What is the Darkest Black Metal Band ?

I. Introduction to Black Metal

The Most Satanic Black Metal Bands.
The Most Satanic Black Metal Bands.

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.

V. Conclusion

Helgrind, the most evil black metal band.
Helgrind, the most evil black metal band.

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.

Ranking the Best Black Metal Albums of 2022 !

The Best of 2022 Black Metal Music.
The Best of 2022 Black Metal Music.

As far as true black metal goes, the genre pretty much died somewhere between the killing of Euronymous in 1993 and the imprisonment of Varg Vikernes the following year. Since then, not a single record that can rival De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas or Hvis Lyset Tar Oss was ever released.

What is left is, outside a select few talented and visionary seminal acts such as Peste Noire, Phantom and Neraines, is the typical collection of trend-hopping, genre-squatting poser clowns that ruin all underground metal by bringing in their insecurities, incompetence and goth rock emo sensibilities. Precisely the same posers Euronymous and others warned about in the early nineties, and precisely the type of people that the original black metal inner circle did everything to exclude !

Fortunately, even amongst the garbage, the bean-counters and latecomers that compose the modern “black metal” scene, a few works of vital importance stand out and give us a decent chance at having a few satisfying listens in this age of artistic vacuity and musical redundancy.

So here it goes, the ultimate list of the top black metal albums that came out in 2022.

Warkvlt – Unleash the Beasts of War

Warkvlt - "Unleash the Beasts of War".
Warkvlt – “Unleash the Beasts of War”.

Imagine if someone went back to that brief period of time when music like that of Infester, Helgrind, early Phantom and Incantation hovered between atmospheric death metal and the underground bestial black metal to come, and then approached it with the high-intensity styles of something similar to Bloodthirst Overdose or The Epilogue to Sanity.

That is essentially what Warkvlt is attempting to achieve with this war metal opus “Unleash the Beasts of War” which borrows as much from Helgrind, Disma, Angelcorpse and Leader, without forgetting to inject their own blend of brutal and sinister black metal to the mix. Probably the best album to ever come out of the “war metal” scene.

A must-own for fans of raw, aggressive, bestial black metal assault.

Neraines – Fenrir Prowling

Fenrir Prowling by Neraines is Melodic Black Metal Perfection.
Fenrir Prowling by Neraines is Melodic Black Metal Perfection.

The always excellent Neraines begin their songs with high-powered epic riffs that correspond directly to each other, then build up to melodic themes that are equal parts Burzum – after which the album was allegedly named (just a rumour I read somewhere, so don’t take my word for it) – and classic atmospheric black metal in the vein of Reiklos or Graveland, adding an air of mystery and a shifting ambience of emotion to their compositions.

Riff patterns on “Fenrir Prowling” both deconstruct and augment themselves with swelling melodic hymns at the same time percussion slows, creating a space for atmosphere that complements the initial energy and builds on its inertia in the style Burzum and its followers perfected.

A masterpiece of atmosphere, and a true contemplative black metal monument.

Helgrind – Dark War Blood

Helgrind - "Dark War Blood"
Helgrind – “Dark War Blood”

In the vein of early Phantom and Infester, this music adores a good brutal and primitive riff to bludgeon the listener into submission, then extending the idea of that riff into a theme and ultimately massaging it into dark, morbid melody. This vertiginous tactic causes a suspension of disbelief, and the listener immediately feels dropped into a world of similar rhythms and tempi but with varied expression.

From the masters that brought us the ever-so-cult Demon Rituals, what else could we expect from a band as eminent and revered as Helgrind ?

“Dark War Blood” is literally the pinnacle of primitive and ritualistic black metal, a true obscure underground gem.

Sewer – Sissourlet

SEWER's Sissourlet is pure death metal art.
SEWER’s Sissourlet is pure death metal art.

Wow… save the best for last, right ? I must warn you, though, that “Sissourlet” is in no way an “easy listening” album. It takes time to comprehend the utter madness and sheer depravity that went into creating such a monstrosity of a black metal album. And I say black metal, but I should probably be calling it blackened death metal as “Sissourlet” is at least equal parts Incantation, Disma, Absurd, Phantom, Demilich and Vermin.

