Ben's Forum Replies


The Remnant is a single.

Quoted Rexorcist

Ah, OK. In that case it won't be added to the site. Thanks.


Ben, please add the Becoming the Archetype album The Remnant.

Quoted Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

This release doesn't appear on Metal Archives or even Discogs. Are you sure it's an official release?

Note that I can't add releases that haven't been released yet, as I need to have clarity of what clan, genre and subgenre they should be added to. I generally wait until releases have had around 50 ratings on RYM, as the genres have usually been solidified by them.

You know you're in the right clans when you actually struggle to come up with 10 bands you truly love outside of them. Here's my shot at it...


Faith No More (Gateway)

Iron Maiden (Guardians)

Black Sabbath (Guardians)

Opeth (Infinite)

Arcturus (Infinite)

Mr. Bungle (Infinite)

Meshuggah (Infinite)

Godflesh (Sphere)

Ministry (Sphere)

Red Harvest (Sphere)

June 23, 2024 12:04 AM

If someone listened to 2 albums a day, that would be 730 albums a year. At that rate it would take 19 years to listen to 13,825 albums, and that's without ever listening to an album twice.


I really liked Glory and Perdition when it was featured on here, but I haven't gone back to another Sear Bliss album yet. Looks like this one will be the test to see how quickly I go back to their other ones, I have zero clue about their overall consistency given it seems like they bring in a ton of guests for their albums. Looking forward to it.

Quoted Xephyr

If you really liked Glory and Perdition, your next stop should definitely be The Arcane Odyssey. That's the most similar in style and quality. Many consider it to be their best.

OK, it's time to move on to what has to be the biggest subgenre of black metal...

ATMOSPHERIC BLACK METAL

It's always nice when there's one standout band that simply cannot be excluded. In this case, that band is...

Burzum - Hvis lyset tar oss (1994)

There will no doubt be opinions on whether the selected album should be Hvis lyset tar oss or Filosofem, but my personal opinion is that Hvis lyset tar oss came first, and ultimately laid down the platform that the genre is known for. That said, I could understand the argument that Filosofem was more influential on the sheer weight of popularity. Thoughts?

Ulver - Bergtatt: Et eeventyr i 5 capitler (1995)

It's true that Ulver only released one album that belongs to this subgenre, but Bergtatt has to be considered. This dark fairytale brought a dark folk element along with other non-metal aspects (such as acoustic guitar sections and clean vocals) while still retaining a strong connection to black metal. Arriving only a year after Hvis lyset tar oss, I feel like this album had a big impact on what was to come.

Summoning - Minas Morgul (1995)

One could argue that I only included this to piss off my brother, but that wouldn't be true. There's no doubt in my mind that Summoning took black metal in an entirely new direction, with it's focus on Tolkienesque imagery and atmosphere. While the horns, keyboards, sound effects and fantasy epic feel may on paper appear to go against what black metal is all about, the underlying riffs and vocals are 100% connected to the genre. Minas Morgul isn't the band's best album, but it was the first to take this path, and would set the groundwork for their subsequent releases as well as hordes of other Middle-Earth clones (such as Caladan Brood and Emyn Muil).

Agalloch - Pale Folklore (1999)

This is an album I include with some hesitation. There's no doubt that the band had a big impact on the scene, with their melding of black metal and folk. Of course, Ulver did that first, but the origins of the two bands (Ulver are from Norway, while Agalloch are from the United States) resulted in very different sounds. So why the hesitation? Well, Ulver felt like a black metal band bringing in folk aspects, whereas Agalloch feel like a post-metal band utilizing black metal techniques. While my personal opinion of an album shouldn't influence whether it's included on the list, I must state that I find the album to be poorly performed and not particularly compelling, while later releases (namely The Mantle and Ashes Against the Grain) that focus more on the post-metal aspect are far more convincing. Agalloch definitely had an influence on post-metal, but just how much influence did they have on black metal?

Paysage d'Hiver - Paysage d'Hiver (1999)

While Burzum is an obvious influence on the style of black metal that Paysage d'Hiver's perform, and Darkthrone is likely the influence for the sound, this Swiss one-man band certainly brought something new to the genre. The band name means Landscape of Winter, and that's exactly what you get here.  The intentionally lo-fi production combined with the icy cold riffs and Wintherr's screams that seem to pierce through a blizzard make for a genuinely atmospheric album. One in which the major instruments (who cares about bass anyway) remain entirely audible despite the cacophonous environment. We obviously wouldn't have Darkspace without Paysage d'Hiver, and there are plenty of other bands (Trhä immediately come to mind) that have tried their hand at this sort of thing.

Weakling - Dead as Dreams (2000)

This is an album I only recently devoted enough time to fully grasp and appreciate, but it's generally considered to be the release that kicked off the U.S. black metal movement in the 2000s, just as the Scandinavian movement was stuttering after a glorious decade. That said, I can hear the influence a numerous predecessors on Dead as Dreams (strangely it's Emperor that enters my mind quite often), so I'm not sure it's musically as influential as it was to the region from which it originated. If anything, there's a very progressive approach to song structures that makes it unique, but not in a way that I can unquestionably link back to it. I may include this in my shortlist, but not with certainty that it will appear in the final list.

