Black metal is a trend in metal music that originated in the early 1980s and has developed into its current form mainly in Norway, Sweden and Finland in the early 1990s. There are plenty of bands playing black metal all over the world, but the best known are mostly from the Nordic countries.
Black metal bands strive to create a gloomy and cold world of sound with fast-paced and chaotic songs from which low frequencies are almost completely blended away. The electric guitar is played as a fast tremolo, and the drums use fast blast beat technology. The vocals are usually high-pitched and differ from the low growl popular in death metal. The black metal tradition also includes intentionally simple production and poor sound quality.
The genre, and the lyrics in particular, are characterized by an extreme aggression against Christianity, its hatred of its alleged dual morality, and its reference to satanic worship, occultism, and pagan religions. Satan serves in black metal lyrics as a symbol of individualism and elitism, as well as rebellion against the prevailing norms. Some black metal bands lack religious themes in their lyrics and deal with topics like nature and darkness.
The first wave of black metal was born from thrash metal bands in the early 1980s, and its notable pioneers were Venom, Bathory, Mercyful Fate and Celtic Frost. The second wave developed at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, and its main bands were Norwegian. Black metal came to the fore especially through the bands Mayhem and Burzum and the related crimes and deaths. At the turn of the millennium, Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth gained considerable popularity with more commercial music that combined keyboards and vocal melodies with traditional black metal.
Individual references to Satan and the occult already appear in music much earlier than black metal. For example, Richard Wagner’s destruction of the Gods has seen themes reminiscent of black metal. Blues musician Robert Johnson, for his part, sang about selling the soul to the devil. However, composers like Wagner and Johnson had little influence on the birth of black metal. Heavy metal was born in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The best known of the bands that developed the genre were the British Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, who performed heavy, blues-influenced rock. Of greatest importance was Black Sabbath, whose music was gloomy and oppressive compared to contemporary bands. The lyrics dealt with occultism, the devil, and other frightening subjects. The theme was inspired by horror films, but it also reflected members ’interests. Occultism was popular with rock musicians in the 1960s and 1970s anyway. In addition to Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, the subject was addressed by many more marginal bands, the most notable of which were Black Widow and Coven. However, the impact of the latter two on the extreme metal remained small. Musically, the main role models of the extreme metal were Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Motörhead. Interpreted by Judas Priest, heavy metal became increasingly fast-paced and offensive as the blues influences gradually disappeared. The band was also influential in foreign music. The leather clothing, rivets and chains worn by its members are still popular with many black metal musicians. Motörhead’s music was rock & roll and punk influenced, fast-paced and rough in style but powerful. This is how Motörhead paved the way for more aggressive metal bands. Favorite face paintings by black metal bands were common in the horror rock of the 1970s. The main pioneer was the Englishman Arthur Brown, who used corpse paint-type make-up as early as 19