Thumbs up: +30
Within the past decade, black metal has seen bands from all over the world incorporating new sounds to the genre and changing its delivery like never before. As great as the classic bands are, BM bands today seem to be branching out in every possible direction. From the beautiful chaos of the French bands, to the developing psychedelic black metal style, and even the Avantgarde craziness of Mories... all the experimentation is helping to create a bold new identity for the genre's sound. Black metal today could very well be the one area of metal where we see the most experimentation taking place, and I hope the albums in this list will illustrate this growing trend.

Created by: Apothecary | 05.06.2012



1. Deathspell Omega - Fas - Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum
If you consider yourself a fan of unusual black metal and you haven't yet heard these Frenchy titans, you've been living under a rock. Many variations in mood and tempo abound here, and lyrically the band deal with anti-Christianity on an incredibly intelligent, metaphysical level that virtually no other BM bands can touch. All the "slow and dissonant" black metal we see cropping up today owes its ass to this band.
2. Blut Aus Nord - 777 - The Desanctification
More weird French black metal. The second of the band's 777 trilogy, this one is a strange blend of black metal with a spooky industrial/electronic edge, to create a very structured, yet eerie atmosphere. Haunting, but also strangely relaxing and trance like due to its repetitive, midtempo nature. My personal favorite from the band.
3. Diapsiquir - Virus STN
Quite possibly the strangest and most chaotically schizophrenic of the French BM bands, no understatement. Get ready for swing piano, babies crying, and occasionally scary spoken word parts. Lyrics in French.
4. Glorior Belli - The Great Southern Darkness
French black metal with southern rock influences thrown in! Very bluesy, and just groovy and fun as all fuck. It sounds weird in theory, but is actually very interesting and executed extremely well.
5. Kawir - Isotheos
This is probably one of the more orthodox releases I've put on here, but Kawir still aren't the average BM band. They're all about Greek mythology, and the lyrics are actually written in classical Greek. Generally midtempo, very catchy at points, with female vocals, awesome harmonic chants, and a bit of flute and acoustic guitar to enhance the epic mood.
6. Melechesh - Enki
It's not too big a stretch to use the term "groove black metal" when describing this one. Incredibly catchy and bouncy BM with an Eastern edge, revolving thematically around the ancient land between the rivers (that's Mesopotamia, for you ancient history n00bs)
7. Urfaust - Verräterischer, Nichtswürdiger Geist
Dutch ambient black metal, but not in the traditional sense we think of "ambient black metal" in. Urfaust take things in more of a dark, orchestral direction, and a few tracks here are just long instrumental pieces that sound almost like something from Richard Wagner. This is also one of the pnly times you will ever see clean vocals on top of black metal that actually WORK. Eerie and mesmerizing, with a sound definitely unique to the band. Lyrics sung in German.
8. A Forest Of Stars - The Corpse of Rebirth
Folklorish black metal from the UK. A wonderfully composed 6-person band, these guys have a fondness for dressing in garments reminiscent of Victorian England while onstage. This lyrical/visual theme carries over into their instrumentation, and the band frequently make use of violins, flutes, accordions, and other classical folk instruments to great effect.
9. Nachtmystium - Assassins: Black Meddle, Part 1
American psychedelic black metal (on this release and the follow-up, Addicts). The album title here is a direct reference to Pink Floyd's Meddle album. The music can definitely be aggressive, but it can also be surprisingly catchy and atmospheric, enhanced at many points by trippy synthesizer effects. The closing, three part "Seasick" is probably the most experimental track the band have done.
10. Oranssi Pazuzu - Kosmonument
Finnish psychedelic black metal. Has a very intense, "chaotic vortex" type atmosphere, that feels like you're falling into a black hole. Incredibly memorable and well written, with some bass lines that will get stuck in your head for days.
11. Candy Cane - Fay-Ra-Doowra
Another crazy Finnish BM band, much like Diapsiquir in the sense of their spontaneity and rapid juxtaposition of styles. You're gonna hear horns, you're gonna hear elevator-type piano, you're gonna hear some BIZZARE clean vocals that sound like a little kid is singing, borderline flamenco-ish guitar playing, and more. Wacky, WACKY release, but for those who like their black metal insane and Avantgarde, this is an album for you.
12. The Ruins Of Beverast - Foulest Semen Of A Sheltered Elite
One man German blackened doom project of former Nagelfar drummer Alexander Von Meilenwald. Biblically-historic lyrics, a riff-heavy guitar tone, and (in addition to the BM shrieks) deep, operatic vocals that help to create a haunting and mesmerizing vibe. Very distinct atmosphere unique to Alex.
