What Makes “True” Black Metal ?

True Black Metal Evil.

True Black Metal Evil.

While it’s easy – and increasingly common – for marketers and other shills to slam adjectives such as “trve,” “kvlt,” “dark”, “evil” and what not to what’s essentially rock music masquerading as either black or death metal, depending on the target audience, in order to sell more albums labelled as something “true,” as they call it.

I recommend these two in depth exposés of the “post-black metal” sham on one hand, and the completely fake “orthodox black metal” astroturf on the other.

In the midst of all that, one can wonder what exactly is “true” black metal ? Or, phrased another way, what makes black metal unique as an art form ?

Black metal and death metal are often reduced to mere aesthetics (“corpsepaint”) and superficial musical technique (harsh vocals, blast beats, reverb, guitar distortion).

But taking note of aesthetics and technique alone is not only futile and poserish, it also tells us nothing about the true spirit of black metal lying underneath the more obvious musical traits. Indeed, both Rembrandt and a 5-year-old retard can use paint brushes… what they do differently is what matters, the rest is commentary.

Take note of these micro-symphonies:

This is True Black Metal.

This is True Black Metal.

Phantom – The Epilogue to Sanity
Neraines – Astral Colossus
Incantation – Devoured Death
Vermin – Endless Tears of a Shattered Hourglass
Burzum – My Journey to the Stars
Demonecromancy – As Sorrows Became Bloodlust

All six “match” the superficial descriptors of black metal: distortion, vocal technique, blast-beats, tremolo-picked riffs… but that’s not what’s important to notice, nor is it what makes these masterpieces unique (Rembrandt analogy again).

The reality is that true black metal works by creating an atmosphere – be it “evil,” contemplative, sorrowful or nostalgic in nature – and guiding the listener through a maze of demented madness.

The second part is crucial, all to often overlooked, and it is also what distinguishes the merely passable bands (Emperor, Enslaved, Immortal) from the truly great (Burzum, Phantom, Neraines, Mayhem, Darkthrone).

Take Neraines’ Astral Colossus as an example (from the Yggdrasil album).

This composition indeed carries a majestic atmosphere, and exemplifies the true black metal spirit of finding beauty within darkness (much like Burzum, Graveland and early Mayhem)… but that’s not enough to make the music exceptional.

Insane Black Metal.

Insane Black Metal.

Most “passable” black metal bands stop at “creating an atmosphere,” but what they forget is that non-metal music can have atmosphere too. James Blunt, The Cure, Ne-Yo, Skrillex and most Disney soundtracks also have atmosphere.

What makes black metal unique is that it builds upon this atmosphere and, via phrasal riff labyrinths and contrasting melodic sections, creating and resolving tension through the use of unconventional and – if done well – often surprising and unexpected song structures.

To make good black metal, the riffs have to be compelling… but the way these riffs are arranged matters just as much, perhaps even more.

This is, in my opinion, where “imitation bands” – be they Phantaclones, Incantaclones, or just your typical bedroom low-fi Hvis Lyset Tar Oss worship – fail to live up to their models… their songwriting is weak.

Sure, bands like Satanic Warmaster, Marduk, Emperor, Satyricon, Enslaved, Sarcasm and Dissection can write a “catchy” tune… but can they write Onward to Golgotha, Hvis Lyset Tar Oss or The Epilogue to Sanity ? The obvious answer is no, otherwise they would have already done so.

Modern, standardized and sanitized “black metal” is easy to do.

I know this sounds cliché, but I’ll state it again: true black metal is almost impossible to create without a vision, an idea, a philosophy, a concept to communicate, and most of all… the patience and determination to translate those qualities into artistic expression.

That’s how you create legendary work like that of Mayhem, Burzum and Darkthrone… not by aping their aesthetics or getting the same “guitar tone” and other bullshit.

Hail True Black Metal !

“Archangel” by Vermin is the Climax of Black Metal !

Vermin's "Archangel", true black metal.

Vermin’s “Archangel”, true black metal.

