My march through Decibel Magazine’s Top 100 Black Metal Albums of All Time continues this week. This week I made it from 71 – 38. Some of my favorite bands and some of my favorite albums pop up in this chunk and it prompts me to wonder how Decibel decided the positions on the list. The fun thing about this list aside from a constant stream of black metal is discovering bands and albums I haven’t heard. There was some great finds in this weeks chunk of the list. Next week the big guns start cropping up.
71. Blut Aus Nord – Ultima Thulee
Blut Aus Nord is one of those bands I think is amazing, but I don’t listen to all that much. It’s such an undertaking to get into their albums and they don’t make music for casual listening. It was great revisiting this album as it’s pretty incredible. They pop up again later on the list. Looking forward to that.
70. Sigh – Scorn Defeat
It was cool finally listening to early Sigh stuff. I’m a big fan of their 2000’s work where they got way out there musically. Sigh is a sound to be heard. I can’t keep a bead on these guys, they are all over the place. This album is awesome. Japanese Avant-Gard black metal!
69. Diabolical Masquerade – Ravendusk in My Heart
I listened to their Nightwork album for my Swedish music week and I have to say I prefer that one to Ravendusk. Not to say I didn’t enjoy this one. It’s the cheesy side of black metal I enjoy. All the keyboards and all the catchphrases. How black metal does the title alone sound. Fun black metal album.
68. Gorgoroth – Incipit Satan
This was one of the first black metal albums I owned as well as their Under the Sign of Hell (which I may think deserves this spot a little more) even before I was really into metal so it sort of holds a special place for me. I love this album and maybe I can’t see past the nostalgia but I would definitely rank it higher. You can’t get much more devoted to satan than Gorgororth and their singer at the time Gaahl.
67. Watain – Casus Luciferi
Only 67?! And they apear again but still not high enough if you ask me. The first four Watain albums could all fit on this list in higher positions. Casus Luciferi and Sworn to the Dark are both just as good as each other if you ask me.
66. Bethlehem – Dark Metal
I wasn’t at all familiar with Bethlehem before now. Maybe it’s because this is the first time listening to this but I hear a doom band. There are moments of blackness here and there but I would classify them more as a doom band with black influence then a blackened doom band.
65. Xasthur – Telepathic With the Deceased
I’m familiar with Xasthur but I hadn’t heard this album before. I can’t seem to get into the Xasthur stuff. Dude is so bleak, so depressed and so sorrowful. The songs tend to just all meld together for me and I found myself just spacing out for awhile and when I snapped back I was like, oh this is still going on. Maybe I just haven’t found the right album of his yet. I had a hard time getting through this one.
64. Samael – Blood Ritual
I like Samel but I think Decibel is taking some huge liberties with what they are considering black metal while leaving out some truly great artists. This album is good like a lot of old Samael stuff but again, black metal? I’m not entirely sure it is and yet it ranks in at 64 of the all time black metal albums (according to Decibel). Dark overtones in metal doesn’t automotically make something black metal.
63. Root – The Book
I love this album. This might even be in my top 10. Czech black metal at it’s weirdest and most ornate. The vocals are incredible. I can’t say enough about this album so I’ll just tell you it’s amazing.
62. Wolves in the Throne Room – Diadem of 12 Stars
One of my favorite bands and probably my favorite album of theirs next to Celestial Lineage. Decibel kind of pokes fun at the “Cascadian” black metal stuff but it spawned a TON of great and unique bands, Wolves being one of them. In fact I think Decibel neglected a lot of these bands based soley on if they thought they fit into this catagory. It’s a shame really because t Wolves may be one of the better examples, but there are a lot of bands that could fall into this catagory that are simply amazing.
61. Necromantia/Varathron – Black Arts Lead to Everlasting Sins
Another new album for me and the first split album on the list. I’m familiar with both bands and while Varathon gets another spot later, I’m kind of surprised Necromtia doesn’t. Cool, creepy and eerie black metal. Dig the weird jazz saxaphone solo on the Necromantia song Evil Prayers.
60. Taake – Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik
I’m a Taake fan but have never heard this album before. I think a case could be made for a couple other of his albums but I’m glad I got to hear this one finally. Taake is black metal for sure but he likes to throw stuff out at you from left field. On this album there is a weird cartoon “boing” sound repeated on one track and other albums he has added a banjo. It sounds weird in the context of black metal but he really makes it work. Great band. Maybe deserves a higher spot.
59. Dimmu Borgir – Enthroned Darkness Triumphant
It’s probably to be expected that Dimmu Borgir would show up on this list. They used to be freaking amazing! This album is great all the way through and starts to get overly “orchestral” but not super cheese ball like they are nowadays. For my money though I would have put Stormblast on the list as well. Maybe higher.
58. Blasmphemy – Fallen Angel of Doom…
Fast and furious Canadian black metal. This album was another fresh listen for me and I quite enjoyed it. 30 minutes long of just blasting and growling. If you like your black metal raw and chaotic, you could do a lot worse than this album.
57. Enslaved – Below the Lights
I love Enslaved and it doesn’t bother me they have gone from black metal to a more progressive sound. This album might be that transition point. It’s masterful in it’s execution and epic in it’s scope, all qualities that make Enslaved such an awesome band.
