History of Black Metal – Black Metal History – Metalhead Community

Music is like fashion, changing its form through slight changes in details. Like all the other genres, the heavy metal gave birth to some extreme sub-genres. Black metal is one of those sub-genres with an extreme combination of heavy guitar riffs, dark lyrics, fast tempos, shrieking vocals, and exaggerated drum beats. Heavy guitar chords, played with suitable picking of tremolo, along with unconventional structure of songs with an emphasis on vocals and atmosphere.



History of Black Metal – Black Metal History – Metalhead Community

The so-called journey of black metal supposedly started with the album of the same name from Venom back in 1982. The first wave of black metal included many of the thrash metal bands along with some death metal bands. Those bands were Hellhammer, Venom, Bathory, and Celtic Frost.

The songs they produced were somehow similar to thrash metal and failed at creating a new genre. But, they set a new example through the difference in lyrics and theme. With Christian theme and some of them having Satanic theme, the songs created some bad news back then.

History of Black Metal - Quorthon Ace Thomas Forsberg


History of Black Metal – Black Metal History – Metalhead Community

Quorthon, the vocalist of Bathory, replaced singing by adding a form of screeching along with heavily distorted drums and guitars with tremolo. The songs had a direct inclination to the church-going people. But, these songs could not secure a great position among the listeners as for its competitor, death metal.

Death metal had everything which black metal failed to provide. Deep and meaningful lyrics, growling vocals and faster tempos made death metal more popular pretty fast. It was 1980’s and black metal was almost fading away.



History of Black Metal – Black Metal History – Metalhead Community

Then, the second wave of black metal introduced the genre to the mass population. In the early ’90s, Norwegian black metal bands emerged and slowly gathered huge fan support. Bands like Immortal, Mayhem, Darkthrone, and Gorgoroth developed the basic composition and completely changed the way black metal songs are made. This evolution made the genre more viable and took it to the next level. These bands made the lyrics darker and changed the atmosphere.

During ’92 to ’96, these Norwegian black metal bands were taking the concept of satanic music to a different level. They were including satanic thoughts in almost all of their songs as if black metal only meant being satanic. 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.

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 by his fellow guitarist. 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, that photo was used in one of their album covers.

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


History of Black Metal – Black Metal History – Metalhead Community

Black metal was a dark underground genre for a long time and slowly began crawling out in the ’90s. It was slowly reaching out to the Scandinavian people and started influencing all of Europe. It wasn’t too late to reach the likes of Germany, France, and the UK.

Like death metal, the music label companies were looking sharply towards the development of black metal. But, fans loathed this part, when people started commercializing the art of black metal and filtered most of the good stuff out in order to make it worthy for the listeners all over the world. On the other hand, purist black metal bands were getting pissed off looking at the success rate of Emperor, Dimmu Borgir and other newer bands with labels. That lead to these purist artists getting out of the underground and signing deals with corporate giants.

Dimmu Borgir was the most successful black metal band commercially. While Emperor and Enslaved were walking towards progressive metal, Behemoth introduced something different from dabbing the material. Burzum was a famous project from Varg Vikernes which used the concept of minimalism through his series of black metal music, sometimes only instrumentals. Just being honest, these bands realized at a point that burning down churches and killing off rival band members deviate completely from the core of black metal.



History of Black Metal – Black Metal History – Metalhead Community

These bands expanded their sound quality, added better vocals and reduced the amount of hatred associated with the songs. This helped in making the genre more rich in nature and acceptable to more people. Black metal divided into some interesting sectors like Symphonic and melodic black metal, blackened and progressive black metal and even psychedelic sort of black metal. Bands like Deafheaven brought out the best of black metal by experimenting with the genre and its different sections.

It’s amazing to know there is a thing called “Unblack Metal” which takes the concept of anti-Christianity and completely reverts it.


History of Black Metal – Black Metal History – Metalhead Community

As the bands grew through the2000s, they divided themselves into many parts as representatives of black metal. Some bands deviated from the root and developed high-quality music with better vocals and guitar riffs. Some bands stayed onto the course and made lo-fi music that sounded like being made in the garage studio of 14-year old. All of these couldn’t stop the progressive nature of this genre.

Black metal went through another period of evolution through the 21st century. Bands like Immortal set a new path of black metal by deviating from the core style and creating a new and improved version of black metal. They changed the satanic lyrical composition and developed a new world that they called “Blashyrkh”. In the 2002 album of Agalloch, the band experimented with instruments to make the genre richer. They even mixed folk music with black metal to create a new vibe.

Deafheaven brought the best of black metal with its screeching and satanic wordplay to the mass fan base. With sparkling emotions and fantastic combination of instruments, Sunbather deserves the credit to create a more acceptable version of black metal. Now, the genre is running throughout the world with new and improved versions of it. Bands are experimenting with local music and comparing it with the traditional black metal. They are promising to bring something that has never been listened to before.

History of Black Metal | Black Metal Band | Metalhead Community | Hellhammer, Venom, Bathory, and Celtic Frost. | Satanic theme | Quorthon, the vocal of Bathor | Norwegian black metal band | Immortal, Mayhem, Darkthrone, and Gorgoroth | In 1991, the vocalist of Mayhem, Per Yngve Ohlin was found dead | Emperor, Dimmu Borgir  | Emperor and Enslaved | Behemoth | Burzum | Varg Vikernes | Blashyrkh | Black Metal History | Burzum Band | Nergal of Behemoth | Scandinavian Black Metal Bands | Norwegian Black Metal Bands | Danish Black Metal Bands | American Black Metal | English Black Metal | Black Metal Musicians and Artists | Black Metal Music Magazine | Metalhead Community Magazine