13. Alkerdeel - Morinde
The artwork of a fox beating a goose is appropriate, because this album will bludgeon you to hell with its gritty and uncompromising fusion of black metal and sludge. Filthy buzzsaw riffs bulldoze you into oblivion. Not for the faint of heart.
14. Leviathan - Massive Conspiracy Against All Life
If you know your American black metal, you know the name of Wrest, well known in the international scene for this band and Lurker Of Chalice. This album is an ambient BM monument to suffering and anguish: depressive, aggressive, and absolutely haunting, with a plethora of spooky sounds and crazy vocal deliveries from Wrest to bring it all out.
15. Lurker Of Chalice - Lurker Of Chalice
Wrest's other project ambient BM project. Kind of like Leviathan, but more focused on the dark, creepy and atmospheric side of things. There's also a very commendable variation in delivery and mood at work here, "Minions" almost sounding like drone doom. This album has achieved a pretty legendary status in the BM community, and not without good reason.
16. Nagelfar - Srontgorrth
The crown jewel of German black metal? Five tracks of massive atmospheric black metal, with a highly folky (somewhat viking) sound thrown in. Great bass tone as well. Also has a notable electronic edge. Keyboards propel a lot of the music here, and the fourth track is just one huge journey through synths with some BM vocals over them, to awesome effect.
17. Transcending Bizarre? - The Misanthrope's Fable
Avantgarde black metal with a very strange, psychedelic edge. One of the best things in this style you've heard since Arcturus: xylophones, strange electronic effects, and more goodies lurk in the mix, and create an almost symphonic effect. All three members of Hail Spirit Noir were in this band, so that's reason enough for you to investigate.
18. Hail Spirit Noir - Pneuma
This fun sonofabitch of an album is essentially 70s prog rock + black metal. Does that mean it's like a black metal version of Opeth's Heritage? Hell no. It's a groovy, bizarre roller coaster ride through relaxing, occasionally aggressive landscapes of kvlt and psychedelia, with a bit of a darkly comedic edge. }Let Your Devil Come Inside" says it all.
19. The Great Old Ones - Tekeli-li
More great (Lovecraftian!) French black metal. Very well paced, with an excellent balancing out of atmosphere and production. Can be aggressive as hell at points, but when things get a little slower, more melodic, and those spoken word French parts get thrown in, you're in for some creepy shit.
20. Negură Bunget - Om
Regarded by many as the magnum opus of Romanian black metal, this album is a simply amazing blend of black metal and the Romanian folk music of yesterday that the band both celebrate and do an excellent job at recreating. It's those traditional instruments that make this album so special, and at many moments throughout Om you can't help but feel like you're in a forest watching some woodland spirits playing this music.
21. Elysian Blaze - Blood Geometry
Atmospheric BM/funeral doom. A 2 hour, double disc masterpiece crafted solely by twisted Australian genius Mutatiis. Highly symphonic and orchestral at points, the longer tracks clocking in at 20+ minutes and containing multiple movements like an opera. Difficult to digest because of its sheer length, but if you're willing to sit through a musical experience that can only be described as monumental, do not pass this one up.
22. Wormlust - The Feral Wisdom
One man psychedelic black metal from the desolate tundras of Iceland. The production is really the best thing here: it's murky and blurry, and everything just feels smothered in a supernatural mist, which works wonders towards creating a dark, mysterious sound.
23. Atriarch - Ritual Of Passing
Blackened doom from the U.S. Honestly leans much more towards the doom side of the equation, so including it here may be a stretch, but the black metal element can still be felt heavily in the riff style, and the overall ominous, occult theme of the album.
24. The Flight Of Sleipnir - Essence Of Nine
Folk black metal is becoming a tad overdone these days, but this American duo throws some stoner metal elements into the equation that really help give the music an original, riff-heavy, catchy groove that I see few other (if any) bands replicating.
25. Dordeduh - Dar De Duh
Negura Bunget core guys Sol Faur and Hupogrammos split off from the band in 2009, forming their own project that takes the folk elements to new heights while also still retaining some of their trademark black metal techniques from Negura.
26. Murmuüre - Murmuüre
French ambient black metal driven by the twisted enigma that is Felix. Very spacey and kinda random in its instrumentation, but also strangely technical at points, with an underlying flow that manages to keep everything together quite nicely.
27. Menace Ruine - Cult Of Ruins
Now here's a truly distinct release. Before going into their droney/neofolk territory that you see them in today, Menace Ruine put out this monster of an album that's a very bizarre blend of black metal, drone, and noise, and that demonstrates how these seemingly unrelated genres can be combined in bold and unexpected ways. Seriously nothing else like it.
