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The Official Black Metal Recommendations Thread

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Moderator's Note: This is the place for all Black Metal recommendations on Metal Forum.

 

as with death metal I've been on a self imposed exile from the realms of black metal for some time now (sold all the bm I had except for Venom) looking for something complex, other then that it must be coherent, nothing irritates me more then awesome musicianship ruined by vocals so extreme you can't make out what's being said, any suggestions you guys can give would be greatly appreciated

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Re: recommendations?

as with death metal I've been on a self imposed exile from the realms of black metal for some time now (sold all the bm I had except for Venom) looking for something complex' date=' other then that it must be coherent, nothing irritates me more then awesome musicianship ruined by vocals so extreme you can't make out what's being said, any suggestions you guys can give would be greatly appreciated[/quote'] You'll probably have a relatively difficult time understanding lyrics through black metal vocals until your ears adjust to it. I can understand some black/death metal lyrics without a lyric sheet, but some are not as intelligible as others, and some people just don't have an ear for it. For instance, I think I enunciate fairly well when I do black/death vocals, but my wife and others still claim that they can't understand what I'm saying. In any case, I'll start building a list of some you might enjoy.

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Re: recommendations? Harsh vocals are less of an issue with me for my black metal, as opposed to gurgling bullshit in death metal which I sympathize with you for hating. Ulver-Bergtatt (is probably 70% folk and 30% black metal, and has clean vocals mixed with the black metal rasps) Borknagar-Their first album doesn't have clean vocals, but their latter albums do and they get less black metal as they go along. Agathodaimon-Their older stuff has some clean vocal work, but from Chapter 3 onward they went a bit soft and had male/female vocals for commercial purposes. Burzum-Fallen has a few cleaner songs as well, but you have to always remember the black metal rasp is an essential aspect of the music.

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Alright, I think that the way that I'm going to have the most success with this is to list a broad mix of bands and see what sticks. Some of the really extreme areas are ones that I probably won't list unless you express further interest, but it will probably be spread between older black metal that is along the lines of Venom or in the first wave progression, and also bands that are a bit more mellow and/or feature cleaner, more intelligible vocals. Here goes nothing:

 

Absu - Tara:

Absu is a great US black/thrash metal band with a progressive touch and occult themed lyrics. The vocals may be a little to harsh to start with, but I'm betting that you'll dig the music. Of interesting note is that Proscriptor was in the running to replace Dave Lombardo in Slayer.

 

Arcturus - Aspera Hiems Symfornia:

Arcturus were one of the best symphonic black metal bands out there IMO, with an impressively well written keyboard presence, excellent riffs, intricate yet not overly blasting drums, and alternating harsh and clean vocals. In some places it almost feels like a waltz because of the 3/4 time signature, but can also become majestically cold and aggressive.

 

Aura Noir - Black Thrash Attack:

Aura Noir were one of Norway's first black/thrash metal bands, and this album still stands as one of my favorites in the genre. It falls a bit farther on the thrash side of the equation overall, but the vocals, melodies, and production all scream black metal, especially of the first wave variety.

 

Bathory - The Return...:

Quorthon was one of the first vocalists to utilize this mid/high range raspy style that has become synonymous with Scandinavian black metal, and I still think he's one of the best at it, rough and nasty but still understandable. This is one of the their thrashier songs, but it's first wave black metal all the way, and may remind you of the song Welcome To Hell by Venom. Bathory's first three albums are in this style, while Blood Fire Death is both more intense and more epic, a stepping stone to their expansive Viking metal sound.

 

Burzum - Filosofem:

I picked this song for a few reasons. Firstly, Burzum was one of the founders of the more hypnotic, ambient styled black metal sound we hear frequently today, so I felt that it should get some representation. Secondly, this is one of Burzum's best songs, I can't listen to this without being absolutely drawn into it's massive atmosphere. Third, his vocals are MUCH more abrasive on their earlier albums, whereas here he tempers them with a bit of distortion. While you may understand even less of what he's saying (if you speak the language, that is), I know that many take time to adjust to his earlier sound.

