Other Black Metal Recommendations

Article by David Rosales.

The following is a short list of black metal releases (with a commentary on each) that would general fall off the edge of the usual stylistic lines that Death Metal Underground follows when looking at genre releases. These are all exceptional and form part of what could, in hindsight, be described as the lone wolves of an established and matured black metal genre — generally unnoticed or passed by without receiving substantial attention among the waves of excess of the 21st century; treasures hidden in plain sight for those with a developed sense beyond mere form.

Nekrokrist SS / Infamous – split (2016)

An interesting observation is that Infamous has a very interesting characteristic of slightly moulding their music character to somewhat align itself with the style and sound of whichever band they share a split with. This is not to say that Infamous copies a different style, because the Italian behind this project has already found a strong and mature voice of his own. Rather, the subtleties of the music lean in this or that direction.

Sharing a split with a band that appears to have a great influence over Infamous seems to have pushed the songs on this split to some of the most expressive since Of Solitude and Silence and the demos (now released in a great compilation titled From the Hermit’s Paths). The final track, ‘Among These Cold Walls’, is an amazing, extended piece that hearkens back to the earliest, varied yet focused style of the demos.

Nekrokrist SS, on their side of the record, deliver very strong content consistent with their style and overall quality. Knowing their work in their two full-length albums, one could say that, like Infamous, they are showing their most expressive and potent performances so far. This may be due to a mutual inspiration, or it may simply be the effect on this listener of these two great and compatible projects. Whatever the case, I would recommend this as possibly the single best release of raw black metal music written in 2016 (that is, without counting re-releases or compilations from the past).

Riddle of Meander – End of All Life and Creation (2006)

Hailing from Greece and playing a standard-technique melodic and raw-sounding black metal, Riddle of Meander show us an established and mature style in their debut album. This mostly consists of streams of mid-length, tremolo-picked melodies over a distinguishable bass line accompanying in monophonic fashion and suitable, sensible drums. The voice does not intrude or detract, and fuses into the tone and quality of the rest. This may not be the ultimate classic of classics that leads the way to a new usage of the black metal language, but it is one of those releases that exemplifies that excellence is possible without re-inventing the wheel.

End of All Life and Creation strikes a balance between atmospheric crudeness and highly-intelligible complexity. Furthermore, and most importantly, it consistently and effectively evokes a blanketed yet nonetheless discernible sinister aura of an evil that broods and develops through the centuries rather than rush out for a bloodbath.

S.V.E.S.T. – Veritas Diaboli Manet in Aeternum (2007)

This release was likely overlooked for its partnership with the charlatanes par excellence of Deathspell Omega. However, the degree of separation in terms of musical quality is abysmal. S.V.E.S.T.‘s music here is convoluted for sure, but the musical motif-links are present, despite being stretched. The different sections do not work through pure shock, but rather in a kind of extension and condensation of intensity, a method that was seen in a different form in Urfaust. This is allegoric chaos, with a sure musical foundation.

This is an album that deserves full attention and rewards the listener. The aura is not the of the calm meditative type that we would see in Darkthrone or Burzum, but of energetic turmoil creating shapes and rupturing through space. In all of this, S.V.E.S.T. remains highly consistent in style. What we are shown here is an album that could potentially be held along with Godless Arrogance as the best black metal works of the new century. They both represent a next step along the evolution, a new breed of the ideals channeled into purest form from two different perspectives.

A parallel can be drawn with the dizzying approach of Abigor in Channeling the Quintessence of Satan. But where Abigor is applying an incredibly dense, focused, baroque and percussive black metal in an almost riff-salad manner, S.V.E.S.T. is orchestrating something closer to a black metal Close to the Edge, without the inferior appendices that dragged Yes‘ symphony down. In Veritas Diaboli Manet in Aeternum one finds a veritable Satanic Black Metal Symphony.

I would recommend S.V.E.S.T.’s 2007 as transcendental form, representing the raw and bloodthirsty violence of the amoral material, that feeling of empty sinking in your gut coming from deep-seated fear of an inevitable and terrible consequence. This is a music that, on the plane of the transcendent, brings into being the purely sensual in its full aspect beyond what we know as ‘superficial’.

