Starter Kit: War Metal/Bestial Black Metal

Starter Kit analyzes the ins-and-outs of some of the more obscure and niche sub-genres within the metal spectrum and offers a small group of bands that best represent the sound. Read other Starter Kit entries here.

In all honesty, war metal somewhat misrepresents what this black metal subgenre has to offer. Such a name implies that these bands delve into the kitsch of folk metal’s elven songs and Viking bards. Bestial black metal is a far more accurate moniker, as it captures the unfiltered primacy of the subgenre and its desire to tear the listener to indistinguishable shreds. In order to achieve this, BBM acts begin with a raw, erratic black metal core, add gratuitous doses of ferocious death and thrash metal and channel the result through performances so blisteringly fast and aggressive that comparisons to grindcore are justified. The subgenre is admittedly small (residing primarily in Canada), but listeners willing to dig through the subgenre’s black-and-white occult covers, obsession with goats and punishing sound will be rewarded, and this Starter Kit is a great place to begin:

blasphemy

Widely regarded as the impetus for the subgenre, Fallen Angel of Doom allowed Blasphemy to channel the early BBM inspiration of Sarcófago and demonstrate that the forests of Canada differ greatly from those in Fennoscandia. Fallen Angel of Doom presented a sound quite ahead of its time that took several years to full disseminate into BBM’s preset state. While other metal subgenres grow more intense after its pupation, Blasphemy set an exceptionally high and competitive standard with their proper debut, infusing so much death/thrash brutality into their brand of black metal that it is not always apparent which genre is most prevalent. As logical as it is to label a genre’s foundational record as its best starting point, the undeniable quality of Fallen Angel of Doom has maintained it as perhaps the greatest entry into BBM’s catalogue.

black witchery

Known best for their eminent split with Conqueror (an early incarnation of our next entry), Black Witchery went on to embody BBM with their proper debut Desecration of the Holy Kingdom. Their sunny Floridian origin necessitated that Black Witchery did their homework, evidenced by the Blasphemy (“Ritual”) and Sarcófago (“Deathrash”) covers within the tracklisting. Desecration of the Holy Kingdom contains an emphasis on the harsh frigidity of black metal which still retains BBM’s standard death/thrash marinade.

revenge

My own personal introduction into BBM was Revenge, whom I discovered through a completely unrelated source:

MC Ride - Revenge

MC Ride of Death Grips

Continuing the legacy of their Canadian brethren Blasphemy, everything about Revenge’s approach screams brutality and perfectly embodies BBM’s ethos. Armed with terse, cryptic album titles, simplistically chilling cover art and nonstop blasts, riffs and demonic growls, Revenge are easily the greatest  BBM band currently bastardizing the subgenre. This has not gone unnoticed, as they recently earned an opening gig with Mayhem and Watain and have very clearly influenced Nails‘ most recent singles. Revenge is as obvious a choice as Blasphemy and should be spun by anyone seriously interested in delving into the world of BBM.

archgoat

 Obviously honing in on the satanic lens of their traditional Finnish BM peers, Archgoat perform some of the most heavy and extreme BBM available. This is aided by the use of deep grotto growls, sometimes pitch shifted down to Satan’s level. Similar to Black Witchery, black metal plays a prominent role in Archgoat’s approach, which still capitalizes on BBM’s death/thrash extremity (particularly the former). The band’s latest release The Apocalyptic Triumphator is also an excellent record; spin it here.


Further Listening:

Bestial Warlust – Vengeance War ‘Till Death (1994)
Naked Whipper – Painstreaks (1995)
Conqueror – War Cult Supremacy (1999)
Abominator – Nuctemeron Descent (2003)
Goat Penis – Inhumanization (2004)
Teitanblood – Death (2014)

-Scott Murphy

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