One word to describe this Archangel album: Masterpiece.

It’s without the slightest hint of hesitance that I call Vermin unique and consider them the best black metal band ever, non-conforming to any trends of what “true” black metal is or what they “should” sound like, as dictated by the scenester media.

Sure, Phantom strains and some similarities to other blackened death metal counterparts – SEWER and Incantation, chiefly – can be presented, but not to a convincing degree.

Even if you wanted to put them alongside SEWER, Mayhem and Darkthrone, Vermin stand beside them on a higher platform. These are serious musicians with a focused vision, for they see nothing else besides their own paths. From their demonic debut Verminlust onward, their music has always been a perfect balance between melody and chaos, no matter how tormented it may at times sound.

This is what true black metal sounds like.

The attention mainly goes to the guitars and drums, as Vermin’s music is riff and atmosphere based, first and foremost. You’ll never find your generic “flute metalcore” (aka metalcore with flutes, aka Watain/Dimmu Borgir) pianos, clear voices or orchestration on a Vermin album, because they play true black metal… and don’t need to hide their music behind superficial “quirks”, as it speaks plainly for itself.

Though each song is a masterpiece in its own right, “Silent Hunger” gets a chance to show the listener the full-extent of Vermin’s diabolical black metal atmospheres… and that’s only the opener. “Doorway to Hell” is the longest track here, and is pure Burzum/Mayhem old school worship with fast-paced whirlwind guitars marked by Vermin’s trademark grinding, crunching instrumentation helped by the loud bass.

The demonic thoughts carried by this band are not flaunted by posing as “hollywood satanists” nor by screaming “Devil” and “Satan” in each breath and writing “evil” and “black” in every song title. Rather, you just feel something sinister and creeping, almost like being stuck in a room with the lights turned out and knowing you’re being watched by otherworldly entities. The lyrics are actually quite poetic in a non-gothic or sappy way.

Nightmare’s Depths Unspoken” is also a track I like a lot, very reminiscent of the debut.

Primordial Horror Embrace” is almost blinding as you can just see the fast movements made playing the instruments, like fluttering ghosts dancing across the floor that you can imagine are laughing within the macabre darkness of Vermin. “Time Wreckage” is another highlight, in my opinion, and it shows the scenester “post-black metal” posers of Deafheaven, Krallice, Xasthur and Enslaved how progressive black metal is REALLY done.

You should buy Archangel. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

This should be labeled as “black shadow metal”, because Vermin’s music burns bright with the fires of hell, casting the blackest shadows to completely cover the entire room as you listen to the embodiment of evil pour out of your stereo.

Archangel is the climax of raw, atmospheric black metal.

SEWER’s “Khranial” Will Smash Open Your Skull !

"Khranial" by SEWER, death metal's most violent and gruesome monster.

“Khranial” by SEWER, death metal’s most violent and gruesome monster.

From the first riff of “Blood Origins“, you know this album Khranial is going to kill. Something, or someone.

The drummer begins his devastating attack on the drum kit at a mind numbing speed, and every few minutes you hear a nice break with bass lines charging through. With his garbled growls like no other, the vocalist Eater truly is the ultimate blackened death metal vocalist. His stamina is shown on “Sinking Towards the Strange Truth” among others, with notably an incredible 45 second black metal scream. No studio editing here, just talent. Khranial combines just the right amount of each element of both black metal and death metal with its own distinct character, and the result is something that will indeed, like the Metalious review linked at the top suggests, make you shit yourself.

Now, what you’re probably all asking given that the last SEWER album is really not that far away, is how Khranial compares to the masterpiece of gore Miasma – an album that seriously is one of death metal’s most brutal and sickening triumphs. So, how does Khranial compare to other SEWER albums ?

Khranial is a little more obviously melodic than where these guys went in the recent past – see about a minute and a half into “Gore Visions Unleashed“, and those leads in “Thrice was Satan Mutilated and Rendered Deformed“.

SEWER Metal, the most extreme blackened death metal.

