Casual listeners might be unaware of the sheer amount and variety of black metal from Finland, because nowadays it happens to have the greatest ratio of bands or projects to population. This doesn't mean quality, but still there are many bands to hear out. I'll refrain from a longer study because I'm doing one on newer Finnish death metal (already lots of discussion on older Finnish death metal is provided), but will mention some of the key elements.
The absolute essentials
to hear are of course Beherit
and Impaled Nazarene
, whose unique BM recipe was in the mix of grindcore, Sarcofago and lots of booze. Belial's mini-album "Wisdom of Darkness" was amazing, but the first full-length "Never Again" already will divide people, as it has great musical ideas but it lost atmosphere. Impaled Nazarene remained a quality band for at least five full-length albums and still remains maybe the only band who can play tongue-in-cheek crustcore influenced black metal without turning into a parodic mess. Check also early Barathrum if you like Necromantia and Countess; it's a doom metal -like groovy conjuration of warm evil. Early Unholy
was more powerful, psychedelic doomdeath with black metal influences. I'm surprised how rarely their two first albums are mentioned.
Beherit and Archgoat (absolutely marginal in its time but nowadays falsely referred to as "classics") were major influences for the "war metal" revival in the late 90's which spawned a truckload of interchangeable bands, so if you want to hear more of that style you can always check whatever they are talking about at the Nuclear War Now forum right now. For Finnish examples of "war metal", see Annihilatus
, Uncreation's Dawn
(now Uncelestial) and White Wolves Kommando (a band probably not heard by more than three people). When the Norway mania took hold in '93-'94 it didn't stick well with the Finnish nature, somehow. The norsecore bands from Finland and countless imitators of Darkthrone and Emperor were mostly clumsy. HessianObscura is thinking exactly of that kind of bands. The best of the bunch were Thromdarr
(with ties to Skepticism), Vornat
(rare but downloadable) and Wanderer
(re-released a while ago), each one of whom preferred the softer implications of natural landscape, unfolding melodies and somewhat heavy metal lead guitars much before Wolves in the Throne Room etc. existed.
Despite Satanic Warmaster's often maligned reputation, their debut "Strength and Honour"
(heavily influenced by Absurd) was actually a blast of fresh air to the norsecore stagnation and produced a minor explosion of garage black metal "kvlts", for good and bad - Goatmoon
are two young and healthy examples of these bands who worship the "true" sound and image. For more experimental horizons, there's Charnel Winds
, Dead Reptile Shrine
, Ride For Revenge
and others who, depending on your views, are either hipster fakes or a return to the original black metal which is about concept and ideology, not pre-formatted sound. I rate them highly and discussed a couple of them in detail here