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Best Black Metal Demos


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I think that it is really fascinating to listen to demo albums.  Not only do they represent the beginnings of a band, but they can also provide hints about what they will become in the future.  What bm demos are your favorites?  Among my favorites are the following:

Burzum: Demo 1

Peste Noire: Macabre Transcendence...

Paysage d'Hiver: Nacht

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I know this thread is more about sharing good new black metal demos, but I thought I'd cover some nostalgia with some black metal demo material in my collection:

The Darkthrone 'Frostland Tapes' box set that came out a few years ago is a great package with four of their demos including the mighty 'Cromlech',  as well as the original 'Goatlord' album and a live show. Brilliant and comprehensive release. 

Dissection's 'The Past is Alive (The Early Mischief)' is another compilation of demos that is mandatory listening. All of the demos and early versions of their classics.

Taake's 'Helnorsk Svartmetall' is an excellent compilation of the Hoest with the most and his demos both under the Thule name and, later, Taake. 

Enslaved's 'Yggdrasil' is basically unlistenable in its nekroness, but good fun. 

Satyricon's 'The Forest is My Throne' is awesome, particularly the title. I was obsessed with the title as a teenager. 

Emperor's 'Wrath of the Tyrant' is supposed to be a demo but I see it more as a cool EP. 

Mayhem's 'Pure Fucking Armageddon' provides a lot of history, if not the most hi fi of listening experiences. 

Can't think of what else I have off the top of my head. I've got more demo material than I realised when it gets added up. Could be more but I can't be bothered going upstairs to check because I'm too black metal for poser acts like that. 

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21 minutes ago, FatherAlabaster said:

I think it's more about sharing black metal demos in general, not just new releases. Some video links with your post would be cool for people that haven't heard that stuff yet.

True demos should be listened to on cassette exclusively.

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Here's an odd duck - Ulver's "Vargnatt" demo from 1993. It doesn't sound a whole lot like the turn they'd take on "Bergtatt" - among other thing the lineup changed significantly between the two recordings - but the acoustic folk elements are there, along with some clean vocals, even if they are silly and pretty bad considering how Garm's voice would develop over the next few years. Carl-Michael Eide of Ved Buens Ende, Virus, Aura Noir, etc. played drums on this, and somehow it feels like he injected his avant-garde idiosyncrasies into the songwriting.

My copy of this is a split CD with Immortal's self-titled demo from 1991 (the one that leads off with "Suffocate The Masses", not to be confused with the self-titled EP from the same year), and I'm fairly certain it's a bootleg. It improperly attributes this recording to the "Bergtatt" lineup, which I didn't know was incorrect until years later. Thanks, internet, for putting me straight. That version is up on Youtube, but here's the remaster from 2009, which has a different track listing and is actually listenable:

 

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10 minutes ago, Balor said:

The clean version was definitely better for Ulver.  Incidentally, the acoustic portions on the version with the poor quality remind me a bit of Peste Noire.

I agree, although there's something appealing about those hopelessly overdriven acoustic parts. They actually released the cleaner version officially on Bandcamp a while back, I may pick that up.

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23 hours ago, FatherAlabaster said:

I agree, although there's something appealing about those hopelessly overdriven acoustic parts. They actually released the cleaner version officially on Bandcamp a while back, I may pick that up.

I think that sonically, it is an interesting dichotomy.  The natural and earthy tones of an acoustic instrument, and the hopeless, mechanistic background echos of a poor recording.

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  • 3 months later...

I have been listening to the "Verminous Uprising" demo by Reek of the Unzen Gas Fumes a lot recently, and I really wish that I could track down a physical copy of it (I have had no luck thus far).  Not only does it represent some of their strongest material, but I think that it also is one of the best examples of blending bm with another genre (in this case, grindcore).  I would highly recommend it.

 

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  • 2 years later...
  • 1 month later...

I skip the more known (and excellent) demos of bands like Emperor, Burzum, Behemoth etc and focus on more unknown bands, also I skipped professionally recorded studio demos.  Most of these tapes are to find on youtube, I don't post any videos here, because this would mess up performance of the thread....

Nordic inlfuenced black metal:

Incarnator - Nordic Holocaust (1993) - close to Bathory, but still distinctive. No album followed after this.

Thorns - Grymyrk og Tröndertun (1991) - This is the band whom it is believed they developed the nordic black metal riffing

Baxaxaxa - Hellfire (1992) - Unknown masterpiece of early german black metal. No album followed after this.

Enkil - Self-titled (1995) - US raw black metal from the mid-90s in norse traditions. No full-length album followed after this.

Traditional german school black metal:

Graupel - Als der Nebel... (2001)   - german school of black metal. one of the rawest stuff ever recorded

Grabgesang - Of Medieval Graveyard Forests (1995) - german raw black metal, primitive and raw, with some catchy melodies. No full-length album followed after this.

