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Within the past decade, black metal has seen bands from all over the world incorporating new sounds to the style and changing its delivery like never before. As great as the classic acts are, BM bands today seem to be branching out in every possible direction. From the beautiful chaos of the French bands to the psychedelic dabblings of the Finns to the atmospheric scene out West in the U.S... all the experimentation is helping to create a new identity for the genre. So, in no particular order, here are some of the best releases from this growing trend of originality within black metal's foundations (atmospheric, psychedelic, black doom, and otherwise).

I've also taken the time to make a playlist with one track from each album, which can be found here.

Created by: Apothecary | 05.06.2012



1. Deathspell Omega - Fas - Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum
If you consider yourself a fan of strange black metal and you haven't yet heard these Frenchy titans, you've been living under a rock. Nuff said.
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 some spooky industrial/electronic dissonance, to create a very structured, yet eerie atmosphere. One of my favorites from the project.
3. Diapsiquir - Virus STN
By far 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 a bit of southern rock influences thrown in! It sounds weird in theory, but is actually really interesting and executed extremely well.
5. Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini
One of the original 90s Norwegian bands, Enslaved are getting increasingly progressive as they go along, and have, in my opinion, been getting better and better with each subsequent album.
6. Agalloch - Pale Folklore
American atmospheric black, with many folk and gothic influences. Great album.
7. Summoning - Lost Tales
Austrian, LOTR-themed atmospheric black metal. At times heavily keyboard-driven, to the point of sounding more like extreme ambient music than actual black metal.
8. Kawir - Isotheos
Probably one of the more orthodox releases I've put on here, but Kawir still aren't the average BM band. Lyrics in classic Greek all about Greek mythology, female vocals, awesome harmonic chants, and a bit of flute and acoustic guitar.
9. Melechesh - Emissaries
Atmospheric/Oriental black metal. Israeli BM band with lyrics about ancient Mesopotamia. They're kinda like a black metal version of Nile, albeit more groovy and less technical.
10. Wolves In The Throne Room - Two Hunters
Call it "tree hugger black metal" if you want. Atmospheric black from Washington, highly pantheistic lyrics. Occasional nature sounds, like birds chirping and running rivers thrown in. Female vocals too.
11. Urfaust - Verräterischer, Nichtswürdiger Geist
Dutch ambient black metal, with an awesome dark orchestral vibe going on. Lyrics in German.
12. 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.
13. Nachtmystium - Assassins: Black Meddle, Part 1
American psychedelic black metal (on this release and the follow-up, Addicts). Album title is a direct reference to Pink Floyd's Meddle album.
14. Oranssi Pazuzu - Kosmonument
Finnish psychedelic black metal. By far one of the strangest bands I have ever heard. Amazing atmosphere, feels like falling into a black hole.
15. Candy Cane - Jaula
Another Finnish psychedelic black metal band. Kinda like Oranssi Pazuzu (who they actually did a split with), but a bit weirder and more spontaneous at points
16. 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.
17. Alkerdeel - Morinde
Belgian blackened sludge. Heavy shit.
18. Leviathan - Massive Conspiracy Against All Life
One man American ambient black metal from the vision of Wrest (Nachtmystium, Lurker Of Chalice). Depressive, aggressive, haunting.
19. Lurker Of Chalice - Lurker Of Chalice
Side project of Leviathan main man Wrest. Ambient black metal. Eerie and atmospheric, not as heavy and raw as Leviathan, but just as good from the different direction.
20. Peste Noire - La Sanie Des Siècles - Panégyrique De La Dégénérescence
French atmospheric black metal, at times surprisingly technical in the guitar work.
21. Nagelfar - Srontgorrth
The crown jewel of German black metal? Five massive tracks of keyboard-driven, eerie atmospheric black metal, with a highly folky (somewhat viking) sound thrown in. Great bass tone as well.
22. Hail Spirit Noir - Pneuma
Is it psychedelic? Is it progressive? Is it black metal? Is it all, is it none? This crazy Greek band has a sound like no other. Think 70s Hawkwind + black metal, and that's something close to the noise these guys generate. Yeah, it's that insane. "Into the Gates of Time" says it all.
23. The Great Old Ones - Al Azif
More good French atmospheric black metal. The fact that these guys are Lovecraft-themed pretty much automatically makes them good.
24. Negură Bunget - Om
The magnum opus of Romanian black metal, no exaggerations. The folk elements are simply amazing and will blow your mind.
25. Elysian Blaze - Blood Geometry
Atmospheric black/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.
26. Wormlust - The Feral Wisdom
One man Icelandic psychedelic black metal.
27. Atriarch - Ritual Of Passing
Blackened doom from the U.S. These guys are unique in the fact that they really lean more towards the doom side of the equation, this album being much more so an extreme doom release than anything else.
28. The Flight Of Sleipnir - Essence Of Nine
Blackened folk 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.
29. 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 composition techniques from Negura.
30. 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. This is definitely one of those "you have to hear it to understand it" type of albums.
31. Klabautamann - Merkur
More great psychedelic black metal. From Germany.
32. Cloak Of Altering - Ancient Paths Through Timeless Voids
The Dutch one man project of mastermind Mories, also of Gnaw Their Tongues fame. Very distinct avante-garde approach, another "you have to hear it to get it" type of release.
33. 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.
34. Nocte Obducta - Umbriel (Das Schweigen Zwischen Den Sternen)
These guys started out as a rawer form of black metal, but this latest release is far more psychedelic and atmospheric, and is actually more ambient than BM, but a fantastic band/album regardless.
35. 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 one 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.
36. 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, eerie stuff, this is the album for you.
37. Progenie Terrestre Pura - U​.​M​.​A.
Italian ambient black metal, with a strong sci fi theme. Awesome stuff.
38. 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. The debut, Noisense, contains a lot fewer black metal elements but is also a fantastic release.
39. 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.
40. Murmur - Murmur
Almost a sort of "technical black metal," if you want to call it that. Very progressive, with some great drumming that's almost jazz like at points. Also contains a cover of the second part of King Crimson's "Lark's Tongues In Aspic" as the final track. What gets more epic than that?
41. Mörkö - Itsensänimeävä
Finnish blackened doom, strikes a pretty great blend between the two. At times harsh and in your face, and at others really groovy, rhythmic, and psychedelic, with an excellent bass tone that's fully audible throughout.
42. 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.
43. 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.



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 )

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