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Old 03-07-2010, 04:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What is.....Black Metal


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Black Metal



What is it?

Black metal is a subgenre of heavy metal. It consists of fast tempos, blast beat drumming (basically, very fast drumming), unconventional song structure, some shrieked vocals, and highly distorted guitars that are played with tremolo picking (double picking).

There were two waves of black metal bands. Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer and Celtic Frost were a part of the first wave. The 90's brought forth the second wave with bands like Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone, Immortal and Emperor.

A lot of people get a certain image of black metal, largely due to old school black metal. Black metal originated in the '80s. The lyrics were satanic, anti-Christian and a large number of BMs band wore the signature black and white make up. The times have changed a bit for black metal so I will run down some myths and truths about black metal so people can get a better understanding of the genre.



The myth: Black metal is a bunch of people wearing corpsepaint, screaming/growling/screeching about Satan. All of their fans are gothic/weirdos and worship the devil.


The truth: This is just another stereotype by people who don't actually know anything about the genre.


Myth #1 - They all wear corpsepaint.

Yes, many black metal bands do wear corpsepaint. It is basically the general 'look' of a black metal band and a signature of the genre. Fact is, not every black metal band throws on ridiculous scary clown make-up.

Example #1 - Hate Forest



Example #2 - Burzum



Example #3 - Emperor



Just three of the many BM bands that do not run to their local Halloween store and purchase black and white make-up. Pretty normal looking guys. No crazy look to them.


Myth #2 - Black metal is all growls/screams/screeches.

This may surprise you but, no, this is not what all black metal consists of. A wide selection of black metal is just music. Some are mostly music with very minimal vocals.

Example #1 - Drudkh




Example #2 - Astrofaes




Example #3 - Burzum





Myth #3 - They all sing about Satan.

Besides the corpsepaint, this is probably one of the biggest assumptions about black metal. Fact is, not all black metal bands pen songs about Satan/Satanic themes.

Example #1 - Drudkh

Their lyrics are about Slavic mythology, seasons and poetry.

Example #2 - Blood of Kingu

Their lyrics are about Sumerian/Ancient Egyptian and Indo-European mythology and history.

Example #3 - Astrofaes

Their lyrics are about Slavonic pride and folklore.

Though many bands focus on religious themes, not all of them are about Satan. Not every band worships the devil.


Myth #4 - All of their fans are gothic/weirdos who worship the devil.



Not to do any shameless self promotion but I think I look pretty normal for a black metal fan. I am sure there are other people here who like black metal and look like normal human beings. I don't believe in Satan, either.


This is by no means meant to shove black metal down your throat and make you like it. This is just to educate you on black metal and seperate fact from fiction. A lot of people don't give the genre a chance because of the very assumptions brought forth in this thread. It scares people away when there is plenty of BM music that is extremely enjoyable and does not fit the stereotype of the genre. Hopefully, this will open some eyes and people will take a few moments to listen to some of it and appreciate it now for it isn't what they thought it would be.

I understand that the harsher vocals aren't everyone's thing but bands like Burzum really do use more music than vocals so that would perhaps be a pretty good start for people who are interested in trying it out. You can even find a few gems on black metal albums that aren't even black metal songs. The song Smell of Rain by Drudkh was used to close out one of their albums.

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Old 03-07-2010, 05:03 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This is an interesting (well written too BTW) thread in the sense that I hate genres but I think it's cool that you know this genre as well as you do. I also agree that biases are unfair. The thing I can bring to this is that we all want to consider ourselves open minded but I don't think there's one person in this forum, including me, that doesn't ever skip a band based on genre or perception of genre at some point. I know that you listen to a lot of variety of music BTW as I think I do but I just think it's unavoidable.

One genre title I hate is Emo but I think it's a great example. They are considered whiny right off the bat and the band that even looks like they fit the genre are usually dead in the water before a single note is heard. I just think that's an example that most people attack because of it's core audience (teenys) and the culture. For me, I get the same feeling out of a lot of those bands that are unfairly ripped into as I do The Smashing Pumpkins, Tori Amos, etc. and couldn't care less if a thirteen year old is relating to them as well!

For me, I have biases against Classical, certain Metal genres, Jazz and Blues, even if I have exceptions to the rule I can't deny the biases are there! I try my best especially now that all this is right in front of me in the forum to make a dent in any biases and randomly try something new. I guess in short, I see your frustration but I think we all relate. I have so many threads I know might get a sympathy comment at best but I keep at it because what's important is I like it and know what it's saying!
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Totally agreed, Soot! I am way more lenient when it comes to music these days but there was a time where I had the same thoughts about other genres, including black metal, in which I let the stereotypes control whether or not I listened to the music. I then stumbled upon Burzum and some Ukrainian black metal, in particular, which showed me that it isn't all a bunch of creeps in make-up and some of the music was some great instrumental tunes.

You bring up a good point about emo. I think one of the biggest turn offs for people (besides the content of the music, ie. lyrics and vocals) are the fans. There is a general fanbase that sort of makes it crap for the other fans who don't fit into that group so the rest of us get this idea that the genre has fans made up of a certain group of people and that turns a lot if us away from it.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Wow, so much Black Metal on a classic rock forum! My mouth is watering, it's a dream come true... <3
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Old 06-16-2010, 03:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Silencer::::::::

But some people think silencer is depressive black metal ........who care...




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Old 11-13-2011, 02:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: What is.....Black Metal

Originally Posted by Soot and Stars View Post
This is an interesting (well written too BTW) thread in the sense that I hate genres but I think it's cool that you know this genre as well as you do. I also agree that biases are unfair. The thing I can bring to this is that we all want to consider ourselves open minded but I don't think there's one person in this forum, including me, that doesn't ever skip a band based on genre or perception of genre at some point. I know that you listen to a lot of variety of music BTW as I think I do but I just think it's unavoidable.

One genre title I hate is Emo but I think it's a great example. They are considered whiny right off the bat and the band that even looks like they fit the genre are usually dead in the water before a single note is heard. I just think that's an example that most people attack because of it's core audience (teenys) and the culture. For me, I get the same feeling out of a lot of those bands that are unfairly ripped into as I do The Smashing Pumpkins, Tori Amos, etc. and couldn't care less if a thirteen year old is relating to them as well!

For me, I have biases against Classical, certain Metal genres, Jazz and Blues, even if I have exceptions to the rule I can't deny the biases are there! I try my best especially now that all this is right in front of me in the forum to make a dent in any biases and randomly try something new. I guess in short, I see your frustration but I think we all relate. I have so many threads I know might get a sympathy comment at best but I keep at it because what's important is I like it and know what it's saying!
I know this was a post from ages ago but I felt like I should say anyway that I generally agree with not liking so many sub genre names, but for genres overall I think there needs to be genres for different metal, given there are such differences between the various metal types, same goes for rock too. I am not a fan of the nitpicky genres like mall core, death core, metal core, all that bullshit sub genres inside sub genres nitpicky crap.
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Old 09-18-2016, 02:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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As long as this is stickied, it can't be considered thread-necro to reply.
I can't believe that Samael isn't mentioned here and doesn't have an official thread. They are famous for their classic music samples like their masterpiece album "Ceremony of Opposites" which sampled Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition".

Here's one of the most famous songs:
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