Dark City, Dead Man, Black Metal

Hark, O’Nightspirit
Father of my dark self

In this post, black metal is used as a loose umbrella term. Whenever I use it, I could very well have meant death metal or post-metal or viking metal or folk metal and the meaning wouldn’t change one bit. Since BM is my first choice in metal, it gets preference over other extreme metal genres. The idea is to get people off phony twats like Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift and into actual music.

From within this realm, wherein Thou dwelleth
By this lake of blood,

From which we feed to breed

Music can work it’s magic in mysterious ways. What appears as mere noise and incoherent sound to some can be the most gratifying acoustic experience for others. Certain forms of music inherently lend themselves to this philosophy. Most of the music I listen to falls in this category. I have lost count of the times my co-passengers have begged for mercy to their ears when I put on some classic black metal while driving. It always makes me wonder: What is it about black metal (or death metal for that matter) that some people just plain fail to appreciate.? Enquiring about it yields the usual response, “This is no music, this is ear-splitting headache-inducing noise.”

I call silently for Thy presence,
As I lay this oath

Initially, I just labelled these people as lesser mortals with sub par taste in music. Now, actualising a handful of mainstream-to-underground success stories later, I believe there is still some hope left for these unbelievers. They only need to get over the initial hostility towards what isn’t pleasing at first sight (or in this case, hearing) to truly enjoy the beauty that lies hidden beneath. Once they do, there is no looking back. If grass were metal, it’d blacker this side of the fence.

May this night carry my will
And may these old mountains

Forever remember this night

Black metal is an expensive genre to get into.! It consists of lightning fast tempos, equally fast drumming, distorted guitars, high-pitched shrieks and screams and almost incomprehensible vocals, often simultaneously to create a barrage of sound so complex that only a really good set of speakers (or earphones) can do full justice to it. Coupled with the fact that most BM albums have less-than-average production quality, try listening on a cheap trashy gear and you will only hear half the instruments playing insipidly with occasional silly interjections in place of the nasty shrieks and screams. The earphones that ship with most PMPs are generally sacrilegious to the sanctity of black metal. So before getting into BM, do your ears a favour and get into a music store first.

May the forest whisper my name
And may the storm bring these words

To the end of all world

When listening to black metal, surrender yourself to the chaos. Lay down all your defenses and let the aural madness seep into every cell of your being. Let it assimilate with your blood and circulate to every inch of your body. Feel the auditory majesty of the music possess your physical self and control it like a puppeteer. Let the lyrics flow into your brain and saturate it with thoughts of ancient epic battles and human sacrifices inside cavernous fire-lit caves and an inescapable sense of impending doom. Casual listening is an exercise in futility. Black metal reveals it’s true form only to those who seek it with a devoted ear.

May the wise moon be my witness
As I swear on my honour
In respect of my pride and darkness itself

That I shall rule by the blackest wisdom

Once you get over the initial hiccups to become a “tr00 m3t4lh34d” and a “h4rdc0r3 h34db4ng3r”, you will discover that there exist more metal bands out there than you can listen to, even if you pick a new one each day till you perish. Head over to Encyclopaedia Metallum to know the exact numbers (78217 metal bands as of today). Figuring out the truly good ones can become quite a daunting task. Going by the general opinion and ratings doesn’t help much either since the hype surrounding some bands (Mayhem, I am looking right at you) has reached such epic proportions that the fanboys will have you believe their band’s music is the best thing since protected sex. So, I will post a few bands here that I believe are truly deserve all the accolades they get along with my favorite album from them.

O’Nightspirit
I am one with thee
I am the eternal power
I am the Emperor.!

1. Emperor

Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk

Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk

Genre : Black Metal

The fact that I intersperse the lyrics from the opening track (Al Svartr) of this album with this post should itself speak about the high regards in which I hold this masterpiece. The second track – Ye Entrancemperium – starts with the fastest fucking riff I have ever heard, and ends with an even faster one.! Nothing like this album to get your blood pumping and testosterone levels high. This album along with the equally magnificent “In The Nightside Eclipse” cements Emperor’s place far above their contemporaries in Black Metal in my collection.

Recommended Albums:

  • Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk
  • In The Nightside Eclipse

2. Burzum

Hvis Lyset Tar Oss

Hvis Lyset Tar Oss

Genre: Black Metal

One-man project by the most notorious man in the history of Metal, Varg Vikernes. He murdered a fellow band member by stabbing him 23 times, set ablaze atleast three Christian churches in Norway, is a self-proclaimed racist and a neo-Nazist and has been sentenced to 21 years in prison. But who cares as long as he produces albums like “Hvis Lyset Tar Oss”. It consists of four songs, two of which (the title song and Inn I Slottet Fra Drommen) are mediocre, one of which (Tomhet) is intensely atmospheric and breathtakingly beautiful while the fourth one (Det Som Engang Var) is heralded by many as the song Burzum was born to write. His vocals sound like a cross between the helpless cries of a man set on fire and an ancient feral ghoul.

Recommended Albums:

  • Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
  • Filosofem

3. Moonsorrow

Verisäkeet

Verisakeet

Genre: Folk Metal + Black Metal

Not strictly Black Metal, as the band combines the choruses of good ol’ folk music with the brutality of metal. They prefer to call their sound “epic heathen metal”. But genres be damned.! This is one of the most epic and inspiring albums I have had the pleasure of listening. By inspiring, I mean the kind of feeling that makes you want to assemble a bunch of friends and start your own band to perform live in front of 10,000 roaring fans. The melodies here stick with you for a long time, and since you can’t really hum them (trust me, I have tried), you just end up listening to the album again and again. Words fail to do justice to the feeling of epicness this album generates. It is one of the must-listen-before-you-die albums for fans of any genre of music.

Recommended albums:

  • Verisäkeet
  • Kivenkantaja

Other bands that I listen to include:

  • Opeth
  • Cult Of Luna
  • Isis
  • Mayhem
  • Agalloch
  • maudlin of the Well
  • Rudra
  • Ulver

The above list should keep you busy for a few months. Metal is a kind of genre that has many talented and skilled bands that are yet to have there big break into the limelight. Sites like Encyclopaedia Metallum and Youtube are great places to discover such unearthed gems.

Winds and storms, embrace us now
Lay waste the light of day
Open gates to darker lands
We spread our wings and fly away.!

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