Black Metal Essentials

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Black Metal Essentials

Black metal derives its name and sound from the noisy extremity and satanic posturing of Venom’s 1982 milestone LP Black Metal. Fellow pioneers included Swedish band Bathory, Danish corpse-paint enthusiasts Mercyful Fate, and Swiss riff-blasters Celtic Frost, but the genre reached its headline-grabbing zenith in Norway in the early ’90s. Led by second-wave trailblazers Mayhem, bands such as Darkthrone, Emperor, and Immortal crystallized the form into a global phenomenon via blistering tremolo riffs, screeching vocals, the aforementioned corpse-paint makeup, and a predilection for anti-religious themes. This harrowing new sound soon spread across Europe like wildfire, eventually inspiring musicians in South America, the U.S., and Japan to follow suit. In the 21st century, bands such as Wolves in the Throne Room, Blut aus Nord, and Watain continue to push the genre forward.