My personal entrance into the unholy realm of Black Metal and, to date, unrivalled in grimness – lyrically, musically, and in terms of sound engineering. No mids, just high range and bass. Had the many copycats of later years chosen this as blueprint instead of Transilvanian Hunger, who knows how Black Metal would sound today?
Nietzsche wrote: “If you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you“. Well, Filosofem is the maelstrom which grabs you and drags you so far beneath the surface that, even if you break through again, the feeling of it will never, ever, quite leave you. One of the most unique and powerful albums ever written.
One of the first bands to apply the Swedish fondness for melodies to the grim reality of Norwegian Black Metal, and certainly one of the most influential ones for decades to come.
With Celtic Frost and Samael, Switzerland has its own share of ground breaking bands. Although conveying a similar feeling as Bathory’s “Under the Sign…”, Worship Him makes the list because of its almost doomesque utilization of mid- to down tempo range. Into the Pentagram!
About that orthodox wave: Behexen did that first, years ahead of the hype and with a truly unique style of writing and composing.
Formed when about every other kid in Norway founded his own Darkthrone-clone, Manes always stood out from the mass, as they had something eerie and otherworldly about them. While probably formed too late to be truly influential, I hope that putting them on this list wins them some of the attention they deserve. Also, their later (only marginally Black Metal-related) stuff is worth checking out. Do it!
Blunt Finnish occult brutality! While “simple” is a euphemism for the riffing, the heavily distorted vocals and overall dark atmosphere make more than up for this.
Deathspell Omega are obscure and legendary at the same time, and it is hard to pick a favourite. Paracletus, however, is the perfect fusion between their earlier, more traditional phase and their highly ambitious, almost jazz-like work of later years. Catchy melodies are paired with sophisticated arrangements and culminate in the most powerful release of DSO so far.
Mgła have received widespread attention with the release of this album, and every bit is as deserved as fans and critics claim. Their previous EPs set a high mark, but with their debut, Mgła excel in what they do best – writing one killer riff after the other, and combine them with the bleakest, most intelligent lyrics of Black Metal nowadays.
15) Lunar Aurora – Andacht (Cold Dimensions, 2007)