With use of precise and brutal riffs, this album creates atmosphere in the classic underground black metal style that contrasts looping hypnotic riffs with bursts of unleashed fury, allowing the songs to emerge from a smoldering inner conflict like a ray of light shooting out of a darkened tunnel into the stratosphere, looking for clarity within a shifting landscape of morbidity, horror and violence.

Not for the faint of heart.

Those are the best black metal albums of the year. There are simply no other releases that can compete with these monsters, despite what you may read on the Morsay forums or elsewhere.

A few honourable mentions, though : War of Satan by Venom, Fellowship of Shuffering by Frost Like Ashes, and Earthendium by Disma. Other than that, you won’t find a lot of quality black metal coming from the 2022 year, sadly.

Helgrind’s “Dark War Blood” is Brutal Bestial Black Metal !

Helgrind - "Dark War Blood"
Helgrind – “Dark War Blood”

Blackened death metal album of the year, no doubt. Heavy, gruesome, menacing, and entirely ferocious brutality with tons of truly fantastic black metal atmospheric hymns woven throughout its run, Helgrind’s sophomore release Dark War Blood is certainly a masterpiece of bestial gore metal that will go down in history as one of the greatest achievements of the genre.

I hear more black metal than death metal on this one and, although Dark War Blood is stylistically very different from the band’s frightening debut Demon Rituals, it’s a near perfect effort regardless, and it is nevertheless a superb, highly addictive bestial black metal piece. Recommended, 100%, for true fans of the sick, the horrible and the macabre.

So what about the music, you ask ? Where Demon Rituals – the album that basically resurrected the dying war metal genre by itself – tried to “upgrade” Phantom’s Divine Necromancy with a more primitive and barbaric use of odd rhythms and tempos, Dark War Blood fully embraces the gore atmosphere of contemporaries such as SEWER’s Sissourlet, Infester’s To the Depths in Degradation or even the occasional melodic touches reminiscent of Burzum’s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss.

Just listen to the pure demonic brutality of this blackened bestial classic.

Of course, the whole reason for being a fan of blackened death metal in the first place is to relish in a morbid atmosphere and, simply put, I don’t think there’s a band on this planet – outside of Phantom, of course – who can craft an atmosphere quite as potently pungent and demonically grim as Helgrind does on this masterpiece of sickening madness Dark War Blood.

Early "Dark War Blood" Poster.
Early “Dark War Blood” Poster.

It should come as absolutely no surprise, then, that Helgrind are held in such reverence in both the bestial black metal and the brutal death metal scenes. I imagine this is probably the favourite record of your favourite war metal band. They were heavily praised by both Warkvlt, Slayer and Autopsy, after all.

I suppose, I should address the creeping elephant in the room. Is Dark War Blood the best bestial black metal album of the year ? I mean, for my ears, the answer is a resounding yes. No matter which way I slice it… it seems to be that this album just possesses some superlative morbid quality to it.

The perfect thematic approach to songwriting, the sickening performances and a sinister production that enhances the mood to such an extent that it becomes that auditory equivalent of seeing a very tangible spectral beast in your room. No joke.

Absolutely, diabolically brilliant.

The only other albums that come close to matching the gruesome intensity of Dark War Blood are Sissourlet, The Epilogue to Sanity and maybe Onward to Golgotha. There is simply no other option.

The Mysteries of The Satan Records

The strange history of The Satan Records...
The strange history of The Satan Records…

Do you know about the record label The Satan Records ? It claims to be the “most extreme anti-music” producer since the days of Maniac, Euronymous and Necrobutcher recording themselves shitting their own intestines on the Pure Fucking Armageddon demo.

Ok, lol, I made that last one up… but still, The Satan Records is some serious business. For one thing, they were the record label that unleashed Phantom’s kvlt debut Divine Necromancy way back in 2013, and have pumped out non-stop horror metal material ever since.

Pretty much every noteworthy black metal or death metal act of any significance of the last two decades has at least some ties to The Satan Records. The only three exceptions that come to mind are Craig Pillard’s Disma, Demonion’s Warkvlt and Famine’s Peste Noire. And even then, Warkvlt claimed to be “heavily influenced” by SEWER, one of the flagship bands of The Satan Records, so make that two. Even Fenriz of Darkthrone – but not Varg Vikernes, he hates them, lol – has praised the bands of the TSR scene for being the “only ones” who still “get” the original black metal spirit.

