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Black Metal

The first wave of black metal emerged in the 80s with bands such as Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer. This initial wave focused on combing a faster paced music with occult, paganistic imagery as introduced by Black Sabbath, whilst still maintaining a dark, brooding atmosphere. In the early 1990s, a second wave resulted from a slew of Norwegian bands (Mayhem, Emperor, Burzum) aiming to push the limits of extreme music. The riffs became fiercer, and the bands became more dedicated to the occultist theme. In some cases, this dedication to brutality extended beyond the music and led to infamous events such as Christian church burnings and even murders. 

The guitarist of Mayhem, known as ‘Euronymous’ photographed the suicide of the band’s singer and released it as a bootleg cover of the album, Dawn of the Black Hearts. Euronymous was also later murdered by Varg Vikernes, founder of the music project Burzum. The music maintains an emphasis on atmosphere and dark imagery but includes brutal tremolo picked guitar riffs as well as dissonant chords and notably low production quality. The growling vocals are harsh and often high in pitch.

Notable artists:

Venom

Bathory

Mayhem

Emperor

Burzum

Darkthrone

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