Blut aus Nord - The Work Which Transforms God (2003)

While Blut aus Nord's Memoria Vetusta series contains a much more traditional version of atmospheric black metal, that certainly can't be said for The Work Which Transforms God (which to be honest, I'm not really sure should be considered an atmospheric black metal album). This release sounded nothing like anything that came before it, combining incredibly warped riffs and unhinged vocals. The only question is whether or not other bands were influenced by this disturbing approach. Well I don't think it's a coincidence that fellow countrymen Deathspell Omega transitioned from a fairly typical old school black metal outfit into the highly dissonant and somewhat avant-garde entity they became in 2004. That band would in turn influence craploads of bands, so perhaps The Work Which Transforms God deserves an element of credit?

Drudkh - Autumn Aurora (2004)

This Ukrainian band is often labelled a Burzum clone, but that feels a bit unfair to me. Sure, Burzum is clearly an influence, but while Paysage d'Hiver took Burzum to the coldest environment imaginable, I feel like Drudkh introduced a warmth to proceedings that, along with the gentle folkish melodies and almost-but-not-quite-monotonous repetition, gives their music a very comforting effect. This is harmless yet effortlessly enjoyable music, which may or may not be what you personally want from your black metal (no need to comment Daniel). I'm not sure this distinguishment alone justifies calling Drudkh pioneering or influential though.

Wolves in the Throne Room - Two Hunters (2007)

These guys fully admit to being highly influenced by Weakling, which straight off gives us a reason not to include them, but that would be doing this U.S. band a disservice. For whatever reason, Wolves in the Throne Room have been labelled a hipster band, but this likely has as much to do with the huge popularity they gained in a short period of time as it does with the band's anti black metal nice guys reputation. But while many elitist black metal fans seem to feel violated by the watering down of their beloved genre by skinny jeans wearing vegans that wear glasses they don't need, one listen to Two Hunters should make it clear that these guys really understand what makes great atmospheric black metal. I have no doubt that the band brought a lot of new fans to the genre, many of whom may have gone on to make albums of their own, but I'm not sure they're doing anything we hadn't heard prior to 2006 (I can hear a fair bit of Drudkh in their sound too).

You'll note that I haven't mentioned Panopticon. This is mostly due to me not having listened to them beyond a few tracks added to The North playlist. I do understand that they introduced a distinctively American folk aspect to their work (bluegrass etc.), but I'm not sure that sort of instrumentation has found its way into other artist's work (at least not yet). Please correct me if I'm off the mark here.

OK, so which of the above am I going to shortlist? I'll select three that I feel strongly about, and three that have potential. As always, please let me know your thoughts. I'm by no means set on any of this.


Burzum - Hvis lyset tar oss (1994)

Ulver - Bergtatt: Et eeventyr i 5 capitler (1995)

Summoning - Minas Morgul (1995)

Paysage d'Hiver - Paysage d'Hiver (1999)

Weakling - Dead as Dreams (2000)

Blut aus Nord - The Work Which Transforms God (2003)

I agree that depressive black metal only really became a thing anyone talked about in the early to mid 2000's. Could it be reasonable to state that the subgenre can be broken in half, being the warped sound that originated in Sweden (Silencer / Shining), and the more black metal focussed sound that came out of the United States (Xasthur / Leviathan), with most subsequent bands reflecting one or both of those movements?

If I assume the answer is yes, then I think Silencer's debut wins out over Shining for influence if not quality. I find it very difficult to split Xasthur or Leviathan though. Both brought loads of new fans to black metal and undoubtedly influenced lots of bands. My gut tells me that Xasthur is more important to the development of the subgenre despite the Leviathan album being the better release. I'm going to include both for now and ask that anyone that has an opinion on the matter raise their voice.


Silencer - Death - Pierce Me (2001)

Xasthur - Nocturnal Poisoning (2002)

Leviathan - The Tenth Sub Level of Suicide (2003)

The following bands have been added to Metal Academy from the 14th to the 21st of June, 2024.


