manipulator ensuring he is always in total control. Although there have been some recent changes to the line-up, everyone else has been in the band since at least 2014, so one wonders if we are in for a period of stability, and possibly a more frequent release schedule?

They may not be loved by all metalheads, but no-one can deny they have stayed true to the course and 30 years on from ‘Invoking the Unclean’ they are as relevant and exciting as ever.

black metal movie reviews

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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