There are two things about black metal that make me love this sub-genre so much, and it is not its notoriety, ideology, the corpse-paint or its fascination with Satan. One is the atmosphere. The other is the musical experimentation of black metal bands. Yes, there is the ‘true’ kind of black metal, but then there are many other styles of black metal that have made it a very rich and interesting sub-genre. Here are four different bands, all of which have their roots in black metal but each one has its own sound, as examples of the diversity within the black metal sub-genre.
Diablery – The Eye
Diablery is a Greek band formed by guitarist Nimerius in 2008. The band released its second EP The Eye last year in November and is currently working on its debut full-length album. Musically, they can be best described as symphonic/atmospheric black metal a la Emperor (check out their cover of ‘With Strength I Burn’) and Dimmu Borgir, while lyrically they focus on philosophical issues, spirituality and the decay of organized religion. The Eye is an enjoyable 15-minute EP that will please fans of this brand of black metal.
Frostmoon Eclipse – The End Stands Silent
One of the oldest black metal bands in the Italian scene is Frostmoon Eclipse, which was established in 1994 in La Spezia, Liguria and has released five albums thus far. However, Frostmoon Eclipse is no ordinary black metal band; they mix the rawness, blast beats and high-pitched vocals of black metal with melancholic acoustic passages reminiscent of Opeth (the Opeth comparisons are a bit overused, but it’s the best example I can give – after all, comparing a band to Opeth is not a bad thing, in my view). The band’s latest output The End Stands Silent is a journey chock-full of heaviness and beautiful acoustic melodies worth experiencing.
Ptahil – For His Satanic Majesty’s Glory
And now for something slightly different. Created in Indiana, U.S. in 2009, Ptahil is a band that consists of two members who go by the names of Mhaghnuis (drums, vocals) and Luathca (vocals, guitars, bass). After the release of two demos and two EPs, the band released its debut album For His Satanic Majesty’s Glory last November. The band plays a mix of black and doom metal, with some punk and sludgy elements, while the lyrics are about rituals, sacrifices and (who else?) Satan. A very intriguing and evil release.
Stonehaven – Concerning Old-Strife and Man-Banes
Last but not least, another black metal band from the American Midwest, this time from Kansas City, is Stonehaven. Their second offering Concerning Old-Strife and Man-Banes was released in April 2012. The band’s music is much more straight-forward and primitive than the previous bands mentioned in this article, of the so-called ‘true Norwegian black metal’ style with a bit of a pagan/folk vibe. Comparisons with bands such as Taake are inevitable because of the similarity of the riffs as well as the vocals, however this album is a solid release with a great atmosphere.