Blackened death metal

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Blackened death metal (also known as black death metal) is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal that fuses elements of black metal and death metal. [1] [2]


The genre emerged in early 1990s when black metal bands began incorporating elements of death metal and vice versa. The genre typically employs death growls, tremolo picking, blast beats, and Satanic lyrics and imagery. Bands of the genre typically employ corpse paint, which was adapted from black metal.


Orion, bassist of Behemoth performing 2009. Behemoth 2009 0004.jpg
Orion, bassist of Behemoth performing 2009.

The genre is commonly death metal that incorporates musical, lyrical or ideological elements of black metal, such as an increased use of tremolo picking, anti-Christian or Satanic lyrical themes and chord progressions similar to those used in black metal. [3] Blackened death metal bands are also more likely to wear corpse paint and suits of armour, than bands from other styles of death metal. [4] Lower range guitar tunings, death growls and abrupt tempo changes are common in the genre. [5] Some blackened death metal bands, such as Goatwhore and Angelcorpse, even take significant influence from thrash metal. [5]


Both black metal and death metal evolved out of the same crop of early extreme metal bands such as Dark Angel, Possessed, Kreator, Sodom, Venom, Celtic Frost and Bathory, [6] [7] [8] leading to common elements between the genres being in place. Early death metal groups possessing certain elements in common with black metal include early Sepultura, Morbid Angel, and Deicide. John McEntee, guitarist and vocalist of death metal band Incantation, has noted that he and his band draw influence from black metal. [5] Seminal black metal band Darkthrone began playing death metal before evolving into the style they would primarily become known for. [9]

Blasphemy crossed death metal and black metal on their debut album Fallen Angel of Doom , giving way to the development of war metal. [9] Dissection evolved out of the Gothenburg melodic death metal scene, embracing black metal influences into their music and helping create melodic black-death thanks to their 1993 album The Somberlain . [10]

The year 1998 saw the release of Behemoth's album Pandemonic Incantations , striking a stylistic change in the sound of the band's output from a traditional black metal style with generally pagan lyrical themes into a more death metal influenced sound with lyrics about the occult and Satan. [11] After continuing this style, their 2000 album Thelema.6 peaked at number 31 on the Polish Albums Charts. [12] Many of Behemoth's subsequent albums would continue to chart, with Demigod peaking at number 15, [13] The Apostasy at number 9, [14] and Evangelion and The Satanist both at number one, [15] [16] with multiple albums charting worldwide. [17] [18] [19] [20] American band Skeletonwitch's third, fourth and fifth albums peaked at numbers 151, 153 and 62, respectively, on the Billboard 200 charts. [21]

Thy Art Is Murder, a band which previously played deathcore, moved into a style more similar to blackened death metal on their fourth album Dear Desolation , [22] [23] charting in eight different territories, including a peak at number five on the Australian Albums Charts and number seven on the New Zealand Heatseekers Albums. [24] [25] Similarly, New Jersey's Lorna Shore also began to tread into blackened death metal territory with their sophomore album "Flesh Coffin". [26]

Stylistic divisions

Melodic black-death

Melodic black-death [27] (also known as blackened melodic death metal or melodic blackened death metal) [10] is a genre of extreme metal that describes the style created when melodic death metal bands began being inspired by black metal and European romanticism. However, unlike most other black metal, this take on the genre would incorporate an increased sense of melody and narrative. [10] Some bands who have played this style include Dissection, [10] [27] [28] Sacramentum, [10] [27] Naglfar, [10] God Dethroned, [29] Dawn, [10] Unanimated, [10] Thulcandra, [27] [10] Skeletonwitch [30] and Cardinal Sin. [27]

Sweden's Dissection evolved alongside melodic death metal bands such as At the Gates and In Flames, by building upon the musical foundation laid by death metal and incorporating guitar melodies and harmonies amongst the standard brutality of the genre. However, unlike the other bands, Dissection began incorporating influences from black metal into their music, [28] which lead to their debut album The Somberlain influencing a plethora of subsequent bands and Metal Injection dubbing them "one of the most important extreme metal bands of all time". [10] Sacramentum's debut and second albums Far Away from the Sun and The Coming of Chaos would then continue Dissection's style of black metal-infused melodic death metal, based around middle of the neck guitar riffing and howling vocals, while Vinterland would lean even more upon their black metal predecessors like Norway's Emperor. [10] Naglfar would base their sound primarily within that of Gothenburg metal bands like In Flames and Dark Tranquility, by taking a brighter and thrashier take on the style. [10]

