Forgotten Gems of Old School Black Metal


Written by: Alex F
Published: 16.01.2015


Black metal can present itself as an equally introverted and inviting beast; luring you in with a false sense of welcome, only to decimate you with punishing riffs and rolling waves of thunderous drumming. From the early 90s to the present day, it has always been at least somewhat shunned as the black (ha) sheep of metal, but one cannot deny its colossal impact on metal in its image, style, and overall appeal. With so much black metal being produced for the past 30 years, it's no surprise that some of it gets lost in the mix, so let's take a look at 10 of my favorite forgotten gems of old school black metal.

Mortuary Drape - Into The Drape (1992) (Black/Death Metal)

This is raw black metal that proves you do not have to sacrifice intricate musicianship for the sake of attaining that filthy vibe. With a few solos drizzled over a slightly synth influenced dish of bass-driven riffs, Into The Drape is a short yet successful venture in the realm of early 90's black metal. With artists such as the infamous Varg Vikernes becoming the black metal equivalent of a Kardashian during the period of time from which this album comes, it can be immensely refreshing to hear a band just play some kickass music and not hear about their drama.

Christ Agony - Daemoonseth: Act II (1993) (Melodic Black Metal)

Melodicism was definitely not the intended route for black metal in its inception. Despite this, bands such as Rotting Christ, Dissection, and Christ Agony found it an appropriate path to wander. With the riffing slowly venturing away from constant tremelo-picked mayhem over constant blast-beats, Daemoonseth - Act II finds itself lying in between its obvious raw influences, and a desire to create music more driven by accessibility. The production is very bass heavy, giving it an inherent resemblance to many other black metal acts of the time, but the melodies and interludes tend towards something entirely new.

The Black - The Priest Of Satan (1994) (Black Metal)

Fortunately, raw black metal evolved (even if only slightly) with the surging abundance of experimental acts entering the scene. Featuring the highly idolized Jon Nodtveidt (founder and frontman of Dissection), The Priest Of Satan clearly maintains the eclectic influences of its band members. With passages reminiscent of heavily synth driven atmospheric black metal, to complete savage onslaught of violent primitive black metal, this album seems to cover all grounds. The vocals appear layered in a harsh manner, providing a purely vile edge to the already filthy full length.

It is now the mid-90s, and many musicians are beginning to realize black metal's full potential. Experimentation slowly begins to pop up within the genre, and natural developments are made on archaic yet enjoyable concepts.

Fleurety - Min Tid Skal Komme (1995) (Avantgarde Black Metal)

By the mid-90s, experimentation rapidly sunk its teeth as far into black metal's previously impermeable flesh as it has any genre. In The Woods..., Sigh, and Ulver all proved to the world that black metal is not limited to the mental capacity of Varg Vikernes, but so many fine acts became lost in the tsunami of new bands. Fleurety incorporate stylistic aspects ranging from thrash metal, to the modern equivalent of what some may call depressive black metal. Manifesting heart wrenching harmonies betwixt punishing sections of violence, Min Tid Skal Komme manages to entice fans of all styles to take part in this captivating journey. To add an additional layer of majesty to the less harsh sections, gently singing female vocals echo high above the mix like harpies crying out above the violent seas.

Thy Worshiper - Popiol (1996) (Atmospheric/Symphonic Black Metal)

As harmony and mournful melody became more common in the realms of black metal, atmospheric black metal rapidly came to be in full force, with bands utilizing long drawn out passages of repetitive yet captivating melodies to tug at the strings of the listener's heart. Thy Worshiper manage to meld aspects of melodic black metal with the more folk influenced work of Ulver to create a truly haunting work of bleak yet calling art.

With the decade drawing nearer and nearer to its conclusion, the term "black metal" is now used as a vague term used to describe a multitude of stylistic differences. With avantgarde acts spawning from the nihilistic nothingness, and a more delicate side of the genre revealing itself, many will argue that this is simply a natural maturing of a relatively young (and infantile to some) genre.

Anubi - Kai Pilnaties Akis Uzmerks Mirtis (1997) (Avantgarde Black Metal)

With bands like Ved Buens Ende emerging in the mid-90s, one could be forgiven for believing a contest for "most experimentation in black metal" was underway. Anubi fully bring to light the possibility, with what is possibly the strangest black metal album of the 90s. Schizophrenic guitar riffs are accompanied by equally disconcerting piano and incredibly bass heavy production which create a completely bizarre album. The vocalist echoes out in the far distance of the mildly dense production, vacillating between the use of demented cleans and ugly harsh techniques, which realize the full potential Anubi maintained in their short existence.

Bergthron - Verborgen In Den Tiefen Der Walder… (1997) (Atmospheric Black Metal)

With the full development of atmospheric black metal probably having occurred by this album's release, it is nice to see how willingly bands will attempt to blend stylistic choices and techniques of their preference. Verborgen In Den Tiefen Der Walder… consists of one 33 minute track which flows in and out of folk oriented bliss and mournful black metal riffing. With similarities to Thy Worshiper, its inclusion in this grim collage is justified through its heavy synth/symphonic influence which helps it stand out. Near constant synth melodies guide this eternally wandering lost soul through misty bleak landscapes to its final resting place at the conclusion of the album.

