Trve Kvlt Black Metal

I have seen way to many Black Metal 'lessons' written by people who obviously do NOT know about this incredible genre beyond the information of the Inner Circle on Wikipedia. So, I've decided to write a lesson on the grimmest of metal know to man... THE DARK AND DESOLATE AWAITS!

Trve Kvlt Black Metal
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I have seen way to many Black Metal 'lessons' written by people who obviously do NOT know about this incredible genre beyond the information of the Inner Circle on Wikipedia. So, I've decided to write a lesson on the grimmest of metal know to man... THE DARK AND DESOLATE AWAITS!
  • EADGHE Standard E tuning
  • Plug guitar into amp. Set amp to 8 Treble 3 Mid 3 Bass 4 Reverb
  • Dim lights in room. This is not a time for light and happiness...

    Lesson 1: Power Of The North

    To begin with Ill start you off with an easy riff. Remember, Black Metal is about creating atmosphere and this can often be created with the simplest of riffs such as... Beherit - "Gates Ov Nanna"
    G -------------4-4--------------------
    D 4--4--4-4-4--2-2--4--4--4-4-4--3-3--
    A 2--2--2-2-2-------2--2--2-2-2--1-1--
    
    See... no palm muting... just plain, hard wrath! Lets add a slide or two to our ritualistic powerchords... Torgeist - "Sweet Death":
    D -----------------5--------
    A 7--8--7-7/8/7/8--5--------
    E 5--6--5-5/6/5/6--3--------
    
    YESSS!!!!!

    Lesson 2: Blizzard Beasts

    Now to introduce you to one of the most important technique to black metal (second only to knowing how to apply corpsepaint), TREMOLO PICKING! Pick a string, any string. Then pick it going down down. Good, now pick it with the pick going up. Up then down etc. Do it fast this is essential to learning the frostbitten rites of black metal. Heres a few examples: ' = one tremolo pick Mayhem - "Freezing Moon":
    A --------7'''------------7'''8'''
    E 0'''6'''----6'''0'''6'''--------
    
    Now thats blasphemous!!!! Lets try tremolo picking with 2 strings... Satanic Warmaster - "Where Eternity Awaits":
    H --------------------------------------------------------5'''''''
    G 5'''''''2'''''''''''5'''2'''4'''5'''''''2'''''''4'''''''''''''''
    D 2'''''''''''''''3'''''''''''''''2'''''''''''''''5'''''''--------
    
    Do you feel that breeze... Now lets check out a heavier side of Black Metal. Lets add palm muting to this cacophonous filth. Palm muting is achieved by putting the palm of your picking hand on the bottom part of the... Nevermind. You already know this. Time to check out some more... X = palm mute Satanic Warmaster - "Blood Ov Our Fathers":
    D ------------------------3---3---
    A ----3-------5-------3---1---1---
    E 0-0-1-0-0-0-3-0-0-0-1-0---------
      X X     X X     X X            
    
    Nice and chunky. Now were gonna fuse palm muting and tremelo picking into a vortex of midwinter rage!!! Some Sh-t I Made Up - "Fire Ov Blackness Reigns Upon Those Damned In The Deeps": T=tremolo
    G ------------------------------------7-T-T-6-T-T-
    D 4-----4-----4-----4-----5-----5-----4-T-T-T-T-T-
    A 2-222-2-222-2-222-2-222-2-222-2-222-------------
    
    Continued
        XXX   XXX   XXX   XXX                         
    D 5-----5-----4-----4-----------------------------
    A 2-222-2-222-2-222-2-222-----5-----5-----7-/3--3-
    E ------------------------0-0-3-0-0-3-0-0-5-/1--1-  
        XXX   XXX   XXX   XXX X X   X X   X X         
    

    Lesson 3: Darkchords

    This is VERY important to creating Burzumic ambience. No palm mutes, tremolos or slides. Just depressive desolation... Burzum - "En Ring Til A Herske":
    G ------0-------0-----------0-------0-----------0-------0-----
    D ----2---2---2---2-------2---2---2---2-------2---2---2---2---
    A --2-------------------2-------------------2-----------------
    E 0---------0---------0---------0---------0---------0---------
    