56. Abruptum – In Umbra Maliciae Ambulabo In Aeternum In Triumpho Tenebraum
Not sure about this one. Was just a lot of wailing and drums and menacing noises. Kind of music I guess. Not for me.
55. In the Woods… – Heart of the Ages
When I talk about how inventive and unique black metal can be, this is one of the bands I speak of. This album is genuinely amazing, and so is their follow up Omnio.
54. Anaal Nathrakh – The Codex Necro
Listening to Anaal Nathrakh is like getting punch in the ears over and over. It’s a sonic blast of industrial fused, chaotic black metal that is unrelenting in it’s attempts to drive you crazy. I love it. My preference would be for In the Constellation of the Black Widow but hey, this album is freaking rad too.
53. Nifelheim – Nifelheim
Completely new to me. Some furious black thrash metal. This is a keeper.
52. Nachmystium – Instinct: Decay
There is some interesting stuff on this album, I’ll give it that. The only Nachmystium album I still like is Assassins: Black Meddle Part I and I’m not sure I would even rank that on this list. Maybe it’s because I know to much about how this band is run that I find there output a little less than impressive.
51. Lurker of Chalice – Lurker of Chalice
Wrest shows up again but in his Lurker form instead of Leviathan. I actually enjoyed this more than his Leviathan stuff. It’s like a less grating version of Leviathan. Still pitch black in it’s sadness and woe. Again, it suffers from going on to darn long. Doesn’t seem like it belongs on the list.
50. Deathspell Omega – Paracletus
Perhaps my favorite Deathspell Omega album but how does one actually pick a favorite of theirs? It seems criminally insane to me to place this album at 50. At least they got one more clocking in higher.
49. Varathron – His Majesty at the Swamp
I dig Varathron’s mid paced, occult take on black metal. I don’t listen to this album enough. Some more great Greek black metal.
48. Impaled Nazarene – Suomi Finland Perkele
I’ve heard the name before but never the music until now. I was pleasantly surprised with this album. With a name like Impaled Nazarene you kind of already have an idea of what the music is going to be like. Impaled have a great punk feel to them with some incredibly speedy parts but also a nice sense of humor to the whole thing. Great find.
47. Krallice – Krallice
I’m not much of a Krallice fan. People seem to go coocoo for Coco Puffs over them. Listening to this album again for the first time in a while I actually liked it. I guess if there is one Krallice album that is decent it would be this one. I wouldn’t have placed it on the list though.
46. Absu – Tara
I love Absu and this might be my favorite album of theirs. Amazing black thrash with awesome folky interludes. Furious riff after riff. This album will punish you. Amazing.
45. Arcturus – Aspera Hiems Symfonia
A veritable whose who of Norwegian black metal. Arcturus is amazing. Black metal combined with weird, experimental psychedelic and atmospheric elements as well as some orchestra elements. I love the mixing of bands in the Norwegian scene. It’s created some amazing albums. Any of their first three albums would do on this list and I would have placed this way higher.
44. Tsjuder – Desert Northern Hell
I only first heard this album a couple months ago but I was blown away by it. It’s been on a pretty constant rotation since. Straight forward intense, Norwegian black metal. It’s not bracing or shrill but well executed with incredibly catchy riffs and a hit of some groovy rock and roll. Nice to see this on the list.
43. Thorns – Thorns
This album is a classic. A perfecting melding of black metal and industrial from one of the unsung heroes of black metal. Should have been higher.
42. Blut Aus Nord – The Work Which Transforms God
This album is a one that needs to be listened to. Blut Aus Nord manage to get heavy in sound and weight and make no attempts to make it easy for the listener. This is a spiral of an album, going around and around in it’s density making your brain swim in the whirlpool. If you want to talk about presence and atmosphere, I’m inclined to believe Blut Aus Nord invented them.
41. Samael – Worship Him
This Samael is more in the vein of black metal then their previous entry on the list. I dig this album regardless of what genre they decide it is but to my ears this sounds like early black metal. Good album.
40. Master’s Hammer – Ritual
Another awesome Czech band. I didn’t get into Master’s Hammer until last year when they quietly released their most recent album. I went back and got their earlier stuff and I love it all. This album stands out for be particularly for the buzzing guitars. It’s not super speedy, it’s more the tone that’s buzzing. Either way, great stuff.
39. Bathory – The Return…
The mighty Bathory makes their first appearance. Plenty more to come from these guys. What can I say? It’s Bathory therefore it’s awesome. Early, fierce and brutal Bathory.
38. Leviathan – The Tenth Sub Level of Suicide
The final entry from Wrest and his projects. Of the three on this list, I enjoyed this one the most but I don’t think it will be something I listen to very often. Why didn’t they just put that first Twilight album on here then they could have knocked Wrest and Xasthur off the list and added some more impressive bands?
Non Top 100
Gorgoroth – Under the Sign of Hell
Abigor – Supreme and Immortal is the Art of the Devil
Oak Pantheon/Amiensus – Gathering
Obliteration – Black Death Horizon
Stay Creepy My Friends!