By the end of the 90s we can witness the full evolution of black metal, reaching unprecedented heights. Experimentation lies in every corner, and emotion is now poured passionately all over a genre that was built off of bleak and adamant rebellion. The classics are classics, and there is no denying their significance, but sometimes we must read between the lines in a way to observe the full development the genre has undergone.

Godkiller - The End Of The World (1998) (Industrial Black Metal)

Industrial black metal seems to be a favorite of many Metal Storm users, and Godkiller provide just that. With far too much creativity and quality musicianship to sum up in a meager paragraph, one of the most notable qualities of the band is their outstanding ability to utilize varying styles (notice a trend?). Incredibly emotive passages are juxtaposed over monotonous keyboards that lay a foundation for the entirety of the album. Incredible production (especially for the time) allows for seemingly infinite layers to reside in each track. One quickly becomes lost in the forest of excellence as The End Of The World draws ever nearer, and by the album's resolution, you may just be certain that this is what has come.

Graal - Sigullum Naturae (1998) (Avantgarde Black Metal)

Owing immense amounts to Ved Buens Ende (as it seems many avantgarde bands do), Graal's Sigullum Naturae is bizarre, ugly, mysterious, but most of all relatively unique. Time signature changes come in rapid succession as the music changes drastically from passage to passage. Dissonant melodies are accompanied by some of the most haunting vocals I have ever encountered, and slight jazz influences are clearly present throughout the entire release. Anyone who enjoys the absurd should at least give this a chance for the sheer creativity dripping from every gap in the album.

Hirilorn - Legends Of Evil And Eternal Death (1998) (Black/Folk Metal)

Finally we come to a stunning example of where standard black metal evolved by the conclusion of the 90's. The blast beats are present in full force, as are the rapidly tremolo-picked riffs, but Legends Of Evil And Eternal Death is so much more than just that, as is black metal in its current form. With majestic folk passages scattered throughout intensely emotional riffing and vocals, Hirilorn will convince even the most bitter old man that black metal is a genre worth exploring, with intelligent design and incredible gems hiding in every corner.




 


Guest article disclaimer:
This is a guest article, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments

Comments: 21   Visited by: 104 users
16.01.2015 - 18:45
Alex F
Slick Dick Rick
Here are some links so people can actually check out the music: Mortuary Drape, Christ Agony, The Black, Fleurety, Thy Worshiper, Anubi, Bergthron, Godkiller, Graal, and Hirilorn.
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16.01.2015 - 19:50
Karlabos
Weirdo of MS
Nice article. Some of these I didn't know.
That Graal sounds interesting
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2016

2017
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17.01.2015 - 01:27
mz
Nice. I only knew Fleurety and godkiller. Checking Anubi now.
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Giving my ears a rest from music.
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17.01.2015 - 20:41
Alex F
Slick Dick Rick
Written by mz on 17.01.2015 at 01:27

Nice. I only knew Fleurety and godkiller. Checking Anubi now.

I suspect you'll enjoy Anubi and Graal, though Godkiller is probably my personal favorite from the list (maybe excluding Hirilorn)
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17.01.2015 - 21:08
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
Nice to see some recognition for Hirilorn. I'm surprised you didn't mention that Deathspell Omega owes most of (if not all) its brilliance to that band considering the members involved. Hopefully that Hirilorn album gets added to database at some point. Imma throw a 10 at it.

(that was poorly worded. I just mean DsO effectively evolved out of Hirilorn rather than the music inspired what DsO did).
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17.01.2015 - 21:12
Alex F
Slick Dick Rick
Written by Guest on 17.01.2015 at 21:08

Nice to see some recognition for Hirilorn. I'm surprised you didn't mention that Deathspell Omega owes most of its brilliance to that band considering the members involved. Hopefully that Hirilorn album gets added to database at some point. Imma throw a 10 at it.

Woah a 10? I'd easily give it a 9 though so I guess that's not too crazy. Seriously one of the best 90's BM albums. Didn't actually realize there was a DsO connection to be honest. I suppose I should do more research into things like that before writing reviews/articles. Interesting to hear though. If they get added I'll probably write a full length for that album. Anything on here that's new to you?
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17.01.2015 - 21:16
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
Written by Alex F on 17.01.2015 at 21:12

Woah a 10? I'd easily give it a 9 though so I guess that's not too crazy. Seriously one of the best 90's BM albums. Didn't actually realize there was a DsO connection to be honest. I suppose I should do more research into things like that before writing reviews/articles. Interesting to hear though. If they get added I'll probably write a full length for that album. Anything on here that's new to you?

Yeah I absolutely love the album. It's my go-to record for when I want epic melodies as I can't think of any other album that does it better without sounding cheesy.