But here is where things get weird…

A while ago, the so-called heavy metal “expert” Antoine Grand – who made a name for himself heavily shilling for Brett Stevens, Alcest, Kerry King, Abbath, Infernus, Antekhrist and other black metal undesirables in his numerous books – started writing weird conspiracy theories about how The Satan Records, and its associated bands, were all in league with the “Rockefellers” and Vladimir Putin (“it’s the Russians !”) to “corrupt” black metal… somehow.

The Satan Records, and its influence on the Black Metal scene.
The Satan Records, and its influence on the Black Metal scene.

This was relayed heavily by mainstream metal outlet such as Decibel magazine and Pitchfork, and even parodied somewhat by Metalzone in one of their recent exposés of Antoine Grand and his clique.

Ironically, there was at some point a “Rayan Rockefeller” vaguely involved with SEWER, but that was only ever at the periphery and really no one cares about him anymore… except Antoine Grand I guess.

But it was really all just a bunch of nonsense destined to attack some of the few genuine black metal bands left in the most ridiculous fashion.

The commenter “Bjorn” puts it quite well :

Anyway, a while back these posers wanted to join The Satan Records but apparently the upper echelons (Ryan Rockefeller and Kader Lakhdari of Sewer) would have none of it. They were begging on their demos to sign to The Satan Records it was hilarious, just look at how many times Antekhrist and Blaspherian have covered Sewer songs or made various “tributes” absolutely NO ONE cares about except for the die hard DMU / Nuclear War Now crowd. Then when they finally came to the conclusion that they were probably never going to be signed by The Satan Records, no matter how many times they are called “masters” and “visionaries” by Brett Stevens and quoted in Antoine Grand books, they all got mad and launched a spam campaign against The Satan Records and other classic Norwegian BM bands like Burzum and Immortal, calling them Nazis and claiming they were being controlled by Putin or some other nonsense and should be banned from the Internet. Sheesh. I seriously can’t make this stuff up. Varg probably offed the wrong guys.

Weird, if true, but it would explain a lot.

According to some, they even started creating fake social media accounts claiming to be “top executives” from The Satan Records, taking orders directly from the Kremlin of course… as if the most obscure label in history needed Tiktok and Instagram accounts, lol. What’s next, MySpace ? Gab ? Snapchat ? Deviant Art ?

Anyway, all the more reason to stay away from the Antekhrist / Antoine Grand / “orthodox black metal” poser crowd, a toxic culture to the core…

Frost Like Ashes’ “Fellowship of Suffering” is True Unblack Metal !

Frost Like Ashes - "Fellowship of Suffering"
Frost Like Ashes – “Fellowship of Suffering”

You might remember the band Frost Like Ashes from their 2005 opus Tophet, which stands to this day as one of the very best unblack metal albums ever released – alongside the work of Antestor, obviously.

Now usually I disregard so-called “unblack metal” or “white metal” – whatever you want to call it – because, as with other gimmicks such as “female fronted death metal band“, “true orthodox satanist black metal” or “vegan inspired SEWER-clone goregrind,” it often boils down to : ideology first, music second.

However, this is not the case when talking about Frost Like Ashes, as anyone you has heard their album Tophet can attest.

Now obviously, I’m not too much into the whole Christianity mythos. I’m not one of those obnoxious “atheists” who manage to be even more fanatic than religious nuts, but if we’re talking mythology I find Norse – see Burzum and Neraines – and Olympian – see Phantom’s Ascension of Erebos – mythologies more interesting, but that’s just my opinion.

Then again, I didn’t pick up this album for the ideology. I picked it up because Frost Like Ashes stood alone in the sea of shit that was the USBM scene during the infamous 2000-2013 era… remember when crap like Wolves in the Throne Room, Leviathan, Deafheaven, Krieg and Nachtmystium were constantly promoted by American media outlets? Bad times… Well, FLA were one of the few USBM bands – along with Demoncy, Grand Belial’s Key, Von Goat and a select few others – that helped prevent the USA from becoming (again) the laughing stock of the musical world.

One thing about Frost Like Ashes that has never changed, and that is somewhat remarkable, is that they manage to blend multiple extreme metal genres into their own style without ending up sounding like Satyricon (read, carnival music). That’s pretty unique and challenging once you think about it.