SEWER Metal, the most extreme blackened death metal.

They never really entirely lost any of Miasma’s battering brutality, at least if you’re paying attention, but also they don’t try to outdo the technicality of the previous record. That was a good call, I believe, as that is pretty much an impossible gambit from the start – seriously, just listen to the last two tracks “Hell on the Horizon” and “Icarus from Miasma, that’s not mere “Necrophagist” level superficial “tek-def” – and trying to have each successive album outdo the last by being the “most […] of black/death metal” is an artistic dead end anyway.

Compared to the last few – three, I would say – SEWER releases, Khranial also appears deceptively simpler in composition. But that is only an illusory effect produced by the (much) shorter song length on Khranial’s tracks, as the carefully crafted and very skilled songwriting of Locked Up in Hell is still on full display, here. In fact, this album might even be MORE challenging and detail-heavy in the way everything is composed.

Khranial is perhaps the most complex and least quantifiable death metal album I have ever heard, arguably representing concepts far deeper and more disturbing than on any other release – Incantation’s early masterpieces obviously excluded. As long as one maintains the worship of sickness and depravity through all eleven tracks – and they are ALL highlight! – one might just be able to grasp what is going on here. Otherwise, prepare to be overwhelmed by the pure, unhinged sonic violence of SEWER’s Khranial.

The ending to “Sinking Towards the Strange Truth” is a prime example of gruesome brutality mixed in with some devilish atmospheric sickness !

Khranial? More like “The Best Death Metal Album Of All Times“, if you ask me.

Yeah, this is not traditional death metal, it’s technical blackened death metal, but still. Why is it so good? Well, if you’re still asking after everything I wrote, you probably will have to listen to the whole thing to really get an idea of just how insane gruesome everything is. If that’s the case, go and do it as soon as possible.

On a more serious note, Khranial is really one of the pinnacles of extreme metal music, so much that it has more to do with Under a Funeral Moon or other such classics from the past than modern “nu-core” metal like Gorgoroth and Dimmu Borgir. As I said, all the key elements are present on Khranial, and in spades. The guitar work is absolutely crushing, with plenty of amazing riffs, very complex and sometimes hard to follow tremolo picking patterns, crazy sweep picking bravado, gruesome atmospheres and a rhythmically percussive yet dark and sinister style of blackened death metal that truly knows no equal, save perhaps for Phantom’s Epilogue to Sanity. Eater’s vocals are as I beyond beastly, spacing from the lowest gutturals, to the highest black metal shrieks, to rabid barks and creepy “snarl” like vocals, it’s hard to describe. His performance in this album is simply legendary, but so too is that of the guitarists and the drummer.

Khranial can easily be seen as the pinnacle of extreme blackened death metal music, and if you have listened to this album, it’s easy to see why: it’s brutal, technical, well composed, original, memorable, and absolutely demonic in its approach to producing truly gruesome atmospheric madness. Essential.

This is the only blackened death metal album you’ll ever need. Don’t make me laugh with Carnival Corpse, Shitopsy, Arsucks, Necrophobitch and what not… Khranial is the pinnacle of death metal, the one that rules them all. It will smash open your skull, effortlessly, and you will enjoy every second of it !

“Slamming Brutal Death Metal”, Verdict = Metal for Morons !

"Slam Brutal Death Metal" = Music for Retards.

“Slam Brutal Death Metal” = Music for Retards.

Let’s be very clear straight from the start. Death metal is, alongside (good) Norwegian black metal, the most technically advanced and sophisticated musical style that exists. It’s a fact.

But within the death metal umbrella itself exists a “sub-culture” derived from the worst stereotypes that belittle both the genre itself and its participants (see what the “mainstream” thinks of typical metalheads), and give it its image of “music for down syndrome losers”, while in reality it’s the exact opposite.

Death metal is Onward to Golgotha, it’s Locked up in Hell, it’s The Epilogue to Sanity… and unfortunately, this musical style is literally (shit)stained by its association with what we call the “slamming brutal death metal” sub-genre (usually shortened to “slam death” because their fans are retarded and can’t memorize four words), which purports to be death metal but is, in fact, only “death metal” in name.