 

Celtic Frost - Morbid Tales (EP)

Celtic Frost are one of the most influential extreme metal bands in history, having impacted black, thrash, death, doom, gothic, avant-garde, and sludge metal, in addition to many punk genres. This is Celtic Frost at their earliest, most visceral stage, where you can begin to hear them shedding their Venom influences from their earlier band Hellhammer, and combining it with many other influences to create something unique, especially for the time. I can't say enough about them or their influence, so here's hoping that you dig them too.

 

Darkthrone - A Blaze In The Northern Sky:

This is a long one, but it's one of my favorites. I chose this song because it shows Darkthrone at their most riff oriented and savage. Darkthrone started stripping down after this album, with Transylvanian Hunger being more about atmosphere than anything, but here they are pretty much Bathory + Celtic Frost, which is how I like them best honestly. It feels like there's more soul and variation on this album and Under A Funeral Moon than Transylvanian, but you can't deny the chilling atmosphere that album presents either.

 

 

Destruction - Sentenced to Death (EP):

Some will argue with me on this, but along with the other bands of the German Big 3, Destruction started out on the border of early extreme metal and thrash, and though even early on they were closer to thrash, their influence on black metal was undeniable. Anything after this and maybe Infernal Overkill is pure thrash, but Sentence of Death is first wave black/thrash metal.

 

Dissection - Storm of the Light's Bane

Again, I'm betting the vocals may be a bit much, but Dissection are much more riff oriented and melodic than many of their Swedish peers. Let yourself get drawn in by the awesome riffs and insanely catchy leads, most of my friends that don't like black metal still like Dissection.

 

Hellhammer - Satanic Rites (demo), Demon Entrails (compilation)

This is the band from which Celtic Frost evolved. This is a much more primal, raw, and Venom influenced band than Celtic Frost, but is also an extremely influential band to extreme metal. Don't expect anything but filth and grime, but in the best way possible.

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Re: recommendations? alright the only one there I probably wouldn't listen to again is Burzum, the music was cool and all but the way he delivers the vocals (and the fact that I couldn't really pick out any words) put me off (I'm guessing from what little I could make out that he's speaking German but could be wrong), I've been listening to Celtic Frost for years but never really thought of them as black metal for some reason, everything else was enjoyable for different reasons, Bathory I found particularly enjoyable so I'll be starting with them

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Re: recommendations?

Harsh vocals are less of an issue with me for my black metal, as opposed to gurgling bullshit in death metal which I sympathize with you for hating. Ulver-Bergtatt (is probably 70% folk and 30% black metal, and has clean vocals mixed with the black metal rasps) Borknagar-Their first album doesn't have clean vocals, but their latter albums do and they get less black metal as they go along. Agathodaimon-Their older stuff has some clean vocal work, but from Chapter 3 onward they went a bit soft and had male/female vocals for commercial purposes. Burzum-Fallen has a few cleaner songs as well, but you have to always remember the black metal rasp is an essential aspect of the music.
ok can't find Ulver-Bergtatt on iTunes or the free music app on my xbox 360 I'll youtube them to check out their music, didn't really like Borknagar but that's more because I couldn't understand the language then a dislike of the music, I'm currently listening to Agathodaimon's Serpent's Embrace album and think it's pretty cool, BlutAusNerd showed me a Burzum track which I didn't like because of how he delivers his vocals so I probably won't check out the album of theirs you suggested, thanks for the suggestions though

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Re: recommendations?

as with death metal I've been on a self imposed exile from the realms of black metal for some time now (sold all the bm I had except for Venom) looking for something complex' date=' other then that it must be coherent, nothing irritates me more then awesome musicianship ruined by vocals so extreme you can't make out what's being said, any suggestions you guys can give would be greatly appreciated[/quote'] Well, this is complex. The vokills might turn you off though:
Moderator's Note: due to OP's lack of info and the old way youtube embeds worked it was not possible to recover their video.

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Re: recommendations? It's a really, REALLY slow day today, so I guess I'll do some more here too.