    Continued
    G ------0-------0-----------0---------0---------0---------0---
    D ----2---2---2---2-------5---------5---------5---------5-----
    A --2-------------------5---------5---------5---------5-------
    E 0---------0---------3---------3---------3---------3---------
    
    Continued
    G --------------------------0---------0---
    D ----0---------0-------4---------4-------
    A --4---4-----4---4-------4---------4-----
    E 2---------2---------2---------2---------
    
    Once you've got that down try doing the same with these chords:
    e -----0--12-------7---------------
    H -----1--10---0---8-----------0---
    G -0---2---0---9---9---0---0--10---
    D -9---3---0--10---0---9---6---7---
    A 10-----------0------10---7---8---
    E -0-------------------7---8---0---
    
    Add some tremolo to the chords... Behexen - "Blessed Be The Darkness":
    G ------9'10'-9'-7'-------------------------------
    D ---9'------------10'-9'-------9'10'-9'-7'-------
    A 7'-------------------------7'------------10'-9'-
    E ------------------------8'----------------------
    
    Hoped you enjoyed this lesson and discovered some new Black Metal! Heres some bands to check out: Bathory, Graveland, Moonblood, Gorgoroth, Darkthrone, Judas Iscariot, Drowning The Light, Wigrid, Thy Light, Grimlair, SAD, Sapthuran, Weakling, Xasthur, Watain, Herbstregen, Goatmoon, Demoncy, Mutiilation, Tsjuder, Obtained Enslavement. "The northern winds carried a vision of a time yet to be, when the cold breath of evil once ascends from its throne"-Satanic Warmaster.
  • 111 comments sorted by best / new / date