1. Ba'al (FALLEN, INFINITE)

2. Blood Spore / Coagulate / Soul Devourment / Gutvoid (FALLEN, HORDE)

3. Bongzilla & Tons (FALLEN)

4. Grace Hayhurst (FALLEN, INFINITE)

5. Grat Strigoi (FALLEN, NORTH)

6. Sigil (FALLEN, NORTH)

7. Tyrannic (FALLEN, NORTH, PIT)

8. NECRONOMIDOL (GATEWAY)

9. Galactikraken & Jonathan Young (GUARDIANS)

10. Ironbound (GUARDIANS)

11. Azothyst (HORDE)

12. Cave Moth (HORDE, REVOLUTION)

13. Gnosis (HORDE, NORTH)

14. Gxllium (HORDE)

15. Liquid Viscera (HORDE)

16. Melting Rot (HORDE)

17. Nak'ay (HORDE)

18. Protosequence (HORDE, REVOLUTION)

19. Regurgitated Entrails (HORDE)

20. Siksakubur (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

21. Sperm of Mankind (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

22. Suppuration (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

23. Unearthly Rites (HORDE)

24. Vomit Ritual (HORDE)

25. Will 'O' Wisp (HORDE, INFINITE) - requested by Pelle

26. Atrocious Filth (INFINITE, SPHERE)

27. Anguis Dei (NORTH)

28. Bialywilk (NORTH)

29. Deceiver Legion (NORTH)

30. Destructo (NORTH, PIT)

31. Ehtëk (NORTH)

32. Gargoyle (ITA) (NORTH)

33. Korpituli (NORTH)

34. Magogaio (NORTH)

35. Moosegut (NORTH)

36. Oriflamme (NORTH)

37. Paisaunt (NORTH)

38. Sirpinmurtaja (NORTH)

39. Unknown Artist (NORTH)

40. Valdaudr (NORTH)

41. Μνήμα / Spider God (NORTH)

42. Burning Lord (PIT)

43. Desolus (PIT)

44. Carcosa (REVOLUTION)

45. Extinguish (REVOLUTION)

46. Nursing (REVOLUTION)

47. Pintglass (REVOLUTION)

48. Under the Pier (REVOLUTION)

49. Worst Doubt (REVOLUTION)

50. Dome Runner (SPHERE)


Ben, the Strid self-titled released was technically only a 7" single. Should it even be considered here?

Quoted Daniel

I really only mention that release as it's generally considered the earliest example of the sound, which I'm interested in assessing. Do you have any feedback on any of the other releases or are we out of your wheelhouse?


Sorry to be behind the curve here but my quick 2 cents about Blackgaze:

It's definitely one of the smaller Black Metal subgenres that could be encapsulated by just Sunbather, but I think it deserves a bit more than that. I think the current resurgence of Shoegaze/Noise Rock in the indie spheres has been allowing Blackgaze to make some waves again, so limiting the subgenre to one example seems a bit harsh. I did some digging on early Blackgaze releases and of course Alcest and Deafheaven were the only ones to gain any notoriety, so I think we're covered on that. I'd agree that either Souvenirs d'un autre monde or Écailles de lune deserves a spot as Deafheaven doesn't end up where they are if Alcest wasn't a part of the equation. I couldn't find any specific interviews but as much as it's worth Wikipedia cites that Alcest was a pretty big collaborator and influence on Deafheaven before Sunbather released, so I think tracing back that path is worth it for the list. Then I think it's a question whether the list values the "prototype" (Souvenirs) or the stronger early example (Écailles) of Blackgaze. I'd personally go with Écailles if I was forced to choose, but I'm sure most people would see it both ways. 

I know pretty much nothing about Depressive Black Metal so I'll see myself out o7

Quoted Xephyr

Thanks Xephyr. I agree that Alcest has to be included. It's just a matter of which album.

Time for our next black metal subgenre. We’re down to the last few now.

DEPRESSIVE BLACK METAL

Now things get a little more challenging for me. While I’ve spent quite a bit of time with numerous popular releases in this subgenre over the years, I’m still not sure whether it really deserves to be its own thing. I do think there are distinct aspects of depressive metal, but rarely do they all come in one package. I can’t help feeling that the subgenre is often incorrectly applied due to suicidal-themed lyrical or visual content influencing the genre tagging.

Regardless, below are a bunch of potential releases, along with my personal feelings as to why they should or shouldn't be considered for the list. I’m not highly confident here, so I’m hoping to get some feedback from any experienced Academy attendees before settling on a couple of releases that could potentially make the list.

Strid - Strid (1994)

This release is generally considered to be a defining effort in the creation of what we now call depressive black metal. I can see why it's considered important, but I honestly don't think it was particularly popular until long after it was released. I could be wrong, but I think it's one of those releases for which its importance was only realised once the subgenre had well and truly advanced. I wasn't even aware of it until recent years, but that may have more to do with my listening habits than reality. Did it influence some of the early bands? Perhaps, but I'm not convinced enough to include it. Maybe someone else knows more about this?

Bethlehem - Dictius te necare (1996)

This album is labelled depressive black metal pretty much everywhere, but I personally feel that it's only really the vocals that truly represent the subgenre in question. The album doesn't otherwise venture far from the band's Dark Metal debut album, including sections of death doom. I don't hear much in the music that resembles the description applied to depressive black metal, so I wouldn't include it in the list.

Abyssic Hate - Suicidal Emotions (2000)

This release (from Australia) is often cited as a highly influential release for depressive black metal, and it’s easy to see why with the cover and lyrical content very much focussing on despair and suicidal thoughts. That said, there’s so much Burzum on display that it makes me wonder why this is considered depressive black metal while Burzum isn’t. Regardless, apart from an early riff that reminded me of a Lifelover track, I don’t hear anything particularly fresh here. It’s certainly enjoyable though!

