Proclamation – Advent of the Black Omen
Genre: Black / Death
Spain’s Proclamation is essentially the counterpart to Blasphemy, as it’s clear that a lot of their influences come directly from them. Naturally, Proclamation fits under the banner of war metal for those reasons, but despite sounding like a mere clone of their Canadian peers, they still do their part in creating an immensely vicious slab of bestial terror. The malicious vocals, unrelenting riffs, barbaric solos, and crude production all converge to form a revolting slice of primitive blackened death that will destroy your soul. Advent of the Black Omen
is complete chaos, but it is strangely compelling at the same time.
“Hellbound Triumph” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A4IrIA4uzg
Purtenance - Member of Immortal Damnation
Hailing from Finland, Purtenance released some of filthiest death metal to come out of the region. Originally known as Purtenance Avulsion, they released one demo before shortening their name. Afterward they struck a record deal and released an EP and this full length. The unrefined production and guttural growls give this debut an undeniably putrid sound. Each song is loaded with slow, churning riffs matched with galloping double bass. The perfectly crafted plodding riffs are what really set this album apart from the others in the scene. They are all highly unique and equally memorable. Unfortunately the band split up in the same year this album was released, so it has become a relatively unknown gem.
“A Dark Cloud Arises” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaToUgnNs8k
Revenant – Prophecies of a Dying World
Genre: Death / Thrash
While death metal was about to reach the peak of its popularity in the early ‘90s, record labels such as Roadrunner and Nuclear Blast took a major interest in it, signing a copious number of bands. One of the bands Nuclear Blast signed was Revenant, a group from New Jersey who played a blend of death and thrash. Despite having a substantial record deal, the band never attained a large audience, and eventually broke up in the mid ‘90s with only one album under their belts. However, that one album is a masterpiece, accentuating the best elements of the genres. The vocals are remarkable, utilizing a higher pitched growl that is far superior to the low gutturals that were becoming more prominent as death metal developed. The drumming features numerous intriguing fills and the patterns are well thought out and executed with precision, flowing together perfectly. The songs are generally in the seven minute range focusing on compelling instrumental passages with an abundance of twisted riffs and outstanding solos. The album adds up to nearly an hour in length, so it may be a bit much to take in all in one listen, but each second of it is exceptional.
“Ancestral Shadows” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJnQjVpaX9M
Revenge - Triumph.Genocide.Antichrist
One of the most abrasive and hateful sounding bands, Revenge, hails from Canada and plays a small niche of black metal designated as “war metal”. This small fragment of the genre has relatively few bands, but has produced commendable material. The vocals are at the forefront of the mix, fittingly so, as they are absolutely sadistic. There’s no one that can match the insanity of James Read’s vile screams. The instruments compliment the vocals nicely, as each song relentlessly fast with a profuse amount of rapid fire blasting and lightning fills. Revenge has unleashed pandemonium that will leave the battlefield as a barren wasteland of torched flesh and reeking entrails.
“Heathen Hammer” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iTED4k8fS0
Sadistic Intent – Resurrection
In the midst of the Florida death metal movement, Sadistic Intent was busy creating their own pulverizing material on the opposite side of the country. Hailing from Los Angeles, they are one of the area’s first death metal bands, and they remain a powerful force to this day. Although they have never released a full length album they have received acclaim for their brand of primitive death metal, garnering them a strong cult following. Throughout the band’s early career they released a number of demos and a few EPs, one them being Resurrection. With pummeling riffs, perplexing solos, and possessed vocals, all the ingredients for soul wrenching death metal are present. The gritty production augments these elements nicely, making this small collection of songs completely astounding.
“Condemned in Misery” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UN3e_5Gpzhs
Sarcˇfago – INRI
Genre: Black / Thrash
Numerous extreme metal bands arose from the ’80s Brazilian scene, although aside from Sepultura, they generally stayed underground. One of these obscure bands was highly influential among the early black metal scene, writing a debut album that would echo across the continents. With fast, raw thrashing riffs enveloped in vicious screams and pounding drums Sarcˇfago made their name known. The production is nice and rough, giving it a truly rotten sound that only adds to the feel of the album. This unrefined and reckless brand of metal was unique at the time, inspiring countless other bands in their local scene and around the world.
“Black Vomit” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRVb4r3E_6o
Satanic Warmaster – Strength and Honour
When I was first exploring black metal Satanic Warmaster was one of the bands I came across while searching the web. I quickly found myself obsessed with the hypnotic riffs and chilling screams. I could feel the cold of the desolate forests deep within the Finnish heartland. This was the black metal I had craved and I couldn’t get enough of it. Satanic Tyrant Werwolf’s simplistic song structures manage to be perpetually compelling and full of mesmerizing riffs. Then there is the production, which despite being raw, is mixed perfectly and completely seduces the listener. This is pure, unadulterated black metal and to this day I believe it is one of the best albums in the genre.
“Wolves of Blood and Iron” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDDZstspff4
Teitanblood - Genocide Chants to Apolokian Dawn
Genre: Black / Death
In the era of modern black metal there are still a number of bands keeping the old traditions alive. Spain’s Teitanblood does just that, providing us with merciless, unrefined recordings rooted in the depths of hell. Their unorthodox song structures with sporadic guitar solos make them unlike the other bands in their scene. The perverse, inhuman vocals and crude production do their job to emit an unholy feel that cannot be matched. This blasphemous creation is only a brief experience but it could not be more outstanding.
“Leviathan Division” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iA-0FzQaF-w
Tsjuder – Desert Northern Hell
As the black metal scene has developed over the years, more and more bands have begun to change their style; some of these bands have done so successfully, while others failed miserably. Then there are the relatively few that do not stray from their path, instead refining their sound with each album. Tsjuder did just that, and by their third full length they had nearly achieved perfection. With a plethora of tremolo picking and relentless blast beats, Desert Northern Hell
is the epitome of Norwegian black metal. Despite most of the album being ripping fast there is still a nice amount of variance, including a fair number of slower sections and longer songs. It’s safe to say that this is one of the strongest black metal releases in recent years.
“Ghoul” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxvzRB0Ajew
Von – Satanic Blood
As black metal was beginning to truly take form, one band would end up having a large influence on the future of the genre. Von, a relatively unknown band from San Francisco, released a grand total of two demos before breaking up in 1992. The second demo, however, would have a profound impact on the scene. While many will criticize it for its repetitive song structure, this style would become prominent in the works of Burzum and many other bands to this very day. Not only was the simplistic nature of the songs alluring, but the unrefined production was as well. These elements combined sum up what many groups would attempt to replicate in the coming years. This demo seems to evoke either a love or hate reaction from people, either praising it for its cult sound or condemning it for being monotonous, but either way there is no denying that Satanic Blood
was that defining moment in the history of black metal.
“Satanic Blood” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=et0e3NL49GE