History of Black Metal – Black Metal History – Metalhead Community

In its purest form, black metal is briefly made of light screaming vocals and heavily distorted guitars and fast drumming. Also, it is known for really fast trem picking guitars and fast drums playing blast beats. That song structure is often used to describe black metal, but we can’t say every band uses its most refined form. Back in time, Black metal originated from death metal, changing its dark growling vocals to light screaming vocals. Some people who started the black metal genre also claimed that death metal was sellouts that just wanted to play music and have fun, while black metal was supposed to be a lifestyle, not just a genre. Early black metal bands like Venom or Bathory started out with a thrash metal sound with normal singing but transformed it into more screaming/distorted singing. The whole term “Black metal” came from Venom’s album and started evolving the genre.

History of Black Metal - Quorthon Ace Thomas Forsberg


History of Black Metal – Black Metal History – Metalhead Community

The early black metal bands from the 80s never made the genre big, but they inspired the next “wave” of black metal, the Norwegian bands. The first Norwegian black metal band was Mayhem, who released their first EP in 1987; it was called “Deathcrush.” The album never became big but was known in the small black metal community in Norway. Some years later, the community had grown with the new black metal bands, and black metal became an accepted metal subgenre. The genre first started with bands like Immortal, Darkthrone, Burzum, and Mayhem. During 1992 to 1996, some of the bands became really dedicated to Black metal’s satanic theme, while some got more interested in North mythology. Gorgoroth once stated that the whole point of the band was to spread satanism. Things started to escalate, and fans began to take the thought of spreading hatred, sorrow, and satanic behavior to the next level by committing arsons all over the country.

Black Metal History - Mayhem Band - Deathcrush - 1987

History of Black Metal – Black Metal History – Metalhead Community

An example of the extreme behavior of these bands includes the incident of the band Mayhem. In 1991, the vocalist of Mayhem, Per Yngve Ohlin, was found dead. He committed suicide and was found with wrists and throat slit open with a wound in the head from a shotgun. Mayhem guitarist Euronymous found him in his room, but instead of calling the police, the guitarist went to the local shop to buy disposable cameras and took some photos of his dead bandmate. Later, a drawn version of that photo was used in one of their album covers. Some other important things that happened were the church burnings that made the black metal bands from Norway famous. The media gave it a lot of attention, and Varg Vikernes gave an interview where he stated that he and other community members had burned down the churches and killed a homosexual. (The homosexual was murdered by former Emperor drummer Bård “Faust”). He was interviewed anonymously, but the newspaper gave his identity to the police so they could arrest him. While the police were researching the case, he got in a fight with Mayhem guitarist Euronymous; it ended with him killing Euronymous. His last black metal album was released in 1996 and is one of the most experimental albums in Black metal. The album was named “Filosofen,” but it is more known for its german name “Filosofem.” He used a helicopter headset to record vocals, to get the signature guitar sound, he plugged a fuzz pedal into some speakers. After Jail, he moved over to a more “calm” music style with singing and lots of synths.

History-of-Black-Metal---Per Yngve Ohlin and his Brother - 1985


History of Black Metal – Black Metal History – Metalhead Community

In 1994 Mayhem released their first full album called “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas.” This album is probably one of the most known albums in the genre and is really important for many of the Black metal fans. When they recorded the album, they didn’t have a vocalist or a bassist, so they hired Varg Vikernes to play bass. They also hired an Ungarian vocalist called Attila, who is now the actual vocalist for the band while Vikernes never became one. After Euronymous died and Varg Vikernes was prisoned, the Black metal community became calmer. Bands like Satyricon and Dimmu Borgir started to experiment with other ways to make Black metal. Dimmu Borgir moved to symphonic direction while Satyricon began to produce music with better sound quality and more heavy riffs.

Black Metal History - Gaahl


History of Black Metal – Black Metal History – Metalhead Community

In 2007 Gorgoroth had a fight about the band name’s ownership because Vocalist Gaahl and bassist King Ov hell tried to throw out guitarist and former of the band, Infernus. The feud ended with Infernus taking it to the court where it was decided that he was the owner of the name Gorgoroth and could keep it. Gaahl and King Ov Hell started God Seed and released an album called “I begin” before they split up. Gaahl is the vocalist in a new band called “Gaahl’s Wyrd” that formed in 2019 and released an album called “Ghost invited.” Bands like Gorgoroth, Satyricon, Dimmu Borgir, Mayhem, Emperor, Enslaved, Immortal, and many more are still releasing music and touring. When a genre gets big, someone will always want to make the same music, but a little different from the original. Some of them develop naturally like Dimmu Borgir, who started as a regular Norwegian Black metal band and evolved into one of the first symphonic black metal bands together with Emperor. Or you can take Burzum’s album “Filosofen,” for Vikernes; it was just an experimental album. But this album was the first example that inspired those who created atmospheric black metal. One of the pioneers of Blackened Death metal was a band called Behemoth. They started out covering old Black metal classics from Norway and ended up combining satanic black metal with death metal.



History of Black Metal – Black Metal History – Metalhead Community

There are many characteristic things about Black metal fans, while there are many differences. We are all human, and no one is born the same way. Black Metal Community grew rapidly. It has its own way of connecting people with its feeling, vibe, mood, atmosphere. It is still a big misery how many people love old-school Norwegian black metal regardless of its sound quality. They say the bad sound quality helps get to the atmosphere for many fans, and it is just how it is. Norwegian Black Metal only offered rawness and reality. It sounded like a live performance most of the time, and I think that is why it gives the fans the actual mood. The music becomes a part of you. Also, many Black metal bands were into having small, respected solid fanbase. And this is one of the characteristics that made Black Metal and their community so special. They never cared about growing at all. It was all about creating an atmosphere for themselves and some special people.


History of Black Metal – Black Metal History – Metalhead Community

Black metal is a dark genre; it has a dark history, dark lyrics, and dark music. Some people feel the atmosphere when they hear the music can remind of cold winter and dark woods. That is also why the bands from Norway are so popular. They know how a dark, lonely, cold forest feels like. And with that knowledge, they can take the fans on a trip to the cold and dark woods.

The Black metal community has changed over the years and has gone from being a bunch of angry and dangerous people to be for people from different nations and skin color. The community of today is much more open-minded. When Black metal was a new and small genre, the fans were not just into the music, but also to the movement. They were a part of something significant, who were doing things like church burnings. They were rebellious.

As of today, still, many people respect and listen to black metal for some special reasons. I believe Black Metal is probably the most solid community in the music world. However, it is nowhere about its close-minded habits such as the church burnings, nationalism, racism, murders, and violence. It is more about the feeling of the cold and anger in the music and enjoying those feelings.

Written by Ådne Riis-Johansen

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