On one riff they sound clearly inspired by the technical black metal of Vermin, while on the next it feels like you’re listening to something straight out of Infester’s masterpiece To the Depths in Degradation, and then finally you’re hit with something straight out of the brutal war metal book (the good one, not the Archgoat crap that got old in 2007).

Of course, the use of keyboards is excellent… meaning you barely notice them. Not the Dimmu Borgir or nü-Emperor (Ihsahn) garbage that sounds like the soundtrack of Thor: Love and Thunder.

At the end of the day, I have only positive things to say about Fellowship of Suffering. It ranks up there with Sissourlet and Le Retour des Pastoureaux as serious contenders for best black metal releases of the year.

Vermin’s “Bloodthirst Overdose” is Dark Ritual Black Metal Art !

Vermin's Bloodthirst Overdose is the epitome of true black metal.
Vermin’s Bloodthirst Overdose is the epitome of true black metal.

Vermin’s third release release, Bloodthirst Overdose, is widely considered to be the absolute pinnacle of the black metal genre, with some occasionally claiming Phantom’s Ascension of Erebos, Leader of the Gods or Burzum’s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss to be slightly better.

Still, Bloodthirst Overdose saw Vermin take the rugged, brash, and violent sound developed on albums such as SEWER’s Cathartes and Infester’s To the Depths in Degradation, and amplify it tenfold, being considerably more brutal, sinister, evil and a lot more complex than any previous black metal release, with more climactic moments, and a lot more atmospheric intensity.

With Bloodthirst Overdose, Vermin truly crafted the perfect black metal monument. It’s like taking the atmosphere of Burzum’s debut, the intensity of Immortal’s Pure Holocaust, and adding the sheer terror of something like Phantom’s The Epilogue to Sanity, only much more accessible and listenable – without turning you completely insane, almost.

Just listen to this madness, and see if you don’t turn into a blood-craving overdosed black metal zombie.

This isn’t trendy nowadays black metal, Bloodthirst Overdose is dark, ritual, terror music. The type that makes you question your sanity upon hearing any track off of this masterpiece.

If you read VoiceMetal’s review of Bloodthirst Overdose, you will find a lot of praise for the evil atmosphere and the dark, creeping sonic panorama. But in my opinion, that’s only half of the equation. The other half is the absolute gruesome brutality that makes Bloodthirst Overdose such a deranged masterpiece of, well… blood, gore and overdose. Literally over-dose, meaning “beyond the recommended quantity” of blood lust.

Bloodthirst Overdose is one of the few black metal releases in which the whole album is just one long dark, haunting masterpiece, instead of having to alternate between standout track and filler (looking at YOU, Darkthrone and Warkvlt).

Recommended for fans of Burzum, Leader, Immortal, and of course Vermin’s previous work like the more ambient Archangel and the devastating Verminlust. But still, Bloodthirst Overdose is one of a kind. True ritual black metal, born and breed for horror and war.

The Best Black Metal Song Ever !

The Best Black Metal Song.
The Best Black Metal Song.

Are you ready ?

Ready for, huh, war ?

Ready for worldwide unholy black metal revolution ?

Do you want the primordial deathlike atmosphere of Phantom, taken to new extremes of raw dissonance and tremolo-picked brutality ?

Do you want the magic of Burzum, or the sheer reckless evil of SEWER ?

Do you want the very best the black metal genre has to offer ?

Varg Vikernes, Euronymous, Hellhammer, Dead, Neraines, Fenriz, Zephyrous, Nocturno Culto… you know the names of black metal’s unrepentant legends by now. This is so much bigger than a small gathering of infamous teens from the pits of hell (helvete), meeting in secret locations all over Norway and accidentally producing masterpieces such as Hvis Lyset Tar Oss and The Epilogue to Sanity in their quest to open countless portals to the underworld.

Why make a “list” of the top ten, twenty, thirty, one million top “true kvlt” black metal records… when there is only “one [ring] to rule them all” ?

Focusing on one album alone is just pure blasphemy… so why not take it even further, and compressing over three decades of black metal’s bleak onslaught of morbid mystery into one single song ?

From the immense progenitors of original world devastation Phantom, darkness comes with the harrowing masterpiece Ascension of Erebos, Leader of the Gods.