War metal

Pioneering war metal band Blasphemy performing in 2017 Blasphemy @ Eindhoven Metal Meeting 021.jpg
Pioneering war metal band Blasphemy performing in 2017

War metal [31] [32] [33] (also known as war black metal [32] or bestial black metal) [33] is an aggressive, [32] cacophonous [31] and chaotic [31] [32] subgenre of blackened death metal, [34] described by Rock Hard journalist Wolf-Rüdiger Mühlmann as "rabid" [32] and "hammering". [32] Important influences include first wave black metal band Sodom, [31] [32] first wave black metal/death metal band Possessed [32] as well as old grindcore, black and death metal bands like Repulsion, [31] [32] Autopsy, [32] Sarcófago [31] [32] [33] [35] and the first two Sepultura releases. [32] [35] War metal bands include Blasphemy, [31] [32] [35] Archgoat, [32] Impiety, [32] In Battle, [36] Bestial Warlust [37] and Zyklon-B. [38]

See also

Related Research Articles

Black metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. Common traits include fast tempos, a shrieking vocal style, heavily distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, raw (lo-fi) recording, unconventional song structures, and an emphasis on atmosphere. Artists often appear in corpse paint and adopt pseudonyms.

Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking; deep growling vocals; aggressive, powerful drumming, featuring double kick and blast beat techniques; minor keys or atonality; abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes; and chromatic chord progressions. The lyrical themes of death metal may include slasher film-style violence, political conflict, religion, nature, philosophy, true crime and science fiction.

Doom metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music that typically uses slower tempos, low-tuned guitars and a much "thicker" or "heavier" sound than other heavy metal genres. Both the music and the lyrics intend to evoke a sense of despair, dread, and impending doom. The genre is strongly influenced by the early work of Black Sabbath, who formed a prototype for doom metal. During the first half of the 1980s, a number of bands such as Witchfinder General from England, American bands Pentagram, Saint Vitus, the Obsessed, Trouble, and Cirith Ungol, and Swedish band Candlemass defined doom metal as a distinct genre.

Behemoth (band) Polish blackened death metal band

Behemoth is a Polish extreme metal band from Gdańsk, formed in 1991. They are considered to have played an important role in establishing the Polish extreme metal underground.

A number of heavy metal genres have developed since the emergence of heavy metal during the late 1960s and early 1970s. At times, heavy metal genres may overlap or are difficult to distinguish, but they can be identified by a number of traits. They may differ in terms of instrumentation, tempo, song structure, vocal style, lyrics, guitar playing style, drumming style, and so on.

Melodic death metal is a subgenre of death metal that employs highly melodic guitar riffs, often borrowing from traditional heavy metal. The genre features the heaviness of death metal but with highly melodic or harmonized guitar riffs and solos, and often features high-pitched shrieked vocals alongside the low-pitched growls commonly featured in traditional death metal. Pioneered by the English heavy metal band Carcass with their 1993 album Heartwork, melodic death metal developed further in Sweden in the mid-1990s. The Swedish death metal scene did much to popularise the style, soon centering in the "Gothenburg metal" scene. At the Gates' Slaughter of the Soul, Dark Tranquility's The Gallery, and In Flames' The Jester Race, all released in the mid-1990s, were highly influential albums in melodic death metal, with At the Gates and In Flames being the two most common influences on North American 2000s heavy metal bands. Many American heavy metal bands emulated At the Gates' sound, resulting in the usage of the phrase "At the Gates worship".

Extreme metal is a loosely defined umbrella term for a number of related heavy metal music subgenres that have developed since the early 1980s. It has been defined as a "cluster of metal subgenres characterized by sonic, verbal, and visual transgression".

Metalcore is a fusion music genre that combines elements of extreme metal and hardcore punk. As with other styles blending metal and hardcore, such as crust punk and grindcore, metalcore is noted for its use of breakdowns, slow, intense passages conducive to moshing. Other defining instrumental qualities include heavy riffs and stop-start rhythm guitar playing, occasional blast beats, and double bass drumming. Vocalists in the genre typically use thrash or scream vocals. Some later metalcore bands combine this with clean singing, often during the chorus. Death growls and gang vocals are common. 1990s metalcore bands were inspired by hardcore while later metalcore bands were inspired by melodic death metal bands like At the Gates and In Flames.