Abyssum – Poizon of god (2008)

As has been previously exposed before, Abyssum‘s music is of a very elusive kind, and one which hides great treasures among structures and patterns that seem simple or inconsequential at first. Their value rather lies in their being taken in throughout long stretches. And while the main compositions of Poizon of god were later refined and greatly enriched for 2014’s Cum Foeda Sanie Ex Ore both in arrangement and in production, the whole of this 2008 release is possessed of an undeniable potency when considered as a holistic and unitary experience. That is, pieces should not be singled out, nor should riffs and sections be considered on their own. The art of Ebvleb works thus, always on an immense and occult layer that is tangibly present but that becomes apparent only when the enormous scale of the stretches between relations and juxtapositions of emotions and afterthoughts comes within the grasp of each singular listener.

When one learns to listen to Poizon of god, the span and depth of that abyss is truly felt as one’s inner being expands and the sky above one’s perception of the open space to the stars is not only known abstractly but felt, making limb and heart tremble. This is the transcendental terror that Abyssum transmits; sinking beyond the flat nekrosound and taking in the collection weightless moments that make up its units as they congeal like nebulae into vast and unimaginable star systems is the only way of gaining a vision of this mystery. What is found here is pure depth, and at the most obvious level, a myst too thin to grasp. This is the key to the mystery of Abyssum’s music, and no one can explain it or afford it by proxy for the reader. In this way, Abyssum’s music is esoteric and transcendentally mysterious through and through.

Thy Call is only the beginning, and perhaps the most obvious as it reflects the spiritual experience of Central American pine tree forests over the mountains. Poizon of god is a slow congealment of the dust of stars, an awareness of the depth and antiquity of the universe, and an unexplainable feeling of connection with it that is ecstatic.

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49 thoughts on “Other Black Metal Recommendations”

  1. Marc Defranco says:

    Abyssum is cool, too bad it’s difficult to obtain a CD now

    1. fenrir says:

      Anything other than Thy Call, which is definitely rare, is quite underground.
      I think it is all self-produced by the main guy.
      Labels are mostly whorehouses, so I can understand that.
      But I heard he is looking for a decent label that can publish some of his recent stuff.

      1. Marc Defranco says:

        Hmm I see hopefully he finds a good label soon

        1. Many of these labels are pay to play or only release rehash bands.

          1. Marc Defranco says:

            This is true, there’s really an over abundance

  2. S.C. says:

    Having heard Urfaust, and never this, what is better about this release? Or is not better, but thoughts on Urfaust do not bear repeating since it was already reviewed here?

    Also, this isn’t really an expansion on DMU’s recommendations since more than half these bands have already been recommended here.

    1. David Rosales says:

      Each S.V.E.S.T. release is very different from each other, without leaving behind a mentality and general style.
      Technically, the 2007 is by far the most refined; that is from a composition standpoint.
      That said, the 2007 is the whole package, it is full of expression, but I know how technicality and density can get in the way for a lot of people since it takes even more time to digest.
      I myself am very partial to their demo Scarification of Soul.

      1. S.C. says:

        Hmmm I will have to listen to these other releases. Urfaust was rather psychotic, and quite taxing to listen to, in the best possible sense. But it does require a bit of mental preparation to be ready to submerge oneself and really reap its benefits.

        A cool sidenote: Urfaust just got a vinyl repressing, so for those interested, one can obtain that release on wax for a decent price.

  3. Vigilance says:

    Good call on SVESTs side of that split. It floored me a bit when I first heard it because I wasn’t expecting musicality out of that style.

  4. Rainer Weikusat says:

    Riddle of Meander also has a newer album. Seems heavily Burzum-influenced and less “thoughts wandering on a rainy day”-style, looks interesting so far.

  5. GGALLIN1776 says:

    Why soviet with glorious mosin nagant rifle & not trve kvlt wehrmacht heer mit mauser?

    Are you caving to leftist demands?