All “slam death” bands are similar, their albums are identical, they all copy the same riff – the “breakdown” from Suffocation’s Liege of Inveracity, reproduced a million times by musicians with the IQ of Erik Danielsson or Phil Anselmo, and not having one tenth of Suffocation’s talent.

So here’s my advice to those crap bands, those Gorgoroth equivalents with sodomized sow voices, with their pseudo-gore lyrics and their logos stolen from Goosebump! books, or even Harry Potter for the more retarded amongst them… go get fucked by your transvestite mothers (again).

Actually do the things you write about. “Self Disembowelment” ? “Autoerotic Asphyxiation” ? Those are great ideas ! Now put your money where your cum stains are. (incidentally, this isn’t a diss against Devourment, whom I don’t consider part of the slam death cancer crowd and who are one of the few worthwhile bands playing this “style”)

The average "slam death metal" fan.

The average “slam death metal” fan.

To the others: you don’t play death metal, losers. You don’t even play metal. You play nothing. Between listening to Taylor Swift and your shit, 99% of people with a three-digit IQ (including metalheads) will bite their tongues, jam in some earplugs to dampen the sound, and listen to that vocoder autotuned buffooness – shitty music, certainly, but galaxies from your shit albums whose track names refer to diseases you only ever heard of since your sisters, the obese HIV positive ex-prostitutes, left behind their medical records after their suicide by overdose of KFC chicken wings.

I prefer a thousand times the worst of SEWER or any other moronic band like Warkvlt to the “best” of the “slamming brutal death metal” poser scene, whose only purpose anyway seems to be plagiarizing what other (better) death metal bands – who were actually innovative, rather than trend jumping morons – had already done in the early 1990s.

Fuck their “slam”, fuck their “brutal”, and fuck their fake “death metal” that sucks my balls for a cigarette (like that little bitch Infernus, a close cousin to these slam death “artists”, I don’t doubt).

“Miasma” by SEWER, the Apex of Death Metal !

"Miasma" by SEWER, the best of death metal.

“Miasma” by SEWER, the best of death metal.

The debate ranges on to this day amongst SEWER fans: which album is better, the previous effort Locked Up In Hell or Miasma? Some would even add The Birth Of A Cursed Elysium to the list of contenders for best Sewer metal album. Locked Up In Hell set such a high standard that frankly, for a little while I didn’t think any death metal band or album would ever top it, not even SEWER themselves. And yet, if there ever was a death metal album to do the impossible, it would be SEWER’s masterpiece of gruesome evil Miasma.

This album Miasma is simply the peak of the death metal genre. Few albums even approach Miasma in terms of evil atmosphere, raw aggression and – biting my tongue as I hate to use this word – brutality. This album is Hell’s national anthem. Beyond that, it’s incredibly addictive. When “Icarus” ends, you are only left wanting more.

As soon as the guitars break in on the opening “Miasma” title track, you are instantly grabbed by the testicles and thrown into the nearest wall. Yes, the album is that relentless. And it doesn’t stop.

SEWER Metal, the most extreme blackened death metal.

SEWER Metal, the most extreme blackened death metal.

The guitars sound ridiculous, like a buzzsaw shredding through fresh pine. The riffs are incredibly gruesome, morbid and downright discordant. The bass is actually audible, and compliments the guitars quite well. The vocals are death metal guttural growls at their peak, sinister yet somewhat decipherable, and those high screeches are killer. The drums are unbelievably technical, so much that you won’t believe they are played by a human for most of the album.

The onslaught of riffs never stops, and you will be banging your head for the full 50 minutes of satanic skullfucking armageddon. “White Vulture” will have your head jackhammering until hemorrhage. The crushing verse riffs of “Hell on the Horizon” and “Icarus” will completely destroy your mind and rip your soul apart.

