Let me just start by saying this is not a list of ‘Best Albums’ or ‘Best Black Metal’ or ‘trOOest shit’ or whatever. There are way too many lists out there already and opinions are like assholes, as we all know. This is an elitist/douchism-free zone. This is simply six albums you should check out if you have an interest in black metal but don’t know where to start, or already consider yourself a fan but want to explore the roots and past of the genre, or wish to graduate to something more ‘true’ but aren’t sure where to start or don’t want to waste your time sifting through the duds.
These are my personal favorites from my own exploration into the mythical Norwegian Second Wave of Black Metal, the real crazy bastards who burnt churches and killed each other. There was plenty of controversy and violence during this era, and it spawned thousands of imitators in the years to come, but what people sometimes forget is that there was some sweet music being made as well, and that’s the main purpose of this ‘list’; to remove the focus from the scene and the people creating the music and bring it back to the music itself. Give these albums a shot if you dare, if only for your ongoing musical education.
In the interest of variety, I picked six different bands and limited it to one album per band. And again, this is not a ‘best of’ list; these albums appear in no particular order and are not meant to imply that this represents each band’s best work. These are simply six of my favorites from the early to mid 90s Second Wave of Black Metal, that can provide you with a jumpoff point for your own exploration. You decide what you like best, alright? Alright. Without further ado…
This album is foreboding given its title and upside down cross artwork, but musically it’s just a charmer, man. It is remarkably easy to listen to and contains enough variety and layers to stay interesting for its “wow, that’s it?” length of 25 minutes. Nuanced drumwork throughout anchors the carefully constructed wall of tremolo picked guitars and snarling vocals. The songs are interestingly arranged and patiently executed, resulting in a classic intense but hypnotic black metal experience. Despite Gorgoroth’s terrifying image, Antichrist is the type of black metal album that just puts a smile on your face.
Stay tuned, because there’s more where this came from!