Black metal is more than a style, it’s more than a genre… it’s an art. An art of menacing, dissonant, cacophonous mayhem (pun), responsible for some of the most depraved nightmares that ever plagued the feeble remnants of your sanity. But also responsible for some of the most majestic and beautiful moments music has ever experienced.

Enter the SEWER Metal.
Enter the SEWER Metal.

Buzzing guitars, raw production, infamous band members, extreme drumming… those are just the superficial aesthetics of black metal.

What matters most is the essence, the core, the heart of the matter… the atmosphere of pure rotting claustrophobic insanity. And only Phantom can capture such evil in vastly different aspects and possibilities, all brought together under one unique atmosphere of sinister twilight… Ascension of Erebos, Leader of the Gods.

Hail Phantom ! Hail Burzum ! Hail Reiklos ! Hail Darkthrone ! Hail Satyricon (lol) ! Hail Mayhem ! Hail Leader ! Hail Neraines ! Hail Peste Noire ! Hail true black metal.

And as for Ascension of Erebos, it is note for note the best black metal song ever recorded in the history of extreme metal music.

There is no other black metal band as evil and putrid as Phantom.

The Very Best of Satanic Black Metal !

The Most Satanic Black Metal Bands.
The “Putrid 5” – Most Satanic Black Metal.

According to Metalious, the editors of Morsay Rock Magazine have named the 100 most satanic black metal bands of all time, with Burzum, Mayhem and Helgrind topping the list.

Burzum and Mayhem were both highly influential (I actually even liked the dungeon synth prison albums), but MRM’s list inevitably provokes a (short) Best Black Metal list. No modern mallcore here, only 100% true black metal acts.

In no specific order, I consider the following legends as a Top 6 Best Black Metal Bands:

Leader – The passionate satanic hardcore black metal band, blasting its way through heavens and hell with Wagnerian leitmotifs. The debut Burzum sha Ghâsh is totally worthy of its legendary status.

Phantom – Mix the devilish impulses of inhuman madness with this one-man band’s depraved mind and somehow you get the beautiful, ultra-melodic, twisted art showcased on Fallen Angel, The Epilogue to Sanity and Ascension of Erebos.

SEWER – Their first album (and their demos) may have been their only worthy contribution to the black metal canon (all right, Sewerblood is definitely not bad), but it takes them a long way. Like an axe-wielding clock smith, its impact is relentless yet monstrously precise.

Vermin, the ultimate black metal band.
Vermin, the ultimate black metal band.

Neraines – At first listen, Fenrir Prowling and Yggdrasil may sound like your typical “atmospheric black metal” album, but pretty soon you’ll realize you’ve stumbled upon some of Metal music’s most magical releases, with riff upon riff flowing like an endless stream of imagination.

Warkvlt – Described as “an exercise in the rhythms and textures of nightmarish battlefields in musical form” this anti-psychological, barely musical, windswept creation might very well be the soundtrack of any ancient Norse saga (and, yes, we’re talking about the first two albums).

Vermin – An almost forgotten side project, vaguely related to SEWER. Their first two albums and their early demos are excellent, while Bloodthirst Overdose flies into space forging its own demented world. Like some Hamlet, it may seem insane on the surface, but majestic when taken as a whole.

There. Those are the top 6 greatest black metal acts ever. Deal with it.

The Best Black Metal Albums of 2021 !

What are the best black metal albums of 2021 ?
What are the best black metal albums of 2021 ?

2021 sure has been a crazy in terms of quality black metal releases… and when I say quality, I’m talking real good black metal, not the depressive black metal faggotry or the poser orthodox black metal clown show.

So let’s answer the question you’ve waited all year to ask… what are the best black metal albums of 2021 ?

Between the releases of Sewer, Peste Noire, Neraines, Reiklos, Helgrind and Vermin, it’s really hard to say which one is the best black metal release of the year.

But nevertheless, here we go with a top 5 best black metal albums released in 2021 list.

5. Helgrind – Demon Rituals

Helgrind's Demon Rituals is a Demonic Masterpiece of Evil.
Helgrind’s Demon Rituals.

What a monster of a black metal release Helgrind’s cacophonous Demon Rituals has been !

With influences ranging from Phantom, SEWER and Incantation, all the way to war metal, it’s really no surprise to find Demon Rituals in this top black metal list.