    1. David Rosales says:

      I’m still trying to figure out the reference myself, since none of these bands are “flowing black metal”.

      1. Rainer Weikusat says:

        none of these bands are “flowing black metal”.

        As usual for (peiorative) terms used around here, the definition is a bit unclear but if (as the original article on that suggests) flowing black metal is supposed to refer to music primarily built on ebb-and-flow melody lines ‘statically’ hovering in the air because they’re ultimatively circular/ recursive, IOW, loop back into themselves, intended to convey a continuous feeling instead of a sense of movement/ development from some starting to some ending point (or from a crisis to some resolution), then, most of what I listened to from Nekrokrist SS yesterday should certainly qualify.

  6. Egledhron says:

    I’d like to see your take on bands like Panphage and Wulkanaz.

      1. S.C. says:

        That’s just Panphage, which is significantly less quality than Wulkanaz. Anytime Wulkanaz is mentioned, no one has anything to say here. Only diversion tactics.

        1. Rainer Weikusat says:

          Judging from 13 minutes of listening to it while waiting for JBoss to to restart multiple times, this [Wulkanaz] has a likeable weirdness to it but it’s really rather non-American folk rock with ‘black metal’-styled vocals and drumming than anything-metal. I bet most ‘folk’ folkies (as opposed to ‘NSBM folkies’) would intuitively like that.

          1. S.C. says:

            There’s strong folkishness about it, but particularly in his second record he gets pretty thrashy/punk inspired. It’s really black/punk. One of the riffs remind me of early misfits quite a bit.

          2. S.C. says:

            I admittedly am a so called “folky” (meaning I appreciate folk music, I guess?). But to disregard Wulkanaz as a mere novelty, purely because it harps on its musical ancestry would be a gross trivialization and misrepresentation. It is modern too and stands on its own, in a its modern context. You may not like it for what it is, but what is, is not just this or that. It is itself. It is not a rehash of recycled ideas. Lugubrum are similarly divisive in their effect (though completely different in sound), yet their critics can’t even touch them. They don’t know how to address their issues with the music, because truly they are unapologetically original and sincere, writing mold breaking songs, with total disregard for what any other band is doing or has done. The only thing critics can say is, “I don’t like it”. Another similar band (again, in effect, not sound) would be Woods of Infinity, topped off with lyrics that make even the grimmest kvlties cringe with discomfort. These bands are islands; either you can reach them or you can’t, but they’re there with absolute ambivalence towards the mainland.

            1. Marc Defranco says:

              Nice mention of Lugubrum, I categorize them as pure oddness like Wulkanaz (and related projects) along with the Swedish ambient music that seems to be related to Wulkanaz and related art.

              1. S.C. says:

                Lugubrum is a sorely overlooked/ misunderstood band, and one of the few that has actually become greater with age. Have you heard De Herval yet? They just keep getting better, as far as I’m concerned.

                1. Marc Defranco says:

                  I actually haven’t, I’m more familiar with their older albums but I’ll give the new one a listen. I liked the last full lemgth

                  1. S.C. says:

                    I love their whole catalogue, but they only get better with each release. They also get further and further away from black metal while still, somehow, playing black metal. De Herval is their farthest reaching yet, but I think their most refined and complete work. I could not be more enthused for their next album.

          3. S.C. says:

            Also, what concerns you so much with it being this or that? You said you liked the music, no? What else could possibly matter? I do hate those who like to pretend genres don’t exist, but there is also a time to set such presuppositions aside and let the music rest upon its own merits, rather than judge it upon your presuppositions of what it’s trying (And subsequently failing, by your standards) to be. How else are new genres allowed to form (not to say that that is what Wulkanaz is doing).

            1. Rainer Weikusat says:

              I wrote it was »likeable«: That’s interesting stuff (call it »original« if that suits you better) and enthusiastically executed which suits the music very well and the idea to play folk rock based on Germanic traditions instead the much more common American black/ white hybrid is also quite cool, however folk rock it remains. And since the day an “antifa” guy told me that being ok with muslims doesn’t mean foreigners are welcome, that’s a subculture I’m determined to stay away from.

