Jump to content
Balor

Best Black Metal Demos

Recommended Posts

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

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your Ad Here
Support the forum, get a special badge and promote yourself to thousands of Metal fans. Click the above link to get started!

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. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Requiem said:

I know this thread is more about sharing good new black metal demos

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, FatherAlabaster said:

That version is up on Youtube, but here's the remaster from 2009, which has a different track listing and is actually listenable:

 

But is it a really true black metal demo if it is listenable?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, FatherAlabaster said:

Here, you be the judge. 

 

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Join Metal Forum

    joinus-home.jpg

  • Your Ad Here
    Support the forum, get a special badge and promote yourself to thousands of Metal fans. Click the above link to get started!
  • Our picks

    • Behemoth "I Loved You At Your Darkest"
      The first song I heard ahead the full 2014 release ("The Satanist") from Behemoth was "Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel".  It immediately peaked my interest, setting the tone nicely for what was to become one of my favoured full lengths of that year.  This time around I heard "God = Dog" (which I think means the band are more cat people?).  It sounded blunted and frankly restrained.  Yes, there was a brief passage of some interesting string work towards the end but generally it just passed me by.  Sadly, just as my experience of the lead song/single from 2014 was an excellent benchmark for my expectation of the full length, the same has happened in 2018 but with a very different outcome.

      "I Loved You At Your Darkest" rarely achieves touching distance of the band's previous full length.  There's lots of things that stop it from doing this, indeed the list is as long as either one of my lanky and lengthy arms.  The songwriting is poor, it lacks any real structure the majority of the time.  As a result there is a constant sense of this just being a very hastily written, rush of ideas.  Tracks like "If Crucifixion Was Not Enough" and "Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica" show this in abundance, the former nailing the lid down on its own coffin with one of the laziest attempts at a menacing riff I have heard in a while.

      When we do actually settle into some sense of structure it actually works well.  "Bartzabel" is a sole triumph in the songwriting/structure stakes here and this is almost ruined by the annoying double layered, chanting backing vocals.


      Next on my list of grumbles?  The sound.  It is one of the most sterile and strained sounding mixes I think I have ever heard on a record.  The drums sound like they were tracked for a completely different purpose on some of the tracks, "Wolves ov Siberia" and "Rom 5:8" in particular.  I can't believe that this was the intended sound the band wanted to achieve.  I follow Behemoth on Instagram and they make much majesty and menace over their theatre and general pomp when performing live it seems.  Surely then they haven't listened to the final playback of this record?

      Now then.  I don't recall chanting children on a record ever working well?  But there's a couple of tracks here of children chanting their disdain for Christianity alongside Nergal and co.  It sounds frankly fucking ridiculous and trite even over only two tracks!

      In summary, this is a massive disappointment whether you enjoyed "The Satanist" or not.  Hastily put together, poorly arranged and mixed terribly to boot.

      1/5 
      • Reputation Points

      • 1 reply
    • On July 27, 2018, Redemption released their seventh full-length album, Long Night’s Journey Into Day. The release was mastered by Jacob Hansen, who has also worked with Amaranthe, Doro, Primal Fear and Volbeat. It is the first album to feature Evergrey vocalist Tom Englund on vocals, replacing longtime frontman Ray Alder, also of progressive metal institution Fates Warning. Englund’s highly emotional, husky vocal style could lend a rougher edge to Redemption’s simultaneously melodramatic and contemplative approach. It is also worth pointing out that in the band’s new promo shoot (https://www.redemptionweb.com/) he looks quite a lot like the 30-year-old Boomer (https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/30-year-old-boomer).

      It’s a good choice, however, considering that Evergrey and Redemption are strongly reliant on their vocalists to define their sound. The Art of Loss was the band’s most eclectic effort, but Alder’s singing provided the basic foundation that defined it as a Redemption album. Englund could be better off in Redemption, given that Evergrey have been meandering for the last couple releases while the former band have been musically top-notch for most of their oeuvre. Chris Poland, formerly of Megadeth, returns for this album, having appeared on The Art of Loss for a very noticeable shred outing on the title track. He will be joined by Italian guitar veteran Simone Mularoni, of Empyrios and the estimable prog-power heavyweights DGM. Also, after an extensive coma after a 2014 aneurysm (https://www.facebook.com/Bernie-Versailles-379611832240834/), the band’s longtime lead guitarist Bernie Versailles returns to the lineup.

      Long Night’s Journey into Day tracklist
      1. Eyes You Dare Not Meet in Dreams
      2. Someone Else’s Problem
      3. The Echo Chamber
      4. Impermanent
      5. Indulge in Color
      6. Little Men
      7. And Yet
      8. The Last of Me
      9. New Year’s Day
      10. Long Night’s Journey into Day
      • Reputation Points

      • 0 replies
    • Glen Benton is 51.  Fuck I feel old now too.  Deicide are 30 years old (32 if we count the Amon era).  Album number 12 from the fathers of Florida death metal is a strong effort considering yet another change of personnel has occurred.  It is bye-bye Jack Owen, hello Mark English of Monstosity fame taking up guitar duties and ironically I like "Overtures of Blasphemy " a lot more than Monstrosity's effort this year.

      Whilst it can never make the "beast of a DM record" title I would give to the debut or"Legion" for example, "Overtures..." is entertaining.  Whether it is the melo-death passages that litter the streets and alleyways of this record or the more familiar sacrilegious blasting fury of Deicide at their (old) best, there's plenty to balance the experince over these 12 tracks.  Take "Seal The Tomb" for example, it goes immediately for the jugular, relentlessly chugging riffs alongside Benton's usual demented growls only to be tempered by menacing and interesting leads and sonics that carry the song along well.  Listen once to this track and it is in your head for literally days after.