Silencer - Death - Pierce Me (2001)

An infamous release for a number of reasons, not least of all due to the probably bullshit stories about vocalist Nattramn. But this is definitely an early example of the sound I equate to being depressive black metal, and I'd have to imagine highly influential. I thought that Silencer may have taken inspiration from Shining’s debut, Within Deep Dark Chambers, which was released a year earlier, but it seems Silencer were already recording Death - Pierce Me around the time that album was released. I therefore think this one is a candidate for the list.

Xasthur - Nocturnal Poisoning (2002)

First things first… I love this album, despite its flaws. Nocturnal Poisoning undoubtedly made a very big splash on release, but it’s questionable as to whether it’s a good representation of depressive black metal. It’s a fucking weird sounding album, and most certainly has a desperate melancholy to it, but so do lots of black metal releases. Regardless of what I think, this album helped kickstart the US depressive black metal movement and arguably an isolated one-man black metal epidemic as well. A lot of people appear to list Xasthur’s To Violate the Oblivious as a better representation of the depressive black metal sound, so perhaps that’s a better option to put forward?

Leviathan - The Tenth Sub Level of Suicide (2003)

Another US band, Leviathan contains more hatred and black metal extremity than most bands labelled depressive black metal. I feel like a number of tracks on this release are straight up black metal, but I have to admit that when Wrest slows down, there are definitely comparisons to Xasthur’s highly emotional and melancholic work. It's difficult to decide whether Xasthur or Leviathan were more influential in the early 2000’s, but it would feel wrong to mention one without the other. I discovered them at around the same time too, as I think a lot of other black metal fans did.

Shining - IV - The Eerie Cold (2005)

Shining already had several releases that circled the depressive black metal wagons, but by the mid 2000’s, they’d added numerous other recognisable elements to that early sound. 2002's III - Angst - Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie was a top-notch album, but it would be their fourth release, The Eerie Cold, that would reach a larger audience and solidify their unique celebration of madness and suicide. Band leader Niklas Kvarforth is often cited as the instigator of the suicide encouragement motif that would, for better or worse, become a major part of the subgenre. The band's next album would increase their exposure to an unprecedented level, but I think the band’s sound and influence was already well and truly set by that point.

Anyone experienced in this area that has input here?

My three favourite Maiden albums are Seventh Son, Somewhere in Time and Powerslave, so my list of tracks would definitely have a lot of crossover with yours Karl.

OK, let's move forward with this project. It's time to focus on another subgenre of black metal that I'm by no means an expert on. I think I've heard most of the "big" stuff though, so I'll have a crack at it.


BLACKGAZE

I think it's safe to say that Alcest is the major player here. It's a question of which album. I think it's safe to say that their debut, Souvenirs d'un autre monde, was the one that kicked things off, but then there's the question of whether it's actually metal or not. I personally feel like it should be considered blackgaze. If it had the typical screamed vocals of other Alcest releases, I don't think there would even be a question about it, but maybe I'm wrong? Anyone got an opinion? If that album isn't blackgaze, then the follow-up, Écailles de lune, most certainly is.

There's no way that Deafheaven can't be on the list too, with Sunbather being one of the most popular metal albums in history (I still can't believe it has over 24,500 ratings on RYM, which is more than Filosofem!). I'm not sure there are any other releases than demand a spot on this list or even come into the conversation, but as always, please let me know if you feel I'm missing something.

Alcest - Souvenirs d'un autre monde (2007) / Écailles de lune (2010)

Deafheaven - Sunbather (2013)

Metal Academy is not a site where we want the "people who like Metallica are total posers" style comments. You're correct that everyone should feel free to not like things as passionately as they want, but there's simply no need to be offensive to others.

Whether or not the album is a great listen or not isn't really the point of this list. Blasphemy's debut album is objectively hugely influential to the subgenre, so I really have to include it.

Besides, a quick look at RYM suggests it's very much loved by war metal fans (albeit with far more ratings than Conqueror), so I don't feel the general consensus is that it's influential but not actually good.


Yeah, I've never noticed what Daniel's talking about with At the Heart of Winter too. It's one of those times that I'm happy to not be a musician so I can just enjoy something, totally oblivious to whether it's performed well or not.

Quoted Ben

At least Abbath knows that he's not a great player...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WKzrc2wcxA


Alright, let's move onto one I'm not massively knowledgeable about, although I might be just experienced enough to know the major influences. It's not exactly a subgenre filled with creativity and has remained relatively the same over the years, so I'm hoping this is pretty straightforward.

WAR METAL

Thankfully this subgenre has one very clear instigator, being Blasphemy from Canada. Their Fallen Angel of Doom.... album from 1990 is certainly the most influential release of this style. The big question is whether or not anything that has come after it has done enough with the blueprint or created enough of a stir to hit a most influential black metal release list.

Probably the only release I can come up with is Conqueror's War Cult Supremacy, which took things to an unprecedented level of destruction, undoubtedly encouraging others to pick up their instruments and try to obliterate the world with them.

Other possible bands are Beherit and Bestial Warlust, but I'm not sure if I could justify their inclusion in a list like this. I'm going with Blasphemy as a likely inclusion and Conqueror as a possible inclusion. Thoughts?