    comments policy
      theogonia777
      It's definitely not bad at all, better than any other black metal lesson I've seen on UG, but it's still kind of off. One big thing that you missed that is an essential concept in a lot of black metal is the idea of... I'm not sure what you would call it, but in a lot of tremolo picked riffs, a very common thing to do is to play a diad, and keep one note (usually the lower of the two) the same, while moving the higher note. A good example of this is the main riff to Darkthrone's signature tune "Transilvanian Hunger". If you notice, they play an open note that remains static during a series of changes on the higher string, which cause several different intervals and a sense of motion that is not present in most other subgenres. Also mentioning frequent chromaticism and use of atonality would have been good, but overall a this was well done. I like the way it was written. It kind off as the perfect balance of being serious and being satirical.
      benjixoath
      i think regarding keeping the lower string the same it's called a drone or pedal note
      shreddymcshred
      He covers that technique in lesson 2, "Where Eternity Awaits"
      theogonia777
      He gives an example, but he doesn't properly explain the concept. Like I said, this is a very important concept in certain strains of black metal. Bands like Drudkh, Arckanum, and Wolves in the Throne Room would be a couple of examples of bands that employ that sort of movement.
      pinguinpanic
      Also, you could have done a bit on chord choice. Like how black metal often just completely ignores major chords and just uses minor instead.
      Absurder22
      THE GOLDEN ANSWER!! I to find this to be one of the most important melodic techniques in black metal an am astounded more people don't mention it.
      Basti95
      One does not simply give a lesson on how to Black Metal. (but good effort)
      Lord Ba'Zuulizx
      Just letting everyone konw, Im a completely self-taught guitarist, so im sorry if some of the terminology is off. Also the black metal terminology is kind of a sarcasm -style humor. Also, this whole thing was improvised and took about 1 hour to write. Hope you enjoyed it. Cheers, o!!!
      Scourge441
      The advice I'd tell people about black metal is to look beyond the second wave. There's the first wave stuff like Bathory and Celtic Frost, obviously, but then there's bands like Deathspell Omega who started off aping the second wave and then took it somewhere completely different. And there's also the Greek scene, which sounds more murky and sludgy than cold and grim. And there's bestial black metal bands like Blasphemy, Revenge, and Proclamation, who just create the rawest, filthiest stuff you'll ever hear.
      JadenCaruso
      if this was any more kvlt, it would spray corpsepaint onto your face through the monitor.
      Carnal Elect
      EADGHE Standard E tuning EADGHE H
      theogonia777
      Yes. In many places, the H note is still used. I don't really feel like explaining it in detail here, so you can look it up on Wikipedia or whatever. Basically, in some places, H is our B, and their B is our Bb.
      Riffmast
      Black Metal is not about mere riffs, the structure and total aesthetic being done correctly is what separates the legends from the clones.
      theogonia777
      I'd like to see you write a black metal lesson. And I don't mean that in a sarcastic "well let's see you try it way." I'd genuinely like to see your take on a black metal lesson.
      JD Close
      I was wondering why it was only three stars, then I saw that the rating was 6.6. Now I know why
      ThrashRaptor
      I saw the 'H' in the tuning and I instantly knew this guy was serious. Good lesson, instead of pasting some riffs from Black Metal songs, you actually outlined thematic elements of the music.
      mizerama
      Here are some iconic black metal albums. These are a good start if you haven't listened to black metal before and have some experience with death/thrash metal. Dissection - Storm of the Light's Bane Appreciate the structure and atmosphere of the songs, strongly influenced by classical music. Darkthrone - Soulside Journey Hear what makes truly evil sounding riffage. Immortal - Sons of Northern Darkness See how dark riffs can attain melody, but not have any warmth. Dimmu Borgir - Stormblast Quintessential black metal with keyboards explores a symphonic take of extreme metal in general. Mayhem - De Mysteriis dom Sathanas Grindy, tremelo-laden songs showcase all black metal techniques. With a notable vocal style and hypnotizing atmosphere, this album is likely a benchmark for all black metal.
      guitar/bass95
      Might I add Transilvanian Hunger and Deathcrush for their cult status, Out From the Dark because of Deads vocals, Enthrone Darkness Triumphant because of its pure geniousness and Filosofem for its atmosphere. Also, some never albums such as Casus Luciferi, Carriers of Dust, Misologie and Lammendam are definitely worth listening.
      guitar/bass95
      I meant "newer" not never by the way.
      mizerama
      I was going to put Transylvanian Hunger and Deathcrush on that list instead of SoND and DMdS, but decided against it. They are pretty hard to listen to if you don't like black metal already; most people won't appreciate the classic black metal production, which of course is the whole point of those albums.
      5t0rM
      Use two minor chords separated by half tone interval for ultimate Blackness. Just do like full-distortion F minor, then E minor. There you go...
      iommi600
      Good article, but you're missing something: "Or, if everything else fails, you can buy yourself a keyboard, kill someone, be jailed and make awesome black ambient stuff while you're trying to not be buttraped."
      Hamsterish
      I enjoyed the lesson. As someone who has never listened to Black Metal, it's nice to see this almost introductory lesson to the genre, enough to have me interested in listening to some and trying it out myself. Which takes me to the second point, nice to see some band suggestions for further listening. The only thing I'm not so clear on is the tremelo picking, is it just fast alternate picking, or something slightly different? Overall, not too bad a lesson, and thoroughly enjoyed the use of dramatic language in it.
      guitar/bass95
      Tremolo picking means alternate picking a single note, if you shred some fast guitar solo it's called alternate picking since you pick up and down, but it's not tremolo picking since the note changes constantly. If you then repeatedly play the same note fast with alt picking like in the lessons examples, it's called tremolo picking.
      Louthesnakeman
      Why all the "ov" etc? Is it 'true black metal' to mess words up? anyway, nice lesson.
      Absurder22
      It comes from either Polish or Ukranian bands spelling kult, but in their alphabet v = U, or something to that effect.
      Asvarox
      Not sure about Ukranian, but technically in Polish alphabet there's no such letter as "v" (we do have ąłęźż and so on to cheer us up). I always thought that u is replaced by v because these two look similar, but v is more true