Comfortable and Furious

Top 10 Most Essential Black Metal Records


Mike From Hobart Wows Scandinavia Again


In The Nightside Eclipse

Let’s face it; this was the best Emperor album, and arguably the best black metal album ever. It was a long haul for the band afterward, with line-up changes and whatnot. Personally, I really like the studio tracks that were re-released for the As the Shadows Rise 7″ which I proudly own. Nothing beats the original line-up and Ihsahn’s vocals were absolutely sick.

In The Nightside Eclipse was a remarkable achievement and was largely responsible for prompting the black metal explosion in the early-mid 90s, rising above the Mayhem/Burzum feud and gaining respect from big name faggy magazines like Kerrang!. Everyone already knows this, so I’ll just leave it at that. Hard to believe they were just a bunch of pimply-faced Telemark teenagers at the time.


Heaven Shall Burn…

Heaven Shall Burn is the pinnacle of black metal in many ways. This album is just simply fucking hellish. Legion (Ophthalamia) filled the vocal slot perfectly, although I really enjoyed Göthberg’s vocals and Marduk’s early material, particularly Opus Nocturne. But Heaven Shall Burn is blindingly fast and catchy, setting the standard for ultra-fast black metal followers.

Sadly, Marduk took a hell-sized shit after Heaven Shall Burn. Frankly, the music just got boring. Some say that Panzer Division is the album where they went all out, but I say that Heaven Shall Burn buries Panzer Division in hot manure. Not only is the production clearer, but the songs are more distinct and the vocals far more devastating. The Black Tormentor of Satan fucking shreds!

The Abyss

The Other Side

Peter Tägtgren’s black metal side-project kicks ass! The Other Side is quality black metal with super sick vocals and great production courtesy of Abyss studios. There’s no bullshit going on here, just solid, blast-heavy black metal.

Every cheeseball black metal band in the world has covered Massacra at one point or another, and this album has the best one. Remember Emperor’s cover? Fuck, that was terrible. Get this instead! Their second album, Summoning the Beast, is more of the same.

Ancient Rites

The Diabolic Serenades

[Ed Note: Dear Finland, why have none of you black metal nerds taken the time to scan in a decent pic of this album? I mean how are you going to nefariously masturbate upon the most unholy, inverted necro-yeti if you don’t have a decent scan of this record?]

Belgium’s Ancient Rites are black metal pioneers and have been around longer than most. The Diabolic Serenades is their first album and follow-up to 1991’s Evil Prevails 7.

There is a long-held belief that in order for a band to be “black metal”, they have to be 100% fast, with shitty production, and Popeye vocals. So, some “Pure Norwegian” black metal fags might consider these guys to be a death metal band, but let’s be realistic, Ancient Rites are fucking evil, and they shit on 95% of other black metal bands. The Diabolic Serenades is proof of that.

For a 3-piece, these guys put together a great sounding album, a little thin, but great nonetheless. The drumming is clean and precise, and the vocals are uniquely monstrous. As opposed to the standard fuzzy guitar sound, Ancient Rites opt for bassy, trainwreck riffs that rip through the whole album.

Unfortunately, they turned a bit folky/medieval after The Diabolic Serenades, and Gunther must have warped his throat because the vocals kinda pooped out. Regardless, this album is essential.



If there was a contest to determine who the fastest black metal band would be, Unlord would give stiff competition. In the end, it would probably come down to Marduk or Mayhem vs. Unlord– Battle of the Blasters!!

Holy shit this album is friggin fast. The Gladiator Lp is fast as fuck, too. Now that I think about it, Unlord might just be the fastest. This album tears shit up the whole way through. Evil is the only way to describe it. The screaming is out of control, but unlike Marduk, Unlord slows it down here and there with some satisfyingly catchy tunes. This album is worth it for the first track alone. Blasting, screaming, madness!


Pure Black Energy

The title of this album speaks for itself. Tulus bring black metal energy on this album similar to Gorgoroth’s Pentagram. It’s just cold, unremitting metal with raw production and killer vocals.

There’s nothing special here, just standard black metal. But something stuck out when I first heard it back in who knows when. I guess it invoked the basic feeling that black metal should, and that is hatred.

Also, the cover of this album almost made my 10 most ridiculous black metal pics. What the fuck? I believe this is Sarke, the drummer, on the cover of the fucking album trying to look grim, but failing miserably. Nice hair.


Via Dolorosa

Call this doom metal, call this folk black metal, call this whatever the fuck you want, it’s awesome! Commander in chief, IT (Abruptum) leads the pack with a very atypical black metal release. Very complicated, off-beat, and melodic, with Legion (Marduk) holding down the vocals which don’t really fit the music, but somehow work. It’s very confusing.

The lyrics revolve around a fictitious woman named Elishia, which IT describes as some consolidation of all things evil [Ed Note: I know Elishia]. All (Vondur) is not in the band but provides some mediocre poetry about the seasons in the liner notes.

This album demands respect, not only because the songs are complex and well thought out, but because the musicianship is excellent all around. The bonus track is Ophthalamia’s classic cover of Mayhem’s Deathcrush, which blows other feeble attempts out of the water.


Aspera Heims Symfonia

I’m not much into the whole synth-pop black metal thing. For the most part, it flat out sucks testicles, with perhaps the exception of Limbonic Art (I said perhaps) and Arcturus. Aspera Heims Symfonia is some good stuff. I mean really good stuff.

The first reason is the drumming. Hellhammer is the greatest, ’nuff said. But aside from that, the songs are wonderfully composed. Symphonic indeed. Garm, while not the greatest singer in the world, manages to pull it off, mostly because he does way more screaming than singing.

This album will suck you in from the get go, and its listenable time and time again. But you should definitely ignore later efforts by Arcturus because they got a bit too theatrical and, well, frankly, gay.



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