Blasphemy - Fallen Angel of Doom.... (1990)

Conqueror - War Cult Supremacy (1999)

Yeah, I've never noticed what Daniel's talking about with At the Heart of Winter too. It's one of those times that I'm happy to not be a musician so I can just enjoy something, totally oblivious to whether it's performed well or not.

It’s just a starting point. We might not end up including all of them. Just building a list that then gets dwindled down to 25.

I'm keeping my three selected releases for now. That may be one too many for a list of 25, but I guess we'll deal with that once I've gone through all the subgenres.

Let's go with another subgenre that has a very obvious influence...

SYMPHONIC BLACK METAL

Just as Dissection were an easy selection for melodic black metal, Emperor are just as clear cut for symphonic black metal. The Norwegian legends launched the sound on 1994's In the Nightside Eclipse. Other bands followed in the mid-90s, including Limbonic Art, Nokturnal Mortum and Obtained Enslavement, but I don't think any of these bands created a new sound and/or influenced others in any major way. I think the first band to have their own take on symphonic black metal that would most definitely influence stacks of other bands is Cradle of Filth. I would put forward Dusk and Her Embrace as the release, as I think that best represents the sound that had the most impact. We wouldn't have bands like Graveworm, Carach Angren and Agathodaimon if it weren't for Dani and his crew. The other band that needs a mention is Dimmu Borgir, although it could be said that their breakout symphonic black metal sound on Enthrone Darkness Triumphant was a direct result of Cradle of Filth's success. I personally feel that Dimmu Borgir themselves would most definitely influence loads of bands, so I'm going to include it as my third "maybe" choice.


Emperor - In the Nightside Eclipse (1994)

Cradle of Filth - Dusk and Her Embrace (1996)

Dimmu Borgir - Enthrone Darkness Triumphant (1997)


Keen to hear what others think. Disagree with any of these choices? Do you feel Dimmu Borgir's sound was enough removed from Cradle of Filth to justify inclusion? Should any other bands be brought into the mix?



I agree that Thy Mighty Contract isn't Rotting Christ's best album, and I wouldn't personally call it classic, but clones started coming out in 1994 (check out Thou Art Lord's Eosforos album), so it was clearly highly influential. The sound was formed immediately, so I'm actually comfortable including it above other Rotting Christ albums. Anyone else have an opinion?

Quoted Ben

OK, so it's clear that your concept for the list is to target releases that are "influential" rather than "essential" which is fine. I would still argue that the Greek melodic black metal scene shouldn't necessarily command a position in a list of just 25 black metal releases in terms of influence though as I think there are a few more significant melodic black metal releases that will miss out as a result (e.g. "Arntor" & "Far Away From the Sun"). Is it just that they appeared a little later on?

Quoted Daniel

Arntor are very much in the discussion, and your comment has solidified my opinion that they probably should be. As for Far Away From the Sun, I have to disagree with that one. They basically took on Dissection's sound and were never as popular. Sure, some bands may have picked up the sound from Sacramentum, but I you'd have to agree that a lot more would have been inspired by Dissection.


If you're going for most influencial then you have to include Black Metal. Which IS a first-wave black metal album, and it gave the sub-genre it's name. Quite a lot of the first and second wave artists site it as a primary influence. 


Remember the first wave was little bit more relaxed in it's parameters than the second wave. Mercyful Fate is also considered a first-wave black metal band, and they are farther away than Venom from what became the "pure" template.

Quoted ZeroSymbolic7188

The difference is that the list is most influential black metal releases, not releases that were influential on black metal. If it was the latter, then Hellhammer, Mercyful Fate and Venom would be top of the list.

I'm sure you can find references online to Venom being labelled black metal (you can find anything online), but if the album doesn't actually contain the major components of black metal, then I see no reason to label it that way.


Essential: absolutely necessary; extremely important.

To me this should be a pretty small  list. 25 seams like more than just the necessities. I'd be thinking along the lines of 

1. Venom-Black Metal

2. Mayhem-De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas

3. Bathory-Under the Sign of the Black Mark

4. Immortal-Battles in the North

5. Darkthrone-Transylvanian Hunger.

Something like that looks about right to me. Essential to me, implies sparsity. There are other albums that are very good, but I feel like this is the bare minimum I can give a person to leave them with a strong idea of what the sub genre is.

Quoted ZeroSymbolic7188

That's a very limited view of what black metal is (plus it has to be said that Venom isn't black metal at all). There is so much variety to be found within the genre, and not including any of the subgenres would be doing a disservice to it.

To be clear though, I'm specifically putting together a most influential black metal releases list. It would be near impossible to collaborate on a best black metal releases list, as that's purely subjective. As an example of this, my list would likely contain numerous albums that you've given 2 or less stars (such as Hvis Lyset tar Oss, Dark Medieval Times, In the Nightside Eclipse and Heart of the Ages).

I agree that Thy Mighty Contract isn't Rotting Christ's best album, and I wouldn't personally call it classic, but clones started coming out in 1994 (check out Thou Art Lord's Eosforos album), so it was clearly highly influential. The sound was formed immediately, so I'm actually comfortable including it above other Rotting Christ albums. Anyone else have an opinion?