I'm assuming that most of the music of DsO is written by Hasjarl, who was also in Hirilorn as rhythm guitarist so hard to know who wrote the music in Hirilorn. I'm probably overstating it a bit but 3 of the 4 members went on into DsO (now it's just Hasjarl by the looks of it).
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19.01.2015 - 19:10
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
Man, that Graal would be so much better without the vocals which are pretty laughable. I'd love to hear an instrumental version of it.
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19.01.2015 - 19:15
Alex F
Slick Dick Rick
Written by Guest on 19.01.2015 at 19:10

Man, that Graal would be so much better without the vocals which are pretty laughable. I'd love to hear an instrumental version of it.

I actually enjoyed them, but I can see (very clearly) why many people wouldn't. The instrumentation is definitely the strong point of that album
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19.01.2015 - 19:17
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
Written by Alex F on 19.01.2015 at 19:15

I actually enjoyed them, but I can see (very clearly) why many people wouldn't. The instrumentation is definitely the strong point of that album

Thankfully the vocals seem to calm down a bit on the other tracks. Not quite as zombie-ish =P amazing instrumentation and wackiness for the era though.
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19.01.2015 - 22:34
ANGEL REAPER
Hey this is all second wave! the title mislead me ,i thought you were talking about first wave,cause you know,that is what i call THE FUCKING OLD SCHOOL
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"Cross is only an iron,hope is just an illusion,freedom is nothing but a name..."
"Build your walls of the dead stone...Build your roofs of a dead wood..Build your dreams of a dead thoughts"
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19.01.2015 - 22:35
Alex F
Slick Dick Rick
Written by ANGEL REAPER on 19.01.2015 at 22:34

Hey this is all second wave! the title mislead me ,i thought you were talking about first wave,cause you know,that is what i call THE FUCKING OLD SCHOOL

Goddammit you're right. I meant to put in a disclaimer somewhere that this would only be post 1990 stuff, as that's what I'm most interested in. I'm sorry for misleading Hopefully you can still find something you like
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19.01.2015 - 22:49
ANGEL REAPER
Written by Alex F on 19.01.2015 at 22:35

Written by ANGEL REAPER on 19.01.2015 at 22:34

Hey this is all second wave! the title mislead me ,i thought you were talking about first wave,cause you know,that is what i call THE FUCKING OLD SCHOOL

Goddammit you're right. I meant to put in a disclaimer somewhere that this would only be post 1990 stuff, as that's what I'm most interested in. I'm sorry for misleading Hopefully you can still find something you like

dont get me wrong this is good stuff too but i connect the term "Old School" with first wave .just small personal preference
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"Cross is only an iron,hope is just an illusion,freedom is nothing but a name..."
"Build your walls of the dead stone...Build your roofs of a dead wood..Build your dreams of a dead thoughts"
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20.01.2015 - 01:13
MetalDoomMaster
Hey, there is some pretty kickass stuff on here that I haven't heard, thanks
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20.01.2015 - 21:48
Bad English
Masterchief
Interesting article, but it wont be possible to wrote whit out I net, rare underground and forgotten bands, I didn't know many of those now in next few days I will try those out
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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03.04.2015 - 17:05
Aristarchos
Written by ANGEL REAPER on 19.01.2015 at 22:34

Hey this is all second wave! the title mislead me ,i thought you were talking about first wave,cause you know,that is what i call THE FUCKING OLD SCHOOL

For me second wave is old school, since first wave barely is black metal; but from 1995 and forward, with more experimental bands like Fleurety and In The Woods, I wouldn't any longer call it old school.
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03.04.2015 - 23:01
ANGEL REAPER
Written by Aristarchos on 03.04.2015 at 17:05

Written by ANGEL REAPER on 19.01.2015 at 22:34

Hey this is all second wave! the title mislead me ,i thought you were talking about first wave,cause you know,that is what i call THE FUCKING OLD SCHOOL

For me second wave is old school, since first wave barely is black metal; but from 1995 and forward, with more experimental bands like Fleurety and In The Woods, I wouldn't any longer call it old school.

chill dude, take everything i write here as something with a lot of jokes/fun thrown in ...you know ..just for laughs

now seriously i prefer first wave
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"Cross is only an iron,hope is just an illusion,freedom is nothing but a name..."
"Build your walls of the dead stone...Build your roofs of a dead wood..Build your dreams of a dead thoughts"
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04.04.2015 - 00:40
Mr. Doctor
Skandino
Oh man I didn't see this one. I remember your bad ass article of old death metal.

I know only TWO bands. I feel pathetic! Thanks a lot dude.
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
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04.04.2015 - 13:19
Warman
Erotic Stains
Lot of good stuff here I need to give a closer look.
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29.03.2017 - 23:13
VIG
Padawan
Written by Mr. Doctor on 04.04.2015 at 00:40

I know only TWO bands. I feel pathetic!

I only know one!
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27.06.2017 - 11:54
DeliciousDishes
This is a goddamn gold mine.
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