Dissection (band) Swedish extreme metal band

Dissection was a Swedish extreme metal band from Strömstad, formed in 1989 by guitarist, vocalist and main songwriter Jon Nödtveidt and bassist Peter Palmdahl. Despite a number of lineup changes, Dissection released The Somberlain in 1993 and Storm of the Light's Bane in 1995, before splitting up in 1997 due to Nödtveidt's imprisonment for complicity in the murder of Josef Meddour.

<i>Storm of the Lights Bane</i> 1995 studio album by Dissection

Storm of the Light's Bane is the second full-length album by Swedish black metal band Dissection. It was released on 17 November 1995 by Nuclear Blast. This would be the band's last full-length album before Nödtveidt's 1997 incarceration for the felony murder of Josef ben Meddour. It would not be until 2006 that they would release their third and final album Reinkaos, which was followed by the breakup of the band and Jon Nödtveidt's suicide shortly after. As with the band's debut album, Kristian 'Necrolord' Wåhlin created the artwork.

Demoniac were a heavy metal band from New Zealand formed in Wellington in 1993 by singer and bass player Lindsay Dawson, guitarist Sam Totman and Drummer Steve Francis. They later moved to London, UK. Three of the members went on to form DragonForce. Their rather unusual musical style has often been labeled as "blackened power metal".

Neue Deutsche Härte Subgenre of rock music

Neue Deutsche Härte, sometimes abbreviated as NDH, is a subgenre of rock music that developed in Germany and Austria during the early-to-mid 1990s and during early 2000s. Alluding to the style of Neue Deutsche Welle, the term was coined by the music press after the 1995 release of the German rock and metal band Rammstein's first studio album Herzeleid.

Sacramentum is a melodic black metal band from Falköping, Sweden, formed by Nisse Karlén (vocals/guitar) in the summer of 1990 under the name of Tumulus. The band released three full-length studio albums and two demos. They are best known for their debut album Far Away from the Sun, which is often considered one of the best early melodic black metal releases.

Brazilian thrash metal is a musical movement that originated in the 1980s. Though not as large or well known as the North American or European thrash metal movements, it bridged the gap of the mid-1980s and the death metal scene later in the decade and the first-wave of black metal. Although some bands have become mainstream, the scene is an underground icon.

Root (band)

Root is a Czech black metal band.

Melodic metalcore is a fusion genre, incorporating elements of melodic death metal and metalcore; it has a heavy emphasis on melodic instrumentation, distorted guitar tones, palm muting, double bass drumming, blast beats, metalcore-stylized breakdowns, aggressive screaming, death growls, and clean singing. The genre has seen commercial success for employing a more accessible sound at times compared to other forms of extreme music. Many notable melodic metalcore bands have been influenced by At the Gates and In Flames.

Skeletonwitch Musical artist

Skeletonwitch is an American metal band from Athens, Ohio, formed in 2003. The band currently consists of lead guitarist Nate Garnette, rhythm guitarist Scott Hedrick, bassist Evan Linger, and vocalist Adam Clemans. Original vocalist Chance Garnette was fired from the band sometime in late 2014, or early 2015. In early 2018, drummer Dustin Boltjes left the band as well after a 7-year tenure. Jon Rice, formerly of Job for a Cowboy, is currently substituting on drums for live performances.

Thy Art Is Murder Australian deathcore band

Thy Art Is Murder is an Australian deathcore band from Blacktown, Sydney, that formed in 2006. The band consists of vocalist Chris "CJ" McMahon, guitarists Sean Delander and Andy Marsh, drummer Jesse Beahler and bassist Kevin Butler. Thy Art Is Murder has released five studio albums since formation.

<i>Far Away from the Sun</i> 1996 studio album by Sacramentum

Far Away from the Sun is the debut album of the Swedish black metal band Sacramentum. It was released through Adipocere Records in May 1996. The album features cover artwork created by Kristian "Necrolord" Wåhlin. The album's style has been compared to contemporaries such as Dissection and Unanimated, and the album is frequently considered an often-overlooked classic in the genre.

<i>Dear Desolation</i> 2017 studio album by Thy Art Is Murder

Dear Desolation is the fourth studio album by Australian deathcore band Thy Art Is Murder. The album was released on 18 August 2017 by Nuclear Blast. It is vocalist CJ McMahon's first album with Thy Art Is Murder since his reunion with the band in January 2017, and the band's last album with founding drummer Lee Stanton.


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