I love Kvist (bought the CD back in 1996), but I've never thought of it as influential. I guess with Windir there are bands that have clearly lifted their sound from them (just go listen to Mistur's Attende album for an obvious example), whereas I've never listened to an album and thought "these guys have definitely been listening to Kvist".

I agree Sonny. It's definitely a more objective process, but it also requires some level of knowledge. I've been thinking about what my black metal list would look like, and I thought it might be interesting for others to understand how I came up with certain choices as I make them. To be clear, this isn't because I think my process is the correct one or that I'm more knowledgeable than anyone else. I just thought it might be interesting.

A black metal list needs to cover all it's major subgenres, not just pure black metal. This means it's going to include some that I personally might not listen to much, such as Blackgaze and War Metal. That said, I do think there are some subgenres that contain so few releases that it's difficult to argue that any of them have been particularly influential on the genre as a whole (such as Black 'n' Roll and Black Noise). If they were really influential, there would be a lot more releases in those subgenres; at least that's how I view it. So for my black metal list, I want to make sure I include influential releases for Black Metal, Atmospheric Black Metal, Blackgaze, Depressive Black Metal, Melodic Black Metal, Pagan Black Metal, Symphonic Black Metal and War Metal.

MELODIC BLACK METAL

Let's start with Melodic Black Metal, as it has a really obvious launching point...1993. There were two major sounds that came to the fore in that year, being the Greek (or Hellenic) form of melodic black metal and the Swedish one. Dissection is the obvious choice for the Swedish sound, as their influence is massive (Dawn, Sacramentum, Naglfar, Dark Funeral etc.). It's not as clear cut on the Greek side though, with both Varathron and Rotting Christ releasing albums in 1993 with a similar sound. I have to say that it's stunning to me that RYM has Varathron's His Majesty at the Swamp as a pure Black Metal release and not Melodic Black Metal, as it sounds incredibly similar to Rotting Christ's Thy Mighty Contract. Varathron's album was released in August while Rotting Christ's was released in November, but are either of these albums the most influential release when it comes to the Greek Melodic Black Metal sound? I could argue that Rotting Christ's 1996 album is better received, but since numerous other bands had popped up with the same sound in the intervening years (Thou Art Lord are the most obvious example), I think my answer is Thy Mighty Contract. There's really only one other band I can come up with that has a sound not particularly related to the aforementioned bands that might have had a big enough influence to enter the conversation and that's Windir. It could be argued that their more epic viking-themed approach moved things in a different direction, but did they directly influence enough other bands? That's a little out of my listening zone, although I do like Windir. I'll include them as a potential for now, but I might need some convincing.


Dissection - Storm of the Light's Bane (1993)

Rotting Christ - Thy Mighty Contract (1993)

Windir - Arntor (1999)


Anyone have any thoughts at this point? No reason we can't formulate the list collectively. Please don't start throwing around suggestions for other subgenres just yet. I'd like to put my ideas out there without influence and get reactions.


I have to say by the way that I am 90% that Lurker of Chalice is a band name generated here: https://www.metalbandnamegenerator.com/

Quoted ZeroSymbolic7188

It's also a fantastic album. One of my favourites.

It all depends on how you define Essential. Does that mean the best albums that everyone should hear, or does it mean the most important albums that either formed an important aspect of black metal or pushed it in a new (and also important) direction? Without defining that, it's difficult to assess.

The inclusion of albums like The Principle of Evil Made Flesh and Burzum's debut suggests it's based on importance / influence, but then I fail to see how Sons of Northern Darkness, Rebel Extravaganza or Sworn to the Dark could be considered particularly ground-breaking or important.

Hmmm...I might throw together my own personal top 25 most important black metal list and see what it looks like.

June 13, 2024 10:19 AM

Always wanted to play a D&D campaign. Never had any friends that were into it.

June 13, 2024 03:12 AM

I can confirm that it was Neuropath that made me appreciate just how awesome Hammer Smashed Face is when experienced live. No matter how little time I've devoted to Cannibal Corpse over the years, their approach is great in a live environment.

Ben
June 12, 2024 10:50 PM

Welcome Karl! Happy to hear that you're finding the site interesting. Let us know (using the request threads in the forums) if you want me to add any bands / releases to the site.

The following bands have been added to Metal Academy from the 7th to the 13th  of June, 2024.


