Saturday, May 28, 2011

True Black Metal, Part 2

Last week I posted some of my favorite Second Wave black metal from Norway and Sweden, and this week I continue the project. For those readers just joining us, I should briefly re-explain what this is all about.

At a time when record nerds are swooning over the pathetic USBM scene and headbangers are turning to the hack Sarcofago clones on labels like Hell's Headbangers, it's important to remember that black metal really doesn't have to sound like this at all. The Scandinavians opened up so much fertile artistic territory, and it has been shamefully neglected by posers and trendies of all stripes. Here are three more bands, the true elite of black metal.

Listen for 1:10. One of the most badass choruses of any black metal song ever. Sacramentum effortlessly write riffs that wouldn't be out of place in Romantic symphonies, but their music isn't just gorgeous. Listen to those bashing 80s style drums under the ornate harmonies. The juxtaposition is savage. And the vocalist is a beast.

Wait for 00:40. Just when you think "Darkside" is going to be an above-average example of Norsecore, they bust out this absurdly evil mid-paced riff. One of the most aggressive and Satanic bands to come out of this scene. You can hear how much Necrophobic inspired Watain.

You've heard Enslaved, but have you heard THIS Enslaved? From an early split with Emperor that is probably the best single black metal recording ever released. Listen to how they've totally reinterpreted punk riff structures. You can actually hear Discharge in there. It never gets boring, and at 11:23 all Hel breaks loose. This is one of the most powerful, most profound black metal tracks (spells?) I have ever heard. The first and last word on grim.


  1. I usually hate synths in black metal. But this ENSLAVED song is really interesting. Its structured so.... different. I haven't listen to the because, frankly, I don't care for the whole viking thing. Will have to get this recording.

  2. Yeah, there's a difference between the serious viking vibe of early Enslaved and Burzum, and the kitsch of later "viking metal" bands. Remember that Satan is, in a lot of ways, just a Christianization of Odin. for enslaved at this time, the strange structure of the song mirrors the cyclical structure of the sagas...

  3. I went out and got that Sacramentum album. It is a very complex beast. But it also completely kicks ass. The band is totally synched up with each other, giving the songs this fierce drive to them. Definitely has that otherworldly quality to it, too. Really impressive recording. Thanks a lot for pointing them out.

  4. Awesome, you're totally welcome. And I agree about everything you said, it honestly does all the things that "high" black metal should do. This album's rare and a significant investment, is it not? Props for securing a copy!

  5. hey,i'm the one from Indonesia..

    sacramentum is great! necrophobic and this enslaved still not enough for me, hey check Dawn! Or Rivendell!

    haha i'm still new to this genre~ please post more black metal related :)

  6. Hey Sasmito, glad you're digging Sacramentum. I was actually going to do Dawn in my next True BM post, but maybe not now that you've beaten me to the punch! I'll have to think of some stuff you haven't heard yet. Seems you like the ornate neo-classical stuff, but I strongly encourage you to dig into the rawer shit too--otherwise you're missing out on so much. If Enslaved was too minimal for you, try the Emperor side of the Hordanes Land split (or the Emperor E.P.). Have you listened to Gorgoroth's Under the Sign of Hell? Great combination of melody and aggression.

    And yeah I guess I've been taking a little break from black metal... Since that's what I listen to most of the time, I was trying to write about some different stuff. I'll have a new BM post for you in the next few days!

  7. yea, emperor's side = cool :D, hey Gorgoroth's Under the Sign Of Hell is my favourite!!! Reveleation Of Doom's drumming hook me from the start.

    so you're taking a break from black metal, so can you please accept my request, check your facebook page lol