 

Immortal - At the Heart of Winter:

After releasing a few albums of tried and true Norwegian BM, Immortal decided to branch out a bit and write these big, epic, riffy, and thrashy black metal songs, still very much retaining the wintery feel of their older works. Abbath's vocals are more of a croak than the more screamed delivery of many Norwegian BM bands, but it delivers a good contrast to the music. This is probably my favorite Immortal album by a hair, but the albums that follow this one are also in the same style.

 

Master's Hammer - Ritual:

Master's Hammer were a totally unique and awesome early 2nd wave black metal band. The influences from first wave black metal greats like Celtic Frost and Mercyful Fate are pretty audible here, but they take these influences to another level and incorporate a great deal of Eastern European folk influence into the music, much like Tormentor before them. There are great riffs and solos, memorable songs, strange vocals, and an amazing atmosphere. This is one of my favorite black metal albums of all time, hopefully you'll enjoy it too.

 

Mayhem - Deathcrush (EP):

Mayhem has featured many unique and extreme vocalists throughout their career, and many of them may or may not be to your liking, but I think the music on Deathcrush might be your best starting point for this band. This is one of the very first Norwegian black metal releases, owing a great deal to Venom, Hellhammer, and Bathory, but this was also one of the albums that helped push black metal forward into the 2nd wave. Oh, and did I mention that it kicks ass?

 

Melechesh - Sphynx:

Melechesh were originally from Jerusalem, and though they have since left that area, their native regional music influence remains. They are sonically fairly similar to Absu, and Proscriptor does play drums on this album, but they're overall much more folk influenced, slower, and more deliberate. These guys are probably the best band out there at incorporating Middle Eastern melodies into metal, and I love the way it melds with their thrashy black metal sound.

 

Moonspell - Wolfheart:

Moonspell were a gothic and folk influenced black metal band in the early 90's before becoming straight up goth, and then rediscovering their metalness recently. This is from one of their best albums, Wolfheart, which is a very diverse album. Their plethora of influences can be heard pretty clearly as the songs all have very different feels, but lead to a very cool album structure. They alternate degrees of harsh and clean vocals, using many different techniques, as with their music, and I honestly can't think of anyone else that sounds anything like them.

 

Morbid - December Moon:

Morbid were an early Swedish black/death/thrash metal band that is probably most noteworthy for being the earliest band for LG Petrov and Uffe Cederlund (later of Nihilist/Entombed), and also of Dead (later of Mayhem). This is unfortunate, because I believe that their music is very good and would stand on it's own without the ties to later legends. They wear their influences on their sleeves, but push forward sonically to create something that was definitely ahead of their time.

 

Mortuary Drape - All the Witches Dance:

Mortuary Drape were one of Italy's first black metal bands, and like many others mentioned, their primary influences were Mercyful Fate and Celtic Frost. They have a sort of epic yet occult atmosphere, and have some pretty killer riffs and solos to help build that atmosphere. Not much else to say about this one, it's just awesome early black metal.

 

NME - Unholy Death:

I posted a video from these guys earlier that you seemed to enjoy, so here's another. Very Venom-ish early black metal, but also sounding similar to Hellhammer in some places. This album is just ugly and dirty sounding, from the production to the playing, and also in the vocals. Awesome and raw, and probably the first American black metal band, it's too bad NME didn't do anymore albums like this.

 

Necrodeath - Mater Of All Evil:

Necrodeath were another early Italian black/thrash metal band, sounding much more unhinged than their peers. Their sound is pretty violent, yet sort of dark and occult, but it's the riffs that really sell me on their music. This is from their first album since reforming, and is a bit more controlled and refined, their early work might be a bit too raw to start out with.

 

Necromantia - Scarlet Evil Witching Black:

Necromantia are Greece's best black metal band, and one of the best in the world IMO. Their sound is unique even among the "warm" Greek sound, and not just because they use 2 basses instead of guitars. Their songwriting is superb, and they have sort of a campy horror movie feel to their atmosphere, but it sucks you in like crazy. The vocals may be a bit much for you, but as with many of the others, I'm hoping the music will help to bridge the gap for you, as it did with me.

