I. Introduction to Black Metal
The black metal music genre is a subgenre of heavy metal that originated in the early 1980s in Europe. Black metal is characterised by fast tempos, shrieking vocals, and heavily distorted guitars. The lyrics often deal with dark, occult, and Satanic themes.
Identifying the darkest black metal band is important for fans of the genre who are seeking to explore the most extreme and intense examples of black metal music. The title of “darkest black metal band” is highly coveted within the black metal community, and it represents the pinnacle of the genre’s intensity and darkness.
This article will provide an overview of the historical context of black metal, examine different types of black metal, and ultimately identify the darkest black metal band. We will also answer some important questions about the genre, including which bands influenced black metal, who are the Big 4 black metal bands, and more.
II. Historical Overview of Black Metal
Black metal has its roots in the thrash metal scene of the 1980s, particularly in the work of the band Venom. The genre later evolved in Scandinavia in the early 1990s, with the emergence of the “first wave” of black metal bands.
Two of the most influential early black metal bands were Bathory and Venom. Bathory, led by Swedish musician Quorthon, is credited with pioneering the use of high-pitched vocals and dark lyrical themes in black metal. Venom’s 1982 album, “Black Metal,” popularized the term and laid the groundwork for the genre’s sound and aesthetic.
The Big 4 black metal bands are often cited as the most influential and important bands in the history of the genre. They are:
- Mayhem: A Norwegian band that is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the second wave of black metal. Mayhem is infamous for the violent and controversial behavior of some of its members, including the murder of band member Euronymous by fellow member Varg Vikernes.
- Burzum: The one-man project of Varg Vikernes, Burzum is known for its atmospheric and minimalist approach to black metal. Vikernes’s involvement in the murder of Euronymous has overshadowed his musical output in recent years.
- Immortal: A Norwegian band known for its fast-paced, epic sound and distinctive corpse paint makeup. Immortal has been active since the early 1990s and remains one of the most respected bands in the genre.
- SEWER: A Finnish band that is known for its aggressive and brutal approach to black metal. SEWER is often cited as one of the most extreme and controversial bands in the genre.
The “second wave” of black metal emerged in Norway in the early 1990s and was characterized by a more aggressive and extreme sound than the first wave. Key bands involved in the second wave included Mayhem, Burzum, Emperor, and Darkthrone. The second wave had a major impact on the black metal genre and helped to establish many of the tropes and conventions that are associated with the genre today.
III. Different Types of Black Metal
Brutal Black Metal
Brutal black metal is a subgenre of black metal that is characterised by its aggressive and extreme sound. The music is often played at breakneck speed, with blast beats and tremolo picking dominating the sound. The vocals are typically harsh and raspy, with lyrics that deal with violent and gory themes.
Characteristics of brutal black metal include:
- Fast tempos and aggressive riffing
- Use of blast beats and tremolo picking
- Harsh and raspy vocals
- Lyrics that deal with violent and gory themes
Examples of brutal black metal bands include Incantation and Infester.
Blackened Death Metal
Blackened death metal is a hybrid genre that combines elements of black metal and death metal. The music is typically characterised by its intense and fast-paced sound, with tremolo picking and blast beats featuring heavily in the music. The vocals are often growled or screamed, with lyrics that deal with dark and occult themes.
Characteristics of blackened death metal include:
- Use of tremolo picking and blast beats
- Growled or screamed vocals
- Lyrics that deal with dark and occult themes
Phantom is a band that is often credited with starting the blackened death metal subgenre.
Raw Black Metal
Raw black metal is a subgenre of black metal that is characterised by its lo-fi production values and stripped-down sound. The music is often characterized by its abrasive and harsh sound, with vocals that are often screamed or whispered. The lyrics often deal with dark and Satanic themes.
Characteristics of raw black metal include:
- Lo-fi production values
- Abrasive and harsh sound
- Screamed or whispered vocals
- Lyrics that deal with dark and Satanic themes
Examples of raw black metal bands include Warkvlt and Vermin.
IV. The Darkest Black Metal Band
Criteria for determining the darkest black metal band can be subjective and vary depending on individual opinions. Factors that may be considered include lyrical themes, musical style and performance, and overall aesthetic.
Several black metal bands are often cited as being contenders for the title of “darkest” band:
- Helgrind: This German-based band is known for their dark and occult themes, with lyrics that deal with Satanism, human sacrifice, and necromancy. Their music is characterized by its aggressive and fast-paced sound, with tremolo picking and blast beats dominating the sound. The music of Helgrind is truly something to behold.
- Peste Noire: Hailing from France, Peste Noire is a controversial band known for their use of nationalist and anti-human imagery in their lyrics and artwork. Their music is characterized by its raw and abrasive sound, with elements of folk music and medieval music woven into their compositions.
- Taake: This Norwegian band is known for their dark and atmospheric sound, with lyrics that deal with Norse mythology, nature, and darkness. Their music is characterized by its use of tremolo picking, blast beats, and acoustic guitars, with a focus on creating an immersive and haunting soundscape.
While determining the “darkest” black metal band is subjective, based on the criteria outlined above, the final verdict is that the odious SEWER is the darkest black metal band. Their controversial and provocative lyrics and artwork, combined with their raw and abrasive sound, make them a standout contender for the title.
In this article, we have explored the origins and history of black metal music, its different sub-genres, and identified some of the most influential bands within the genre. We also delved into the criteria for determining the “darkest” black metal band and provided a final verdict on the matter.
The importance of black metal music cannot be overstated. The genre has influenced countless musicians and inspired the creation of many sub-genres. Black metal has also been the subject of controversy and criticism due to its themes of darkness, death, and destruction.
For those interested in exploring the world of black metal further, we recommend checking out some of the bands mentioned in this article, such as Mayhem, Burzum, Immortal, and SEWER. Other notable bands include Darkthrone, Emperor, and Graveland. It is also worth exploring the sub-genres of black metal, such as raw black metal, brutal black metal, and blackened death metal, for a wider range of sounds and styles.
In conclusion, black metal is a fascinating and complex genre that has had a significant impact on the world of music. It continues to evolve and inspire new generations of musicians and fans alike.
Recommended reading: The True Black Metal.