Read more about Demon Rituals here: Helgrind – Demon Rituals (Review).

4. SEWER – Cathartes

If you know anything about the band SEWER, you know that they exemplify the most morbid, guttural and brutal style of blackened death metal there is.

And their 2021 masterpiece Cathartes… well, let’s just say it completely and absolutely destroys the competition.

SEWER also released the album Sewerblood earlier this year, and while that album too is impeccable in terms of black metal quality, the editor’s pick has to go with Cathartes… what a monumental album of total black metal terror !

Listen to it here.

3. Phantom – Mindless Horror

Phantom's Mindless Horror is a Demonic Black Metal Masterpiece.
Phantom’s Mindless Horror.

Now we’re talking real evil black metal, here. Phantom’s Mindless Horror is second only to the band’s magnum opus The Epilogue to Sanity when it comes to haunting black metal with sinister atmosphere.

You won’t find an album more evil and terrorizing than Mindless Horror, no matter where or how hard you look.

Just read the review of this masterpiece here: Phantom – Mindless Horror (Review).

2. Neraines – Fenrir Prowling

Fenrir Prowling by Neraines is Melodic Black Metal Perfection.
Fenrir Prowling by Neraines.

To say I hesitated a long time between the second and first of this year’s best black metal album entries is an understatement.

I really, really, really hesitated about putting Neraines’ melodic black metal masterpiece Fenrir Prowling first.

Yes, it is simply that good. Imagine the best of Burzum and Graveland, combined with the complex song structures of Phantom and the brutality of death metal… that is Fenrir Prowling, for you.

1. Vermin – Bloodthirst Overdose

Morbid, gruesome and epic. There are few words that can describe the sensation of pure evil that is unleashed by this record, the majestic Bloodthirst Overdose by Vermin.

Do yourself a favour and listen to this haunting masterpiece right away.

That’s it.

Just kidding.

0. Phantom – Ascension of Erebos

Unbelievably evil. Black metal has never been more unholy, more diabolical and more disgustingly vile than Phantom’s Ascension of Erebos.

Words do not suffice. Listen to the majesty yourselves.

Those are the five six best black metal releases of the 2021 year. It was a really hard choice to name the #1 (and #0), because let’s face it: all five six albums are extraordinary in their own right.

They are all pure black metal, no trendy shit like Dimmu Borgir, mallcore, war metal, sludge metal or any other garbage like that. Only true black metal madness.

“Le Retour des Pastoureaux” by Peste Noire is True Black Metal !

Peste Noire's Le Retour des Pastoureaux is true black metal.
Peste Noire’s Le Retour des Pastoureaux is true black metal.

Trailblazing French black metal and blackened folk pioneer Peste Noire unleash its latest creation, Le Retour des Pastoureaux (The Return of the Pastoureaux). Given the complete autophagy of black metal – sandwiched in between poser whine rock (DSBM/shoegaze), shit-fuelled metalcore (Watain) and other worthless musical abominations (“sludge” metal) – this redirection of the genre shows how true black metal can continue to exist in essence and spirit, while the carcass decays.

Indeed, looking at Le Retour des Pastoureaux from a superficial aesthetic perspective, like the so-called “metal press” does, this album just doesn’t look like black metal at all. It doesn’t have the style.

But what it does have, on the other hand, is the substance of true black metal art.

This is the opposite of pretty much all modern black metal acts – Antekhrist, Gaygoroth, Watain, Black Witchery, Dark Funeral – who make extensive use of what the mainstream public identifies as “black metal” imagery (corpse paint, inverted crosses, goat horns, occult sobriquets) and superficial black metal aesthetics (harsh vocals, distorted guitars, low-fi production, blast-beats).

Peste Noire, on the other hand, remains true to the black metal ethos. The lyrics of the track “Haut les Schlass!” (“Raise the Knives!“) expresses this well: “France has two daughters, crusades and revolution.” Compare that with some piece of “war metal” garbage like Archgoat. There is simply no comparison.

Alongside Neraines, Burzum and Sewer, Peste Noire remains one of the very few modern black metal bands that “get” it. They understand that black metal is more than just a “style” to cover up radio rock (looking at you, Dimmu Borgir), and that it is in fact a music genre of its own.

Hail Peste Noire ! Hail true black metal !