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What Is Black Metal?

By

Mayhem

Mayhem

Season Of Mist
Black metal started in the early '80s. It drew influences from thrash metal, but took things to even more extremes. The Norwegian scene quickly grew and was plagued by church burnings and murders in the early '90s. The genre spread across Europe and into North America. Many black metal bands wear corpse paint and stage outfits that make them look evil or threatening.

Musical Style

Early black metal was raw and very poorly produced, with blast beat drumming and distorted guitars. The production value improved, but the rawness was still a hallmark of the first wave of black metal. Today's "second wave" bands are more melodic and symphonic with a lot of keyboards, but still very extreme and uncommercial. Image is just is important as musical style in this genre.

Black Metal Vocal Style

Mostly high pitched rasps and guttural growls that are completely intelligible. If you look at the lyrics sheets many have pagan or satanic themes. Many vocalist try to sound like a demon or something straight out of hell.

Pioneers

Venom
Venom formed in England in the late '70s and consisted of Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon. Their debut album Welcome To Hell was released in 1981 and followed a year later by the album that gave the genre its name, Black Metal.

Mayhem
The Norwegian band is famous because of their music, and infamous because of everything else that went on around them. Vocalist Dead committed suicide and Euronymous was stabbed to death by fellow band member Count Grishnackh. Formed in 1984, they were at the forefront of the increasingly popularity of black metal in Norway.

Recommended Black Metal Albums

Venom - Black Metal
Mayhem - Grand Declaration Of War
Emperor - Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk
Cradle Of Filth - Dusk And Her Embrace
Dimmu Borgir - Enthrone Darkness Triumphant
Darkthrone - Soulside Journey
Immortal - Pure Holocaust
Burzum - Filosofem
Gorgoroth - Under The Sign Of Hell
Satyricon - Shadowthrone
Marduk - Heaven Shall Burn
Rotting Christ - A Dead Poem
Enslaved - Frost
Dark Funeral - Vobiscum Satanas
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