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Re: recommendations? I was wondering when someone would mention Mayhem, I'll be picking up a couple of their albums from a friend next weekend in exchange for a couple of Metallica albums (ones which I am happy to be parting with I might add), Moonspell were interesting and unlike anything I've heard before, but the band that really caught my attention was Necromantia, vocals are becoming less of an issue (really I just don't like anything with those horrendous grunting growls that lead to jokes like this: new death metal band forms, whilst writing lyrics for their first song vocalist turns to drummer and says "hey dude how do you spell WHRAAAAAAGH?") oh yeah and I bought Ulver - Bergtatt and Absu - Exhibit V: Tara today, so that's three down and a shitload to go

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Re: recommendations?

I was wondering when someone would mention Mayhem, I'll be picking up a couple of their albums from a friend next weekend in exchange for a couple of Metallica albums (ones which I am happy to be parting with I might add), Moonspell were interesting and unlike anything I've heard before, but the band that really caught my attention was Necromantia, vocals are becoming less of an issue (really I just don't like anything with those horrendous grunting growls that lead to jokes like this: new death metal band forms, whilst writing lyrics for their first song vocalist turns to drummer and says "hey dude how do you spell WHRAAAAAAGH?") oh yeah and I bought Ulver - Bergtatt and Absu - Exhibit V: Tara today, so that's three down and a shitload to go
Awesome, which Mayhem albums are they? Moonspell are pretty different, Wolfheart is my 2nd favorite after the Under the Moonspell EP, but some of their newer albums like Night Eternal are pretty cool as well. Necromantia fucking slay, one of the best and most original black metal bands out there IMO, I wish those guys would get as much credit as the Scandinavian dudes, because they're better than just about all of them. It's pretty slow again today due to the holiday, so I'm sure I'll be putting more of these up, since the incoming snow storms in Wyoming will be sure to delay the arrival of my freight and make the rest of the week hell...

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Re: recommendations? I don't know which Mayhem albums I'll be getting yet, she just posted on her facebook that she was looking to swap some Mayhem albums for Metallica albums so I'll be parting with Master Of Puppets, the Black Album, Garage Inc. and Death Magnetic (just a shame she knows that Load, ReLoad, S&M and St. Anger totally suck or I'd give her those as well)

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Re: recommendations?

I was wondering when someone would mention Mayhem, I'll be picking up a couple of their albums from a friend next weekend in exchange for a couple of Metallica albums (ones which I am happy to be parting with I might add), Moonspell were interesting and unlike anything I've heard before, but the band that really caught my attention was Necromantia, vocals are becoming less of an issue (really I just don't like anything with those horrendous grunting growls that lead to jokes like this: new death metal band forms, whilst writing lyrics for their first song vocalist turns to drummer and says "hey dude how do you spell WHRAAAAAAGH?") oh yeah and I bought Ulver - Bergtatt and Absu - Exhibit V: Tara today, so that's three down and a shitload to go
Bergtatt is one of my favorite albums of all time, in any genre. There's just something about it.

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Re: recommendations?

Necromantia are fine. But nowhere near as good as Varathron or Rotting Christ.
As good as those bands are, Necromantia are the best of the 3 IMO. That's not to devalue either of them, I actually have more Rotting Christ albums than Necromantia albums, but I feel that Necromantia stands head and shoulders above them both.

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Re: recommendations? after checking out a couple of Rotting Christ songs on youtube (don't ask me for song names because I can't remember them) I have to say that Rotting Christ is ok although I was a little put off by their name, but I really liked Necromantia, so much so in fact that I'll be bumping them up to the top of my "must buy" list (a list which is insanely long right now I might add)

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Re: recommendations?

Rotting Christ are one of the most varied stylistically and greatest bm bands ever' date=' get Khronos or Sleep of the angels all of their stuff minus their grind material is fairly accessible.[/quote'] Can't deny that they are pretty varied. I would also call them one of the greatest out there, but Scarlet Evil Witching Black sucks me in in a way that even the best Rotting Christ albums don't (Thy Mighty Contract and Non Serviam IMO), but Rotting Christ is still releasing good albums whereas Necromantia have slowed down a bit.

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