Black Metal

author: DIII 503 date: 02/01/2010 category: the history of

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Black metal, as a genre, has its roots in the heavy metal movement that took place, in the 70s, in England namely the bands that were part of the "New Wave Of British Heavy Metal". One of those bands was Venom. Venom's songs were very different from the other NWOBHM bands like Iron Maiden and Motorhead. They used provokative lyrics like Satanism, Hell and, increasing their difference further, were intentionally producing lo-fi music. They also exhibited, for the first time, harsh, dissonant vocal production and took stage names (or peseudonyms). Their second studio album- named Black Metal- was the very cornerstone of the genre and the album titled song "BLACK METAL" has been covered by numerous black metal bands. Venom were not the only band that was doing things above par. Another pioneer of the genre was the Swedish thrash metal band Bathory. They showed similar musical patterns and lyrics like Venom and really started the black metal movement in Norway. But, at the beginning of the 90s, Bathory shifted their musical style to Viking Metal, with lyrics primarily centred around Norse mythology and the Winter. Nevertheless, Bathory is given considerable credit in the development of the black metal scene. Other early black metal bands include- the Swedish Celtic Frost, the Swiss Hellhammer and the Danish Merciful Fate and King Diamond. By virtue, these bands were not the true black metal that we see today, but they had that difference in their music that separated them from the rest of the metal scene. The first, true, black metal band, according to me, is the Norweigian band Mayhem. They were the first to really display the criteria of the genre. From them onwards, Norway produced a plethora of black metal bands which were, primary, Satanic. These bands came under considerable controversy and were accused of crimes including church arsons and murder. Probably the most notorious black metal musician is Vrg Vikernes, who after serving prison time for church arson, is serving a life sentence for murdering a fellow black metal musician, Euronymous of Mayhem. The genre, in Norway, was pioneered by bands such as- Mayhem, Darkthrone, Emperor, Immortal, Burzum, Enslaved, Gorgoroth and many other bands that came afterwards. The black metal scene spread to neighbouring countries Sweden and Finland and bands like Marduk and Dark Funeral of Sweden and Impaled Nazarene of Finland emerged. Only much later did black metal spread in America. The genre has evolved, somewhat, in various ways in the following years. Here, I will discuss the types of black metal: 01. Raw Black Metal: it's the very earliest form of black metal. The production quality is lo-fi and below par. Vocals areprimarily shrieked and high pitched. Guitars show wide use of tremolo picking and the basses are quite muted but still provided some atmosphere. The songs are based on the minor and harmonic scales to give a sombre and "unhappy" mood to the songs. The drums were fast paced and dissonant with blast beats. Reverberations are widely used. Guitar solos are a rarety in this form of black metal. 02. Melodic Black Metal: this is a much less harsher form of black metal. The guitar and drums tempo are varied to produce a finer sound with wide use of keyboards to create melodies. Eg. Catamenia, Graveworm 03. Symphonic Black Metal: a lot like melodic black metal, it only differs in that the genre uses orchestral instruments and symphonies to create an atmosphere and to create an epic sound. Bands like Dimmu Borgir have record songs using full orchestras. Eg. Dimmu Borgir, Anorexia Nervosa. 04. Blackened Death Metal: it is a fusion of black metal and death metal. The vocals may be shrieking and growlings, but guitar works are more complicated with wide use of palm mutings and solos. Drums also play blast beats. Eg. Rotting Christ, Naglfar.
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