Black Metal


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Partially inspired by a thread about Dance of Death, I'd like to try some more Black Metal. What are the essential bands and albums? I already like Enslaved, particularly the album Frost. I'm looking forward to seeing what gets posted here, as Black Metal is a genre that really interests me.


Dominus et deus
Staff member
I suppose Immortal should be anyone's first stop, as they really do cover the entire bandwidth of the genre, from short blast orgies to symphonic epicness. You might want to try their 1999 album, At the Heart of Winter for a start. You should find something to like there, especially if you enjoy thrash metal.
If you want a more upbeat type of black metal, if that is even possible, try Vreid, especially Milorg, Pitch Black Brigade or I Krig. Vreid have been called "black 'n' roll", which may also be easy to digest for newcomers. I also suppose this is a case of "if you like Enslaved, you will love them".
Dark Funeral is about as catchy as black metal can get. They put out a pretty good live album, called De Profundis Clamavi ad te Domine (most of their albums have Latin titles, which caused a classics professor to ring them up one day and offer them to translate the titles for them in the future so they'd finally get them right). Caution, however. If Immortal and Vreid are only very dark, Dark Funeral does advocate a lot of what black metal stands for, including Satanism and sometimes rather sick lyrics.
I've always been of the opinion that Naglfar (not to be confused with Nagelfar) are a band that Maiden fans will find a lot to like with. They have many Maiden-inspired riffs and melodies, so they may also be a good starting point.
You might also think to yourself, "to hell with melody and epicness", and want to find black metal's equivalent of a punch in your face, in which case I'd direct you to Marduk, especially their album, Panzer Division Marduk (now playing). Best listened to on a Monday morning with a cup of strong, black coffee.
One of my personal favourites is Geïst (now known as Eïs). They have all-German lyrics, but if you listen to this genre with the expectation of understanding the lyrics in general, you are doing something wrong. Their 2009 album, Galeere, is nothing short of an epic, dark masterpiece.

EDIT: If you can stomach their very misanthropic lyrics, you might also find something to like with Dissection.

EDIT 2: If you already enjoy death metal, even melodic, there are a few bands at the black/death cross section that might ease you in, such as Impaled Nazarene or God Dethroned.


Ancient Mariner
Hungarian black metal band Sear Bliss I have always found special. Sear Bliss was the first ever black metal band getting the "album of the month" credit in Dutch metal magazine Aardschok, back in 1996.

I especially like the two very different albums Phantoms (1996) and The Haunting (1998).
Two quite different albums though, styllistically.

Great artwork by Kris Verwimp imo:



Not the tightest musicians, but their sound is original with trumpet (later trombone), and atmospheric keyboards!

Years ago I made an interview with their bandleader (unfortunately the site doesn't exist anymore):


- Kris Verwimp made all covers of your albums. There is always a bird with spread wings on them. What does this bird mean? Do you also bring ideas for the covers, or are they only Kris Verwimp's ideas? Did he also do the cover for "Forsaken Symphony"?

- Kris Verwimp made all the cover artworks for Sear Bliss, including "Forsaken Symphony" as well. Usually we give him ideas, we tell him what we would like to see, we send him the lyrics and a tape with the songs and then he paints the artwork and of course he puts his ideas into it. He is a great artist, the best one for Sear Bliss. Yes, that bird plays an important role on the cover artworks of our albums. It represents the soul of the listener, the one who listens to the music at that moment. We would like to carry the listeners into our worlds and this bird shows on the covers where we are at the moment. Actually, that bird plays an important role in ancient Hungarian mythology as well and that's why we use it on our covers.


Deluxe Edition
Staff member
I'll throw out a recommendation for Emperor. While I'm far from an expert, I think In the Nightside Eclipse is about as good as this genre gets.

Night Prowler

Customer Deathcycle Manager
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I suggest Enslaved's last album, Axioma Ethica Odini. In lack of better comparison, it's like black metal version of Opeth, but with less clean vocals and acoustics and with black instead of death metal influences :D

Seconding Dark Funeral and Naglfar.

Some other black metal bands I like:
Dutch symphonic black metal band Carach Angren - their lyrics are all about horror stories, lots of awesome orchestrations, modern/clean production. They have 3 albums, all of them are good for a start.
German melodic black metal band Secrets Of The Moon - dunno 'bout the lyrics, but the album I heard (Seven Bells) is pretty catchy and accessible. Mostly midpaced songs.


Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
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Read all of these, will look in depth at the artists this weekend. Thanks guys.


Ancient Mariner
Of course, you can go old school and fire up some Venom (was going to say Celtic Frost as well, but not quite sure they fit in the genre, it has been years/decades since I listened to either.