              The nice facade is of no use if the core is rotten.

              NB: I’m not entirely convinced that distinguishing between the +fa and the -fa is really necessary.

              1. S.C. says:

                And informs your opinion that the core is rotten? That you are unable to connect with it?

              2. S.C. says:

                I see now, so this is about genre purity for yourself? (It took me a bit to actually congeal your… unique… usage of the English language) with such precepts, is the music insincere to you?

        2. Marc Defranco says:

          I think the Panphage demos and splits are on the level of Wulkanaz, but the Wulkanaz full lengths are better than the Panphage full lengths

          1. Rainer Weikusat says:

            I think the Panphage demos and splits are on the level of Wulkanaz

            That’s a misapprehension.

            1. Marc Defranco says:

              Naw I think they’re well done like this song https://youtu.be/rJEHO1F_rLQ

              1. Rainer Weikusat says:

                I’m sorry but the idea to go through six minutes of this is quite horrible: Subtracting the usual hyberbole, I agree with Daniel Maarat’s opinion on this: This is the cheap plastic imitation from the cheap plastic imitation of hell.

                Someone recently released the debut of new Norwegian band,


                and while I consider that much less repellent, it’s already much to much »atmosphere« for me: This (and the other examples) is ultimatively music for people who find themselves safely at peace with the world and in the mood for going onto fun & distracting holiday trips. The tunnel of horror may – well – seem truly horrible but there’s a comfy, lit fireplace awaiting we can alway return to.

                1. Marc Defranco says:

                  Ok I get it you don’t like it, simple as that. Yes I’ve heard that album I think it’s a good one. I’m not sure what your issue with “atmosphere” is when many consider the 90s Norwegian bands to be ripe with it. I’d say the more “atmospheric” parts in Panphage come influenced from Arckanmum though and not those of Ulver or Burzum

                  1. Rainer Weikusat says:

                    Ok I get it you don’t like it, simple as that.

                    I »don’t like this« because of what it is: A ear-candy-overloaded mockery of both folk and black metal.
                    One could perhaps call this “blackened folk-gaze” and the “blackened” is already too much of a compliment.

                    As to the atmosphere: If there’s nothing but that, the result is by definition ambient non-music. It’s lacking the metal part. That’s more than idly circling dissonant noises and cawing voices. I can only try to show this by example:

                    [Riddle of Meander, Inner Alchemy Of War]

                    This may seem pretty similar to Gjendod, in particular, it’s also pretty “low key noise”, not something trying to impress a listener with sheer loudness. But whereas the music of the Norwegian band could also have been created by metal plates scraping against each other in the wind (and this is probably even intentional), there’s a sense of aliveness and intentional movement in the other.

                    1. Marc Defranco says:

                      If you can’t hear the speed metal riffs and the cycle that comes back around in the song that’s your problem. Just because something has ambient elements does not mean the prescence of metal is not there and I doubt the guy behind Panphage is concerned about passing your metal test, or pleasing particular fans. As far as ear candy goes I don’t understand what you mean by that. Simply because it is catchy? Because plenty metal bands are and I would even consider many of the old Norwegian bands to be catchy. You throw terms around like “blackend folk gaze” but I’m not sure you even know what that means. Filosofem relates more to that term than Panphage

                    2. Rainer Weikusat says:

                      Why does this message almost exclusively contain baseless speculations about me when I was writing about music?

                      As to the term I invented in the hope that someone would try to understand it: This music is gazing “in awe” at both black metal and folk. By doing a kitsch-copy of surface traits of both, it manages to be multiculturally fucked up instead of just being bad-this or bad-that, with the deficiencies of both parts presumably supposed to plaster over each other. One would hope that even hipsters could muster enough good taste to avoid this, despite it’s certainly “all checks” in the areas of fashionable obscurity, social harmlessness and determined cheesyness.

