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10.05.15 TheSpirit's Black Metal 100 Pt.3 09.21.15 Who Wanna Plug?
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TheSpirit's Black Metal 100 Pt.3

An ongoing series of lists that feature my favorite black metal albums of all time. Expect to see artists from every BM subgenre; expect to see "mainstream" artists next to their more underground peers; expect to see some artists making multiple entries. Consider all of these albums as recommendations and records that you need to hear. This is part 3
Unspeakable Cults

I'm not an overly big fan of the Hellenic black metal scene. Though I love me some symphonic elements in my black metal, I can't say i'm a fan of the way most bands from Greece employ them in their music. That being said, Unspeakable Cults is one of my favorite black metal albums ever, and the peak of Hellenic black metal. Richly atmospheric, each song is filled with keyboard lines that have me longing to visit the Mediterranean. Usually that's a turn-off but two things keep it going strong; how tastefully they are done and how well the guitars go with it. Ditching the raw Venom aesthetic for more classic metal inspired riffs, the music is rife with strong, melodic passages. Unspeakable Cults is epic without the cheese, and a must hear.

On the other side of the black metal spectrum is Hallow, another project of Mark Mccoy that incorporates heaping doses of noise into its style. It's bleak analog fury at its best; harsh, minimalistic and repetitive. As with most McCoy black metal projects there are hints of punk that weave their way in and out of the grim battering, making it weirdly catchy at times. Definitely one of his best projects.
3Cradle of Filth
Dusk and Her Embrace

Cradle of Filth is easily one of my favorite black metal bands, and Dusk and Her Embrace is easily one of their top albums (honestly it's hard for me to choose a favorite between this, Cruelty..., and Midian). I feel like it captures the eternal Autumn of England so well; when I listen to it, I'm suddenly lost in a forest on a brisk Fall morning, with a light rain falling from the overcast sky. A lot of this is due to the obvious Gothic symphonics, which are undeniably British, as well as the complete appropriation of classic metal influences play in a black metal context. Dani's screams are amazing here, but like always he's diverse, occasionally going guttural and of course, opting to provide some lines in a spoken word style. The melodies and dynamicism throughout are very impressive, making Dusk... a must listen.
4Em Dath Rir
The First Demonstration

Em Dath Rir are one of those bands that you can't judge by their cover; before I had actually listened to them, I thought they were just another trashy raw black metal band. Incidentally, I was right, but they are also more than that. I was not expecting the melodic depth that came with all the rawness. They are surprisingly introspective and powerful for this type of band. Add in their use of repetition to really drill them in your head and you're left with one of the most underrated black metal bands/demos of you've never heard.
Transilvanian Hunger

If you think A Blaze In The Northern Sky or Under A Funeral Moon should be here instead, go make your own fucking list. Or check out later installments, because both albums make an appearance down the line. Transilvanian Hunger is my favorite Darkthrone though, and It's impossible to deny it's place in black metal history. It spawned the melody driven raw black metal scene basically by itself, while remaining a pinnacle of how it's done best.
The Complex Void of Negativity

Kathaaria are an unfairly unknown black metal from Germany, who are probably one of the only band's with a "progressive" prefix worth giving a shit about. The music is technical, labyrinthine, and at times exceedingly melodic, but the band somehow always conveys they are just a simple black metal band at heart, influenced and revering all the same classics we do. If there was one album on this list that I would recommend over the others, it's this one. Listening to this is just an awesome experience.
7Hierophant (IT)
Great Mother: Holy Monster

Hierophant are an Italian band that plays an amalgam of crust, sludge, and black metal. Imagine Young and In The Way if they were actually good. The black metal seems to take the background a lot of the time here, but you can definitely tell it's still the driving force behind their unrepentant brutality. Great fucking stuff.
8Cara Neir
Stagnant Perceptions

Cara Neir are one of the more amorphous black metal bands around today. Sometimes they're grindcore, sometimes they're blackgaze, but here they are an excellent combination of black metal and screamo. The two play equal parts, with terrifying tremolos and twinkling interludes often going hand in hand. For a two piece they are a surprisingly realized and mature project that always has something new up their sleeve. They are one of my favorite black metal bands overall, and this is my favorite album by them.
9Wrath of the Weak
Wrath of The Weak

Wrath of the Weak are a black metal/noise/ambient one man band who are perfect for just lying back and losing yourself in. It all coalesces together to just become this wave of hypnotic euphoria. It's very Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, but not in a shitty way like every Lustre album. There really isn't too much more to say other than this is one of the black metal albums great for popping in on a rainy day and escaping through
Quietly, Undramatically

This album was quite big a few years back here but has since fallen to the wayside. This record is kind of special to me because Woe are from Philadelphia, which I reside right on the outskirts of and spend an inordinate amount of my time. Quietly, Undramatically is a straightforward black metal made for the modern age. It has all the tendencies of the classics, but there is something new, and polished about it at the same time. It never feels like it's aiming for that though, which makes it even better. It's super melodic, and has a subtle hardcore vibe running through it as well. Overall, it's fucking excellent.
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