28. Gnaw Their Tongues - Eschatological Scatology
One of the many projects of Dutch mastermind Maurice "Mories" de Jong, there'sb a lot of variation among GTT albums, some being outright aggressive and more in BM territory, and others taking a more droney, noisey approach that's equally as terrifying. This album sits somewhere in between, and is the ultimate soundtrack to your nightmares.
29. Cloak Of Altering - The Night Comes Illuminated With Death
Another Mories project, COA is focused more on the electronic side of things. Ravenous black metal tears away at your flesh while Satanic video game music made for aliens lurks quietly in the background tickling your brain stem. Say that doesn't sound fun and I'll smack you.
30. Botanist - III: Doom In Bloom
Self-proclaimed "eco-terrorist black metal," a bizarre one man American project of Roberto "The Botanist" Martinelli. Instrumentation limited strictly to drums, vocals, and hammered dulcimer, which creates a sound that's a bit hard to digest, but quite rewarding once you do.
31. Nocte Obducta - Umbriel (Das Schweigen Zwischen Den Sternen)
This German band started out as a rawer form of black metal, but have now moved into some much more interesting psychedelic/Avantgarde territory. This most recent release is actually more ambient than it is BM, but a fantastic band/album regardless.
32. The Meads Of Asphodel - Damascus Steel
This British group defy all boundaries of classification. Core black metal sound, but they've also been known to add in elements of punk, techno, folk, and classical. This album in particular revolves around a heavy Middle Eastern theme, and as such uses a bunch of native percussion and other wacky shit, to great effect.
33. Terra Tenebrosa - The Tunnels
A bizzare Swedish blend of dark ambient, sludge, and some entrancing black metal elements that, though subtle, are definitely felt in the overall mix. The effects of the sound can range from bone-crushing one second to an almost surreal ritual aesthetic the next. If you're looking for some truly haunting, creepy stuff, this is the album for you.
34. Progenie Terrestre Pura - U​.​M​.​A.
Italian ambient black metal, with a strong sci fi theme. The black metal has a strong industrial edge, making it surprisingly catchy at points, and the ringy ding dings of the ambient elements are sure to satisfy any true Metroid fan. Awesome stuff.
35. Fullmoon Bongzai - Is All That You Deserve
A bizzare blend of black metal, psychedelia, and industrial music from Greece, these guys will take your mind and fuck it with full force. This is an extremely strange release, even when compared to all the others on this list, and will probably only appeal to about 1% of the Metal Storm demographic, but for those who just can't get enough of the bizarre, it's highly recommended.
36. Angst Skvadron - Sweet Poison
Psychedelic black metal from Norway. A bit like Oranssi at points, but with enough of a creative mind to easily set themselves apart from them and other contemporaries. A good blend of relaxing space atmospheres and groovy aggressive moments as well.
37. Pensées Nocturnes - Grotesque
French one man black metal of a sophisticated, neoclassical variety. The black metal is hard hitting and menacing, but the more relaxed passages here are quite relaxing and absolutely beautiful. This isn't really classically influenced in the sense of traditional "symphonic black metal," but rather in a dark, grandiose, orchestral sense.
38. Cult Of Fire - मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान
Czech black metal with an intense Eastern theme: Vedic rites, Hindu death gods, all that stuff. Makes use of sitar, piano, Indian percussion, and chanting to create an amazing, mesmerizing atmosphere.
39. Mörkö - Itsensänimeävä
One of the best black/doom albums to come along in a while, because it blurs the line between the two quite seamlessly. This Finnish group can at times be raw and in your face, but also very groovy and borderline psychedelic as well, with a delightfully audible bass tone that rumbles along all throughout this album.
40. Kvelertak - Meir
A growing addition to this whole "black and roll" movement, Kvelertak are pretty much BM meets the Sex Pistols. Punky as fuck, but also with your typical black metal style of guitar playing and shrieked vocals.
41. Autolatry - Native
Seriously cool black metal revolving around a Native American theme. One of the more orthodox albums on here, but pretty unusual as well: has an excellent sense of groove, which can actually get borderline progressive at points, there are some well carved guitar leads, and oh yeah, there's that one track with the sax too!
42. Porta Nigra - Kaiserschnitt
A curious German duo who are difficult to classify. They're mostly black metal, can be very heavy and bouncy, and you can also find traces of doom, punk, and prog in the mix as well. Like Hail Spirit Noir and The Meads Of Asphodel, these guys also have a bit of a darkly comedic "we're not taking ourselves seriously" vibe about their music as well, which makes for a very fun listening experience.



Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by Apothecary ]



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Erik M. - 22.06.2014 at 23:33  
No Nasheim?
Erik M. - 22.06.2014 at 23:35  
Written by mz on 01.12.2013 at 14:58

I've been extremely busy these days and hardly had time for music. Also, I just have 2GB space on my HDD and thus, would not download anything new. Still almost 1500 albums on my hard which I have not checked they yet but unfortunately, I don't have any Xasthur. They are on the top of my check list for new download phase.


Even if you had 15 million downloaded albums, I'd not be impressed. A physical collection can be impressive, while a digital collection really isn't.
Apothecary - 22.06.2014 at 23:51  
Written by Erik M. on 22.06.2014 at 23:33

No Nasheim?

Really wouldn't consider that "unorthodox," from what I remember it's really just typical atmospheric BM, raw as fuck production, and I hear a heavy Fen influence in it personally, so I dunno. Might have to give it a decent playthrough again though, I haven't in a while.
mz - 23.06.2014 at 00:34  
Written by Erik M. on 22.06.2014 at 23:35

Even if you had 15 million downloaded albums, I'd not be impressed. A physical collection can be impressive, while a digital collection really isn't.

I didn't say that my "collection" is impressive, and physical copies of course are much more good looking. It was only meant to show that I was not able to check that especial band at that moment.
Erik M. - 23.06.2014 at 22:55  
Written by Apothecary on 22.06.2014 at 23:51

Really wouldn't consider that "unorthodox," from what I remember it's really just typical atmospheric BM, raw as fuck production, and I hear a heavy Fen influence in it personally, so I dunno. Might have to give it a decent playthrough again though, I haven't in a while.


For some reason I expected to encounter Nasheim here, but you're probably right about them, as they're pretty standard (yet awesome) atmospheric black metal.
Erik M. - 23.06.2014 at 22:55  
Written by mz on 23.06.2014 at 00:34

I didn't say that my "collection" is impressive, and physical copies of course are much more good looking. It was only meant to show that I was not able to check that especial band at that moment.


Fair enough, I wasn't sure whether you were bragging about your digital collection or not, haha.
Marcel Hubregtse - 24.06.2014 at 00:56  
Please learn to read. MZ wasn't bragginganywhere. Even K7/Bad English could understand that.
Ilham - 24.06.2014 at 00:57  
I could have sworn I posted something here two hours ago. Nevermind, I'll re-type it.

I like the fact your list doesn't include 300 items. It makes the gems you can find in this clearly visible. Although there are a dozen bands of which I don't know/never listened to yet, I agree with most of what I see. This is one of the lists I will use to catch up to what has been done in BM these last years. Thumbs up.
Apothecary - 24.06.2014 at 01:47  
Written by Ilham on 24.06.2014 at 00:57

I like the fact your list doesn't include 300 items. It makes the gems you can find in this clearly visible. Although there are a dozen bands of which I don't know/never listened to yet, I agree with most of what I see. This is one of the lists I will use to catch up to what has been done in BM these last years. Thumbs up.

Glad you enjoyed it. I honestly haven't touched on this list in a while (added Morko, Murmur, and Cult Of Fire a few months ago) so it could use some expansion, but I don't see it ever getting over 100 albums, if even that. Quality over quantity, they say
Erik M. - 25.06.2014 at 23:47  
Written by Apothecary on 24.06.2014 at 01:47

Quality over quantity, they say


Both is possible though. Just look at my top 75 list (soon top 100).
Zaphod - 22.08.2014 at 01:06  
Written by Apothecary on 24.06.2014 at 01:47

Quality over quantity, they say

Yeah, this is a list of which I can actually check out everything in a relatively short amount of time. Right now there are about 15 albums I still have to check out, so that's very doable, plus I agree with the albums I know.
And I think the number of albums featured right now is perfect (42 )
HellriderRising - 26.01.2015 at 19:34  
Kawir
Apothecary - 26.01.2015 at 19:42  
Written by HellriderRising on 26.01.2015 at 19:34

Kawir

Yeah, they're really great, did you know that the lyrics for that album are apparently in some classical form of Greek? Definitely need a new album from those guys.
HellriderRising - 10.02.2015 at 21:30  
Written by Apothecary on 26.01.2015 at 19:42

Written by HellriderRising on 26.01.2015 at 19:34

Kawir

Yeah, they're really great, did you know that the lyrics for that album are apparently in some classical form of Greek? Definitely need a new album from those guys.