1. Oldest Sea (FALLEN, INFINITE)

2. Potion (FALLEN)

3. Amethyst (GUARDIANS)

4. Markgraf (GUARDIANS, NORTH)

5. Abscesspool (HORDE, REVOLUTION)

6. Bottom Surgery (HORDE)

7. Crownshift (HORDE)

8. Disembodiment (HORDE)

9. Ephemerald (HORDE)

10. Expression of Pain (HORDE)

11. Feculent (HORDE)

12. Frightful (HORDE, PIT)

13. geronimostilton (HORDE)

14. Hatalom (HORDE)

15. Horns of Domination (HORDE, NORTH)

16. Incarceration (HORDE, NORTH)

17. Maggot Vomit Afterbirth (HORDE)

18. Melting Flesh (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

19. Mental Apraxia (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

20. My Plague (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

21. Nihil Obstat (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

22. Nunwhore Commando 666 (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

23. Pigtails (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

24. Retch (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

25. Suffering Sights (HORDE, PIT)

26. Total Isolation / Sedimentum (HORDE)

27. Urged (HORDE)

28. A.M.E.N. (INFINITE)

29. Acolyte (INFINITE)

30. Empire Bathtub (INFINITE)

31. IONS (INFINITE)

32. Jarun (INFINITE, NORTH)

33. Ara (NORTH)

34. Arde (NORTH)

35. Black Spirit (NORTH)

36. Blade and Bath (NORTH)

37. Ceremonial Torture (NORTH)

38. Gnipahålan / Evilfeast (NORTH)

39. Gravpel (NORTH)

40. Hellbutcher (NORTH, PIT)

41. Le Prochain Hiver (NORTH)

42. Lust Hag (NORTH)

43. Naxen (NORTH)

44. Nocturnal Wanderer (NORTH)

45. Pâlemort (NORTH)

46. Parfaxitas (NORTH)

47. Sangue de Bode (NORTH, REVOLUTION, PIT)

48. Secrets (NORTH)

49. Sieta (NORTH)

50. Tvær (NORTH)

51. Zeegang (NORTH)

52. Convictions (REVOLUTION)

53. Darker by Design (REVOLUTION)

54. Ryota Kozuka & Toshiki Konishi (SPHERE)

June 11, 2024 08:14 AM

Hidden tracks are NEVER a good idea. Thankfully they were related to the length of CDs, so hopefully are gone now.

I rarely ever enjoy cover tracks, unless they match the feel of the rest of the album. On that note, I dislike tracks that have a really different production to the rest of the album too.

Plus Daniel's right that cowbells have no place in metal.

I must say Zero, your hatred for female vocals or non-metal instrumentals seems very passionate. I really enjoy both of those elements if they're done well.

The following bands have been added to Metal Academy from the 1st and 6th of June, 2024.


1. Ten Ton Slug (FALLEN)

2. Verbum (FALLEN, NORTH)

3. Durbin (GUARDIANS)

4. Illumishade (GUARDIANS)

5. SkeleToon (GUARDIANS)

6. Tersivel (GUARDIANS, INFINITE, PIT)

7. Cavern Womb (HORDE)

8. Dispersed (HORDE)

9. Fallensun (HORDE)

10. Funeral Rape (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

11. Gorepoflesh (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

12. Haemophagia (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

13. Halluxvalgus (HORDE)

14. Haruspex (REVOLUTION) - requested by Pelle

15. Jasad (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

16. Leishmaniasis (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

17. Mære (HORDE)

18. Mortal Wound (HORDE)

19. Mortual (HORDE)

20. Noxis / Cavern Womb (HORDE)

21. Perverted Dexterity (HORDE)

22. Phantasmagore (HORDE)

23. The Stranger (INFINITE)

24. Atheosophia (NORTH)

25. Carathis (NORTH)

26. Diabolical Fullmoon (NORTH)

27. Kalandar (NORTH)

28. Laang (NORTH)

29. Moongazer (NORTH)

30. Mörghuul (NORTH, PIT)

31. Riitasointu (NORTH)

32. Shores of Ladon (NORTH)

33. The Magus (NORTH)

34. Slave Agent (PIT)

35. Cell (REVOLUTION)

36. The Queen Guillotined (REVOLUTION)

June 03, 2024 11:07 PM

There is nothing mandatory about completing the challenges. They're entirely optional.

Also, there's nothing disrespectful or toxic about writing a negative review for an album, no matter how much that album is loved by others. It's the manner in which you write the review that can be considered disrespectful or toxic.

There's a big difference between:

Made up example one: "I understand that Colored Sands is a much loved classic, but for whatever reason I just can't connect with it and find it to be musically impressive yet somehow lifeless and unengaging. I've really tried, but I don't see the appeal. 1 star"

Made up example two: "Gorguts are just a really shit band. It's not surprising really, as all technical death metal is shit. 1 star"

June 03, 2024 09:23 PM

I'm happy for Academy members to use the site however they want to, as long as they do so with respect. I hadn't really thought about it until now, but I guess that means respect for fellow members as well as for metal music in general (which I'd like to think everyone that joins would have to some degree).

There does appear to be a divide on the site between members that really devote themselves to each and every release before giving it a rating / writing a review and those that are content with a single (even partial) listen before providing their opinion and moving on. I personally fall into the devotee camp, listening to albums multiple times and trying to understand them fully before feeling like I've given them full opportunity to sink in and offer everything they have. Sometimes that's 3 listens, often it's 6 or 7. And yes, my rating can (and often does) go up or down over time.