Ancient Mariner
I also like old Dimmu Borgir. In particular these two albums:

Stormblåst (1996) (careful! Not the sacrilegious re-recorded version from 2005)
The album is entirely in the band's native language, and was their last album to be completely in Norwegian instead of English. I love the atmosphere on it, and it features some nice (simply but catchy) chords schemes. Not unimportant: the keyboard contribution by Stian Aarstad (also on the next album!).

Enthrone Darkness Triumphant (1997)
The album was a huge success for the band (so huge that some people thought this should not be labeled black metal anymore because it was not "true"), and their first full-length release to contain lyrics in English.
The sound is much more heavily produced. The drums have improved so insanely much that I can´t believe they were done by the same person (as credited). Very strong, allround album with several awesome moments. Especially the song "Spellbound (By the Devil)" kicks the ass of most metal songs. Great changes in the song. Very adventurous!

In my previous post I forgot to mention the Sear Bliss release called The Pagan Winter.

It features the band's first recordings. The production does not sound that well, but that's not a big deal for people who dig old school black metal ;-)
These are still good songs! Plus a gigantic later recording is added:
The epic 12 minutes "In the Shadow of Another World".

Night Prowler

Customer Deathcycle Manager
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Gotta recommend Anaal Nathrakh. Don't let the name put you off, it has nothing to do with anal sex :p
Supposedly, their name comes from the spell Merlin utters in the movie Excalibur, which starts with "Anaal Nathrakh...". This spell is called the "Charm of Making". Given Michael Everson's transcription, Anaal Nathrakh means "serpent's breath".
Anyway, it's probably the most br00tal band I ever heard. Demos, first album and first EP are pure black metal, devoid of melody and clean vocals. After that, they started incorporating some grindcore elements, and much more melodies and clean vocals which are pretty unique and epic. Still, the main vocal style is a random combination of all kinds of harsh vocals, from high melodeath screaming, to brutal death metal growling. People who don't like harsh vocals and black metal should probably stay away from this band because of it :p But then again, they will probably just stay away from this thread altogether. They don't print out lyrics, so most of the vocalization is probably just mindless screaming.

Their most br00tal song is this one:

Some of their catchier stuff, with clean vocals and more melody:


Dominus et deus
Staff member
Wow, I just discovered that Anaal Nathrakh have released three albums since Hell is Empty... I feel so old.


Ancient Mariner
The black metal bands I have on my old iPod. Maybe some of it will be to people's liking.

Deathspell Omega




Necrophobic (Death/Black)



Ancient Mariner
My two cents to the topic: Krallice and Liturgy - the bands I recently discovered. It's worth to give them a try. Certainly listen to these two mindblowing tracks below! Although I'm not really into the Scandinavian, classic black, the approach of this new American movement is terrific.



Rockin in Rio
Emperor's album anthems to the welkin at dusk is the best black metal album ever in my opinion. The group is no longer and Ihsahn solo albums now are more progressive metal now but still just as good.


clap hands
Although more doom metal, I believe, Night Prowler recommended some songs for me.

My Dying Bride - Two Winters Only
I like the music well enough, but the vocals are just not to my liking. I don't hear a melody at all, just sounds like someone vaguely talking.

Swallow the Sun - Sleepless Swans
Better vocals, more diversity than the previous song. The guitars are better here and I like the spoken word bridge section.

I think, however, that doom metal is not my thing. Too plodding and sad. I just don't identify with this level of sadness. It's like...The Cure playing metal. So onto some black metal:

Secrets of the Moon - Nyx
Much prefer the music here. There's double bass and a chugging riff within the first minute. Still way too plodding for me, though.

This might not be the thread for me. :confused:

Night Prowler

Customer Deathcycle Manager
Staff member
Well, those 3 bands are almost exclusively slow anyway :)

On the other hand, you have faster black metal like this:

and a bit faster, more power-metallish doom:



Metal Wizard
A little bit of the black metal I've been listening to recently:

Destroyer 666 (Black/Thrash)

Irkallian Oracle (Black/Death)

Winterfylleth (Pagan/Melodic/Atmospheric Black Metal)


clap hands
NP - You went from 0 to 60! "Armada" is much more enjoyable than the previous three, but the blast beat obsession combined with the growl vocals is just too much for me. That Krux song, however, I like a lot! Sounds like some standard metal to me. Is that song pretty representative of their music as a whole?

Luke - I love that Destroyer song right up until the vocals kick in. "Ekstasis" is the longest intro I've ever heard...I shut it off at the 5:00 mark. I really like the music in that Winterfylleth song.