                      OTOH, funny stuff reportedly happens in Sweden :->

                2. S.C. says:

                  So are you in constant tribulation? Are you out throwing yourself into perpetual turmoil to quench the flames of your cozy fireplaces so you can remain in ever coldness? How did you attain your supposed high ground on this topic? Black metal is creative expression no matter how you scrutinize it. And creative expression is how expressionists process and cope with the world. Even if they have nothing else in the world, they have their expression. In other words, it, in and of itself, is your allegorical fireplace. Even though black metal is informed by discomfort and pain and sadness, it is a subconscious reprieve. It removes one from the center of it and allows their creation to take on their suffering, even if for a moment. Even if the artist is not attempting to alleviate the suffering, they are pursuing satisfaction. Otherwise they would just exist, inert, within their constant throes of perdition. If you want total hell make yourself deaf dumb and blind and exist as a conscious and feeling entity that is entirely unable to have an effect upon anything. Otherwise, we all have our fireplaces…

                  1. Rainer Weikusat says:

                    Grossly put: Life is nothing but struggle and the only reward is death. Further, most of the so-called intelligent beings on this planet either can’t think or don’t want to think unless they’re getting paid to and even then only if shouting at something and punching it really wouldn’t make it go away (to whatever detrimental effect to someone else, including themselves five minutes from now). These people do nothing but “obnoxiously take up a lot of space” and don’t really care for anything unless they can either eat it or have sex with it. They also delight in regarding their deficiencies as the universal yardstick everybody is to be measured against: Outside of work, something they grudgingly accept as necessary, life’s supposed to be a neverending gay costume ball, let’s please not be serious, that’s such a drag, and look at that idiot, isn’t he funny in not being funny like we? Let’s take a photo of that!

                    And that’s the rather more positive part. It omits all the senseless aggression triggered by “clearly a case of otherness!”, the constant mock fighting for impressing the unfairer sex (either of both), the desire to destroy things experienced as greater than oneself etc etc etc

                    That’s obviously a very subjective perspective. However, it’s also a perspective and neither the Panphage ‘really expensive plastic!’ nor the Wulkanaz ‘happy dark folk for happy dark people’ nor the Gjendod ‘atmospheric trip throught the lonely forests’ are a good match for it.

            2. S.C. says:

              A greater misapprehension is that you treat your opinions (on art no less!) as fact. But that seems to be the way around these parts

          2. S.C. says:

            I haven’t given the demos much of a listen, but I’d be willing. The full-lengths have certainly been disappointing.

        3. Marc Defranco says:

          If we are talking about stuff that seems to be ignored on this site then maybe many of the anicent records releases and related acts. Bands such as Bekëth Nexëhmü and Trolldom. Not saying the reviewers here will enjoy them but maybe they will

          1. S.C. says:

            Boy can I not stand those bands. But of course, if they do something for you then more power to you and what you listen to. This forum is littered with morons trying to impress each other with their tastes in music, or others pining for pathetic affirmation: “DMU what do you think of my dick size? Does it satisfy you?” You seem ambivalent, and that is an immense strength that is highly ignored.

            1. Marc Defranco says:

              I think some of their releases are good and some not so much. Sometimes the production sounds too sterile for me

              1. S.C. says:

                I just find these projects a bit too identity-less. Also, I am not terribly fond of recorded improvisations. I think the effect of quality improvisation can only truly be transmitted in a live setting. But that is my take.

                1. Marc Defranco says:

                  I can absolutely agree with the lack of identity. I think it’s mainly due to the main musician having too many projects. Some I like more like Trolldom and others feel too much like each other. Another related band is Hegeldom and then that members other band Grifteskymfning. I think those two bands are great especially the album Likpsalm

                  1. S.C. says:

                    I found grifteskymfning rather meandering and shallow. No real depths, just jaunty melody plodding about.

                    1. Marc Defranco says:

                      Hmm I see, to each their own. I think the riffs aren’t exactly shallow but they do meander around, I think that’s sort of the guy’s playing style

                  2. S.C. says:

                    I will listen to Trolldom

  7. I fired some of these guys up on the YOUTUBES and it’s nothing but racket.

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