      Then there's the vehemence of the lyrics of "Compliments of Christ" were you can feel the spittle from Glen's lips splattering your ears as he spews forth the vitriol he is best known for.  "Anointed in Blood" opens like a lead jam session recorded mid flow before developing into a hellish gallop of fiery hooves, again perfectly completed by some well placed and well timed leads.

      This is were Morbid Angel went wrong with "Kingdoms..." safe DM with little if any attention paid to the sonic wizardry of their sound.  Take a leaf out of Glen's book Trey!

      It is clear that this is no nonsense DM that is not out to reinvent any wheels it still has enough equal measure of extremity and assured and unapologetic attitude to hold it's own against most of the DM records released this year.  It is not perfect by any means.  I lose it on more than one occasion if I am honest ("Crucified Soul of Salvation" in particular hits my 'standby' button really nicely) and it is a couple of tracks too long making for an almost excessive feel to the running time.  Whilst it is a well paced record there's definitely some "filler" present.  But very any turkeys in here there is still thankfully the brilliance of tracks like "Consumed by Hatred" to snap you back to attention.  "Flesh, Power, Dominion" is one of the strongest things Deicide have ever put to tape btw.

      3/5
      • Reputation Points

      • 0 replies
    • Winterfylleth "The Hallowing of Heirdom"
      Okay, so I will admit that the prospect of an acoustic only Winterfylleth album didn't exactly fill me with joy.  The pagan, black metallers have long existed on the fringes of my radar but never somehow managed to make much more than a fleeting blip historically. 

      The fact is that this is one of the most heartfelt records I have listened to in quite a while.  I have more than once found myself stood stock still, completely captivated by the atmospheric beauty of what I have heard on this record.  The album opens up with "The Shepherd" a track which starts with a rendering of the Christopher Marlowe poem "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" and this is an indication of what you are in for as a listener.  There's not one bit of BM on this record and it doesn't need any in any way, shape or form.  "The Hallowing of Heirdom" is more folk than anything even remotely resembling metal.  Imagine if Fleet Foxes dropped the irritation of that constant "hippy" vibe and showed some actual capable instrumentation also and you are loosely on the right track.

       


      There's variety to it which is as unexpected as it is welcome and it means you never get bored despite the record clocking in at 55 mins plus.  Over 12 tracks you are actually taken on a journey that stays with you long afterwards, which is what all good journeys should do, be memorable for all the right reasons.  But don't get me wrong, it isn't OTT on the emotion front, that's not the strength on display here.  No, this is one of the most balanced releases in my recent memory.  It's like a picture album where the first picture is given to you (that cover) and then it takes over your head with numerous captures of the very essence of the land itself.  You can smell the pine of the trees, the earthy tones of the fields and almost feel the breeze on your face even though you are sat in your front room with all the windows and doors shut.

      As usual with Winterfylleth there's a theme of the old ways being lost, the album title itself harking back to the importance of "heirdom" as we all exist with clear ties back to people stretching far back into history but seem to rarely give that much thought.   "The Hallowing of Heirdom" seems a fitting tribute to the ways of yore regardless.

      5/5
      • Reputation Points

      • 6 replies
    • I invite you to come with me to a time before 2008. It may surprise you to learn that at this point, Circle II Circle was actually a pretty damn good band. They did eventually become prog Godsmack, as history will record with bitter regret chronicling the storied tale of Savatage. For now, however, let’s make like boomers and complain about how things used to be better.

      Burden of Truth sounds like sentimentalism, at times. It feels rather like Skid Row filtered through Phantom of the Opera, in that characteristically Trans-Siberian Orchestra fashion. The difference, though, is that Circle II Circle crank the technicality and bite of their music significantly higher than TSO’s comfortable bombast. It’s certainly a little saccharine, but performed with such conviction and talent as to make that nearly irrelevant.

      Zak Stevens’ voice is vital to this whole undertaking. His overbored bass resonates unstoppably through every song, an unmistakably mature vocal delivery that dignifies even the album’s most banal emotional turns (“How can we learn to live as one…” “I walked by the church and saw the children, and the world through their eyes…”). Moreover, it is very identifiably American, and that’s the biggest selling point of this album. It’s worth noting he layers very nicely with his backing vocalists. The “The Black” and title track have particularly good harmonizing.

      One might be tempted to snicker at some of these lyrics and the melodies. How antiquated the notion of melodic music without dizzying rhythmic changes or production magic out the ass. Yet, the sheer power behind it all is impossible to deny. The piano line on “Heal Me” would be insufferable if it didn’t drag you in immediately. Despite the sugar content, Burden of Truth is largely fat-free. It doesn’t fall victim to most metal tropes, including the prevalence of vibrato. It’s endearing too, in a sort of Andie McDowell in Five Weddings and a Funeral kind of way, or perhaps of Joy Davidson in Shadowlands – very American.

      The opening to Revelations? Badass. The crunchy riffs of A Matter of Time? Some slick shit. The entirety of Evermore? One of the most masterfully tight, pointed pieces of prog metal out there that still pounds away at the ears like a cannon blast. If you wanted an aspirational American soundtrack, this is it. Songs for an endearing everyman with more behind his ears than you might guess.
      • Reputation Points

      • 1 reply
×