Yeah, I am Greek also.
Me too, ''Isotheos'' is a great album, but underrated, as the rest of hellenic black metal scene.
What I like most in these bands is that they still produce old school black metal , while the most ''true'' norwegian black metal bands have broaden their sound in other styles, losing the black metal style at some parts.
Anyway, still hope that I will find it one day. Cheers.
Tomas Piller - 28.02.2015 at 20:44  
Quote:

Nagelfar - Srontgorrth
The crown jewel of German black metal?

That's absolutely correct!

Also Limbonic Art's In Abhorrence Dementia would fit in here.
Apothecary - 28.02.2015 at 20:55  
Quote:
Quote:

That's absolutely correct!

Also Limbonic Art's In Abhorrence Dementia would fit in here.

Yeah, I've had some people say that Nagelfar's Hünengrab Im Herbst, the albom before Srontgorth, is actually stronger, but I've yet to listen to it. Can't say I've heard of that Limbonic album either.
Erik M. - 10.03.2015 at 16:20  
Written by Apothecary on 28.02.2015 at 20:55

Can't say I've heard of that Limbonic album either.


Then you haven't been paying attention to my favourite BM stuff. The first two Limbonic Art albums are highly recommended, as they're excellent. However, the genre is symphonic/melodic BM and there's nothing unusual about their sound. So in my opinion not fitting for this list.
Marcel Hubregtse - 13.05.2015 at 00:25  
Only now do I notice the following in the Alkerdeel description...

Quote:

The artwork of a wolf beating a goose is appropriate,


However, it is not a wolf, it is a fox Which isn't too surprising since there are no wild wolves in Belgium but there are wild foxes
Apothecary - 13.05.2015 at 00:32  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 13.05.2015 at 00:25

It is not a wolf, it is a fox Which isn't too surprising since there are no wild wolves in Belgium but there are wild foxes

Ah, thanks for the clarification. Fixed that
Marcel Hubregtse - 13.05.2015 at 00:41  
Written by Apothecary on 13.05.2015 at 00:32

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 13.05.2015 at 00:25

It is not a wolf, it is a fox Which isn't too surprising since there are no wild wolves in Belgium but there are wild foxes

Ah, thanks for the clarification. Fixed that


Btw, on the inlay the fox's eye is impaled by the club and the goose flies away.
Zaphod - 13.05.2015 at 00:48  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 13.05.2015 at 00:25

Only now do I notice the following in the Alkerdeel description...

Quote:

The artwork of a wolf beating a goose is appropriate,


However, it is not a wolf, it is a fox Which isn't too surprising since there are no wild wolves in Belgium but there are wild foxes

I had always sort of seen the cover as a bloody interpretation of Reynaert De Vos
Marcel Hubregtse - 13.05.2015 at 00:57  
Written by Zaphod on 13.05.2015 at 00:48


I had always sort of seen the cover as a bloody interpretation of Reynaert De Vos


Never thought of it as Van Den Vos Reynaerde, but now that you mention it.
Apothecary - 13.05.2015 at 01:12  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 13.05.2015 at 00:41

Btw, on the inlay the fox's eye is impaled by the club and the goose flies away.

I remember seeing that when I checked out the vinyl at your place. Funny twist, indeed
Chronic - 13.05.2015 at 03:07  
Kvelertak is rad yo.
I'll have to check out some other stuff on here as well.
Karlabos - 13.05.2015 at 03:20  
Expand this list yo. Add those underground non MS gems. I know you know a lot more than that =]
Apothecary - 13.05.2015 at 03:54  
Written by Karlabos on 13.05.2015 at 03:20

Expand this list yo. Add those underground non MS gems. I know you know a lot more than that =]

I know I know more than this, just really gonna have to rack my brain for some names. But for sure dude, I'd love to see this get up to 100 albums, or even 80. Gonna do some work on it in the next few weeks, keep an eye out
Joe Zombie - 13.05.2015 at 08:52  
Cool list. Gonna have to give a lot of these a whirl. Tbh, I haven't heard much of DsO at all. Like, probably not even one full song. Don't know why.

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