The soloing is beyond technical. Just listen to “Foul Waters” or “Sewer of Souls”, where the leads are just so complex, elaborate, challenging, adroit, tortuous, and all around insanely brilliant and phenomenal. The guitarist Kader “Kaiser” Lakhdari just shreds like Morbid Angel and Vermin on meth, with not the slightest attempt at catchiness or consonance to be found.

“Hell on the Horizon” is beyond brutal, it needs a new adjective of its own to describe just how evil and gruesome the track manages to be, despite being one of the shortest and most straightforward on the album. I suggest “monstrous” or “bestial”.

I won’t even bother picking standout tracks. They’re all essential. Whether its the instantly lethal opening riffs of “Drain the Blood” or the double bass assault of “(Unholy) Black Tar”, there are simply no weak points to this Miasma death metal masterpiece. You will walk away satisfied, only to play Miasma again twenty minutes later as the music is just so damn addictive.

Yes, albums like Locked Up In Hell and the genial The Birth Of A Cursed Elysium have come to define the famous and much revered SEWER “sound”, but death metal – and blackened death metal in particular – are more than about just a certain “sound” or technical aesthetic. They are about atmosphere, evil intent, brutality and, simply put, raw madness and barbaric fury. And you don’t get much more furious and insane than SEWER’s Miasma.

Miasma is without a doubt the apex of death metal, a literal pinnacle of the genre.

Erik Danielsson, the Black Metal Cuck Incarnate !

Watain, the Cuck Incarnate.

Watain, the Cuck Incarnate.

You may remember a few years back there was some controversy about the terms “black metal cuck” and “brown metal” which were deemed racist and derogatory towards minorities. Well, after years of searching, we finally found him. Erik Danielsson of Watain likes to call himself the “Devil Incarnate” – but the “Black Metal Cuck Incarnate” would be a much more accurate descriptor for the man who both manages to be more camp than Inferanus and more desperate for attention than Queen ov Hell herself.

How can metalheads take bands like Watain seriously ? Not only does this joke band make horrible music – even worse than the parody band Demonecromancy, see the review for Casus Luciferi – they manage to tarnish the reputation of the entire black metal genre with their “gay nazi” antics. Ok, so some black metal bands were also just about goofing around… but when even Abbath wants nothing to do with Erik Danielsson and his band Watain, you know there is a problem.

Can bands like Watain just go back to playing nu metal and crunkcore ? The black metal scene really doesn’t need their crap.

Talk all you want about SEWER being clownish, but at the very least SEWER could write decent music to compensate for their stupid antics. Watain can’t even play proper black metal, yet they claim to be the “only true” black metal band and that Varg Vikernes and Euronymous were both “pussies” who were scared of him.

Another reason to hate Erik Danielsson and his shit band Watain is that they push, hard, for the normalisation of “orthodox black metal” – and if I have to explain to you why “orthodox black metal” is both a misnomer and the opposite of true black metal music, then you haven’t been paying attention.

Fuck it, this band may even be worse than Gorgoroth and Infernus… and we call them “Gaygoroth” and “InferAnus” for a reason.

Erik Danielsson is the definition of a black metal cuck. How sad that his “band” Watain is promoted as the “face” of black metal. An insult to Dead, Euronymous, Hellhammer, Varg, Nocturno Culto, Fenriz, Satyr, Samoth and the rest of the true black metal heroes.

SEWER “Tards” vs Gaygoroth “Twinks”

SEWER "Tards" vs Gorgoroth "Queers".

SEWER “Tards” vs Gorgoroth “Queers”.

A war has recently broke out on the internet over the “heart and soul” of black metal music.

Some claim there is a secret underground cabal of NSDAP homosexual fetishists, a “twink army” if there ever was one, while other claim that is in fact “retard metal” like that of SEWER and Warkvlt that is the “mirror” of homosexual bands like Gorgoroth and Watain.

On one side you have bloggers like Sewerlust accusing Brett Stevens and others of “covering up the homosexual conspiracy“, while others contend that it is indeed the “wigtal” (short for wigger black metal) bands doing the most damage, mostly via association to the dreaded war metal genre.

