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History Of The Black Metal Genre Music

History Of The Black Metal Genre Music

Black Metal, as a music genre, is somewhat strange as a brand of music and people often ask the question what the term means. Black metal can be described as a subgenre of the heavy metal type of music. The music style is characterized by high tempos, using heavily distorted bass guitars that are played with tremolo picking, untraditional song structure, raw recordings, laying strong emphasis on atmosphere and furnishing a strange outlook, including putting on a corpse painting and the use of pseudonyms.

The black metal generation can be grouped into two categories according to the generation in which they were introduced.

The First Wave

The first wave of black metal music was born in the 1980s. Many death metal and thrash members formed a prototype that became the black metal of the time. The wave brought bands like Venom, Mercyful Fate, Bathory, Celtic frost, and Hellhammer to the scene as the pioneer of this generation.

“This second wave was more versatile and creative in their style as groups developed their own style of music.”

The Second Wave

The second wave of black metal saw Norway spearhead the black metal scene with many of the artists from Norway origins such as Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone Immortal, Gorgoroth, Emperor, and Satyricon. This second wave was more versatile and creative in their style as groups developed their own style of music. The spread went all across the America and Europe. This also saw the rise of another Scandinavian country, Sweden, with the rise of Marduk, Dark Funeral, and Nifelheim. And this is where Regain Records came to the scene in 1997 to become one of the leading record labels of the time.

Black metal is often seen as the hostile kind of music and a form of religion of its own. Many artists are more to the extreme in their performances and anti-religious in their style.

“Most black metal artists use high-pitch guitars and treble guitars.”


Most black metal artists use high-pitch guitars and treble guitars that produce distorted tones. Fast, loud, chord progression and speedy playing is the hallmark of black metal music brand. Blast beats, double bass and use of the adequate musical instrument for the proper atmosphere is often used in their performances. Drumming is also on the fast rhythm, requiring expertise and stamina to perfect it.  The use of keyboard was also later introduced to add some effects in the style of play. This, basically, is used for creating atmosphere though it was initially used as the background sound.

Song Structure

Songs of black metal origin did not go with the traditional style where a chorus gets introduced alongside. The typical style of black metal is rather with lengthy instrumentation, which is often repetitive. The conventional lyrics and vocals of black metal are high-pitch, and rough with a lot of screams and shrieking. The lyrics are anti-religion based and comprise of mostly apocalyptic languages.

“Clothing and appearance is something significant with the black metal brand of music.”

Clothing and appearance is something significant with the black metal brand of music. Many outlooks are of black and white. Face painting, corpse painting, and sometimes with blood on the face is a form of appearance for performance. The albums of black metal music also bear this ideology of a cover that is just black and white, provocative, and atmospheric.


With limited resources of the earliest black metal group, using basement and homes was common which resulted in the “lo-fi” quality that is produced. The tradition of an underground root as an ideology also contributes to this. A common reason is that the music is originally not intended for the general public but to the black metal faithful. Things are really getting closer to the mainstream now, but the tradition is not forgotten.

The second wave of the black metal generation brought a move that the entire world has come to a better awareness of the black metal music. Great record labels such as Regain Records and others came into the scene. Signing the likes of Marduk, Gorgoroth, and Dark Funeral, Regain Records dominated the landscape with many releases, shows, and events across Europe and the America.

Per Gyllenback, the founder of Regain Records, is a man who places quality above quantity. The rest was a success story that the world will live to tell of the exploits of the time that saw great artists still shining the lights of black metal music.

Regain Records | Copyright 2017