Pagan Winter - In the Shadowlands

Polish black metal:

Kataxu - North (1995) - Bizarre symphonic black metal, the terrible sound makes it even more fascinating

Profanum - Under a Black Wings of Emperor (1994) - raw black metal with decent usage of keyboards

Gontyna Kry - Welowie (1997) - early polish atmospheric black metal

Thunderbolt - Black Clouds over Dark Majesty (1996) - Another gem of polish black metal

Pagan Black Metal:

Bergthron - Durch den Nebel der Finsternis (1995) - Combination of primitive, ultra-raw black metal with some folk melodies and clean vocals

Falkenbach - Laeknishendr (1995) - Falkenbachs raw and weird beginning, more close to black metal than later works. Falkenbachs & Vargas' lost demos are a mysterium itself.

Contemporary black metal (After 2000)

Blutdersommer - Galgensang im Sternenfeuer (2002) - german apocalyptic raw black metal. No album followed after this.

Kallathon - Before drifting into the Abyss (2009) - raw and cold US black metal in the unique style of the Crepuscúlo Negro bands

Kuxan Suum - Kinich ahau (2010) - another, more progressive example of the Crepuscúlo Negro scene.

Obscure stuff:

Grausamkeit - Stardust (2000) - Black Metal meets Video Game music

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  • 7 months later...

Covenant (or Kovenant as they are known now) released an excellent demo which showed so much promise. They could have probably been up there with Emperor and Dimmu if they had played their cards right. Their first two albums were excellent as well, but after that they just turned to utter shit in my opinion.

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Destructhor81 said:

Covenant (or Kovenant as they are known now) released an excellent demo which showed so much promise. They could have probably been up there with Emperor and Dimmu if they had played their cards right. Their first two albums were excellent as well, but after that they just turned to utter shit in my opinion.

 

I recently did a revisit of Covenant in order to decide if Nexus Polaris deserved a vinyl purchase (Cosmic Key Creations have done some beautiful represses), and man I could feel my interest vane for every year I moved up. Animatronik was laughable but SETI was even worse! Even on NP they were kind of going overboard with the piano tinkling.

Like, how do you go from this:

Covenant - From the storm of the shadows

 

To THIS!

Kovenant - Star by star

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another insane demo from the early days of Norwegian black metal. Fleurety was the odd duck from the beginning and their demo reflects this as well, even in the early stages they were going for a totally unique sound. Alexander Nordgaren´s vulture-like vocals on the third track are just insane and inhuman and he actually permanently damaged his vocals chords doing them. They did an EP which is even better and the first full length album is gold as well. Sadly they went full prog after that and i lost all interest in them after that.

 

In the Woods is another one of those Norwegian bands which chose to forge their own unique path. On their demo they still retained a lot of the classic black metal influences but there is already some amazing synth and guitar work which already showed a lot of promise. Their debut album ranks among of my favorite albums of all times because you simply won´t ever hear an album like it ever again.

 

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On 5/29/2021 at 3:23 PM, Sheol said:

I recently did a revisit of Covenant in order to decide if Nexus Polaris deserved a vinyl purchase (Cosmic Key Creations have done some beautiful represses), and man I could feel my interest vane for every year I moved up. Animatronik was laughable but SETI was even worse! Even on NP they were kind of going overboard with the piano tinkling.

Like, how do you go from this:

Covenant - From the storm of the shadows

 

To THIS!

Kovenant - Star by star

 

Who know what possessed them to turn into a shitty gothic symphonic metal band all of a sudden. I blame the whole gothic/symphonic scene at the time. With bands like Dimmu Borgir and Nightwish on the rise it became trendy to incorporate those elements in your music if you craved commercial success and Kovenant clearly wanted a piece of the pie.

Plus it seemed like the Matrix movies kicked off this whole futuristic trend among the black metal scene at the time. All of a sudden bands like Satyricon, Dødheimsgard, Gehenna, Zyklon and a bunch of others anbandoned their much beloved Norwegian pagan image and became a bunch of fucking Mad Max look-a-like clowns for a few years. Gladly this phase passed pretty quickly and lasted only until 2005 or so.

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2 hours ago, Destructhor81 said:

Plus it seemed like the Matrix movies kicked off this whole futuristic trend among the black metal scene at the time. All of a sudden bands like Satyricon, Dødheimsgard, Gehenna, Zyklon and a bunch of others anbandoned their much beloved Norwegian pagan image and became a bunch of fucking Mad Max look-a-like clowns for a few years. Gladly this phase passed pretty quickly and lasted only until 2005 or so.

Ah yes, The Matrix virus as we call it in Sweden. Bane of good taste and slayer of dignity. A good thing about it is that it effectively killed the spell and status Norwegian black metal had in the metal world, making room for other countries to hone their own take on BM.

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20 hours ago, Sheol said:

Ah yes, The Matrix virus as we call it in Sweden. Bane of good taste and slayer of dignity. A good thing about it is that it effectively killed the spell and status Norwegian black metal had in the metal world, making room for other countries to hone their own take on BM.

To be honest not everything from that phase was horrible but most of it aged pretty badly in my opinion. And like you said it gave other countries a chance to show of their music. I really got into the Polish and Greek scene around that time so it wasn´t all bad in the end :)

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