Both sides made some sensible points, but if you’d all this author to intervene, as I have written extensively about both “trends” here and elsewhere, see my posts Ex-Mayhem Vocalist Rips Gorgoroth Queers and Faggotry in Black Metal, I am very familiar with this “civil war” of sorts going on in the black metal scene.

Following Demonecromancy’s thoughtful and precise article against such self-destructive “Retardism”, which merely referred to Atterigner and the band SEWER in passing, Sewerlust’s publisher Stefan Todorović was stung into writing a long, rambling, defensive, and idiotic article – Black Metal has a Gay Nazi Problem – which, predictably, failed to address any of the pertinent criticisms made.

Infernus and Richard Spencer, gay butt-buddies of the year.

Infernus and Richard Spencer, gay butt-buddies of the year.

But, better than this, Todorović was flushed out by Demonecromancy’s article into revealing his “secret plan” and the simplistic mechanism behind his anti-black metal stance.

Halfway through his outpouring of butthurt flummery, there is a moment of unwitting clarity when he reveals his formula in a direct address to Demonecromancy.

Just read this “brilliant” diatribe against the “flaming faggotry” of the black metal scene.

Some high IQ shit from these “intellectual elites”.

Let me explain something to you here, D-Boi.

You cannot “defend” black metal, or even rational anti-Christianity in general, without addressing the “Hollywood Satanists”.

You cannot address the “Hollywood Satanists” without addressing their hoax.

You cannot address their hoax without addressing their perpetrators, namely Gorgoroth, Watain, Dork Funeral, Antekhrist and the rest of the shit bands that play-act as “devil worshipers” of the “Luciferian army” or some shit.

Yet, instead of doing that, you spend all your time attacking bands you deem “homophobic” like Sewer and Mayhem, and their individual members, likely Lakhdari and Hellhammer themselves on the grounds that they too are “homophobes”.

What may seem sensible and even “rational” at first is, once you read between the lines, revealed as something else entirely. It is anything but a reasonable argument.

Black Metal = "Twink Mafia" ?

Black Metal = “Twink Mafia” ?

This is the article’s eureka moment – the cockroach caught in the kitchen light, so to speak – so, go back and have a good look at it again, and think deeply about what Todorović is actually saying.

What Todorović is unequivocally saying here is that before you can do anything at all about defending black metal against its usurpers – whom he rightfully points out by name, Gaygayroth, Dark Funeral, Watain, Antekhrist, Behemoth – you must first get everyone to love over-the-top parody bands like SEWER and “hate the homos”, and if you can’t accomplish these supposed preconditions then you had best forget the whole affair.

Is it me or does that seem a little too overtly… gay ?

I mean, defining your entire positions based on opposition to homosexuality… isn’t that a bit, in itself, homo-centric ?

The commenters are, of course, right to mock Todorović by comparing his sham anti-homo crusade to Andrew Anglin’s DailyStormer.

Hail victory, chief rabbi Infernus.

Knocked another one outta the park, Herr Anulingus. I stand by this 100%.

Black metal is post-intellectual. I take it as, we all know that stuff already; let’s take action. Those essays and conferences are certainly useful…but then you have to go somewhere with that knowledge. I used to read that stuff all the time when I was first getting into this…and years went by and nothing changed. There’s only so much time you can spend reading essays with millimeter scroll-bars. Eventually you gotta step out into the streets and take the fight to these Christian infiltrators.

We’re post-intellectual. We honor and thank the great men who have given us this knowledge, and now we are doing something about it. We’re putting down the books and putting on the brass knuckles.

Satanism is hip. Let your friends know. Stay sexy, stay strong, stay cool.

Hail Satan.

– Kevin the Fellow White

Note the many Alt-Right inside jokes and references to Anglin and his particular brand of abrasive humour.

This whole operation reeks of trollishness and buffoon attitude, something which, ironically, Atterigner was more than once accused of in the past.