I have to admit, and I'm sure this is where Vinny (UnhinderedbyTalent) is coming from here, for someone like me, it's naturally quite disturbing to witness other members listening to 5 or 6 albums in a day (seemingly for the first time for some of them) and dishing out an offhanded comment and a low rating. I think your review of Gorguts' Colored Sands is the perfect example

"As I work through this list I am really running out of fun ways to say "great musicianship, horrible music", but here we are again." 0.5 stars

Many other site members consider that album to be a modern death metal classic, so such a flippant remark and a rating that suggests it's the absolute worst that metal has to offer does come across as trolling (even if it's not). Whether or not it's possible to accurately assess an album like Colored Sands on first listen isn't the point, but your review displays little respect for the music or the other members that think it's great. If you hate an album and think it deserves 0.5 stars, that's absolutely fine, but leaving a review like that one holds little value other than to progress you towards completing the challenge. The challenges were created so that clan members could educate themselves / display knowledge and understanding of some of the classic releases in the genres they've chosen to affiliate themselves with. I can only recommend that you at least spend a few sentences to explain (respectfully) why any given release deserves to be placed at the absolute bottom of the pile (or to hold any other position).

June 2024

1. Akhlys - Sister Silence, Brother Sleep (from Sister Silence, Brother Sleep, 2024)

2. Scarcity - Venom & Cadmium (from Venom & Cadmium, 2024)

3. Antichrist Siege Machine - Lysergic War Psychosis (from Vengeance of Eternal Fire, 2024) [Submitted by Sonny]

4. Aristarchos - Atrium - Martyr of Star and Fire (from Martyr of Star and Fire, 2024)

5. Tsjuder - Lord of Terror (from Kill for Satan, 2000) [Submitted by Vinny]

6. Saidan - Visual Kill (from Visual Kill: The Blossoming of Psychotic Depravity, 2024)

7. Kostnateni - Nevolnost je vše, čím jsem (Nausea Is All I Am) (from Upal, 2023) [Submitted by Daniel]

8. Sear Bliss - The Upper World (from The Upper World, 2024)

9. Above Aurora - Inner Whispers (from Myriad Woes, 2024) [Submitted by Sonny]

10. Anorexia Nervosa - Antinferno (from Redemption Process, 2004) [Submitted by Vinny]

11. Liturgy - Vessel of Everthirst (from Immortal Life II, 2024)

12. Aquilus - Into the Earth (from Bellum II, 2024)

13. Hellripper - Mester Stoor Worm (from Warlocks Grim & Withered Hags, 2023) [Submitted by Daniel]

14. Grima - Hunger God (from Frostbitten, 2022) [Submitted by Vinny]

15. 1349 - Ash of Ages (from Ash of Ages, 2024)

16. Melechesh - Incendium Between Mirage and Time (from Sphynx, 2003) [Submitted by Sonny]

17. Primitive Warfare - Heretic Crusade (from Extinction Protocol, 2024)

18. Trhä - Danë‡i (from Av◊ëlajnt◊ë£ hinnem nihre, 2023) [Submitted by Daniel]

The following bands have been added to Metal Academy from the 24th to the 31st of May, 2024.


1. Medwegya (FALLEN, NORTH)

2. Red Rot (FALLEN, HORDE)

3. Seven Nines and Tens (FALLEN, INFINITE)

4. Thorn (FALLEN, HORDE)

5. Breaths (GATEWAY, INFINITE)

6. Desolate (GATEWAY, REVOLUTION)

7. Bloody Cumshot (GUARDIANS, HORDE)

8. Cobra Spell (GUARDIANS)

9. Funeral Chic (GUARDIANS)

10. In Victory (GUARDIANS)

11. 2 Minuta Dreka (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

12. Abaddon (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

13. Ascended Dead / Atomicide (HORDE)

14. Behead (HORDE, PIT)

15. Blasting Hatred (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

16. Bloody Gore (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

17. Crawl (SWE) (HORDE)

18. Creeping Flesh (HORDE)

19. Dehydrated Tissues (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

20. Exsanguinated (HORDE)

21. Extremely Rotten Flesh (HORDE) - requested by Pelle

22. Hemotoxin (HORDE, PIT)

23. Needlepusher (HORDE)

24. Noisy Neighbors (HORDE)

25. Pains (HORDE, REVOLUTION)

26. Spiritual Deception (HORDE)

27. Tomb Sentinel (HORDE, REVOLUTION)

28. Vøidwomb (HORDE, NORTH)

29. Wounds (HORDE)

30. Blackshape (INFINITE)

31. Thecodontion / Vessel of Iniquity (INFINITE, NORTH)

32. Valtozash (INFINITE)

33. Commander Agares (NORTH)

34. Furis Ignis (NORTH)

35. Grandeur (NORTH)

36. Halny (NORTH)

37. Igric (NORTH)

38. Weathered Crest (NORTH)

39. Weeping Coffin (NORTH)

40. Phantom (MEX) (PIT)

41. Demonstration of Power (REVOLUTION)

42. Drag Me Out (REVOLUTION)

43. Elaine Elaine (REVOLUTION)

44. Rough Justice (REVOLUTION)

45. Whispers (REVOLUTION)

46. Willzyx (REVOLUTION)

Mind you, Frazetta's work was also a favourite for 70s and 80s rock artists, such as Molly Hatchet...