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02.24.16 TheSpirit's Black Metal 100 Pt.502.18.16 I'm (not) a Satanist
02.04.16 Black Twilight Circle bands ranked02.01.16 Trapped On A Desert Island...
01.31.16 Late Night Black Metal Digs01.11.16 Metal Up Yr Keister
12.28.15 TheSpirit's Hardcore Digs12.27.15 TheSpirit's Black Metal Labels - FALLOW
12.14.15 TheSpirit's Black Metal 100 Pt.4 12.13.15 the five minute list pt.2
12.09.15 TheSpirit's Top10of1510.11.15 the five minute list
10.05.15 TheSpirit's Black Metal 100 Pt.3 09.21.15 Who Wanna Plug?
09.20.15 TheSpirit's Black Metal 100 Pt.2 09.10.15 TheSpirit's Black Metal 100 Pt.1
08.13.15 Black Twilight Circle discography revie06.19.15 looking for ptc contributors
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TheSpirit's Black Metal 100 Pt.5

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.
1Fell Voices

Fell Voices second album is easily a modern black metal classic. Usually I am able to separate albums I personally believe are classic with albums that I would claim are classic within the genre, but I confidently believe Fell Voices belongs is the latter. There is no band that fuses drone, ambient, and black metal better. The way they structure their songs so each element coalesces into this putrid black mass of chaos and noise nothing less than perfect. Each of the two songs may be a 20 minute monolith, and yet they pass all too quickly. My favorite aspect is the production; there's something about it that leaves your mind to fill in spaces of the music that may or may not exist. It creates a listening experience that is unique to each individual that hears it. Over time what you hear in these spaces may change, making this album a pleasure to revisit while remaining fresh, even years later. Listening to this album is an experience unlike any other.
2Clandestine Blaze
Falling Monuments

Mikko Aspa is an unsung hero of extreme metal. Though best known for his work with Deathspell Omega, everything he touches is filthy gold; whether it's the excruciatingly drawn-out funeral doom of Stabat Mater or the psychedelic sludge of Fleshpress, quality is assured if Mikko is involved. His black metal act Clandestine Blaze is no exception, and Falling Monuments is my favorite album released by this project. He makes straightforward black metal thrilling. "Call of Warrior" features a punk-stomp reminiscent of the genre's early days before obliterating your ears with a horn sections thunderous boom. If Sauron played music to hype up his hordes, that song would be a popular choice. Last track "Discordant Howls of the Tormented" is cold and unrelenting, punctuated by simple lines the inherently terrifying organ. It's not unusual to see black metal that simultaneously traverses the line between melodic and dissonant or bare-bones and atmospheric; Mikki Aspa just does it better.
3Crooked Necks
Alright Is Exactly What It Isn't

Initially known as Frail, with each release this band has slowly shed their black metal identity until they arrived at this post-punk/shoegaze/black metal masterpiece. If elitists turned red calling Deafheaven hipster black metal, they would have dropped dead upon hearing this album. Musically, this album stems purely from the band's love of 90's alternative; a hybrid of shoegaze, post-punk, and slowcore, the beautiful melancholy of Alright Is Exactly What It Isn't is absolutely enchanting. The music landscape they've woven together here is gorgeous, rife with gliding guitar greatness, light jazz-y percussion, and prominent basswork. It's ethereal, and the touch of grit in the production only enhances the dreaminess. The black metal comes in the form of Burzumic wails, which is a surprisingly perfect fit for the rest of the music. Highly recommended as a soundtrack for meditation and reflection.
4Panopticon/Wheels Within Wheels

There's no shortage of excellent Panopticon material, and Austin's second split with equally as fantastic Wheels Within Wheels is easily one his most under-appreciated works. Here, he fully embraced a post-black metal sound, and for me, it's exactly what I want the genre to sound like. Contemplative and overwhelmingly melodic, the 3 Panopticon tracks on this split are full of delayed guitar tomfoolery, his Akerfeldt-esque croon, and of course his ridiculously stylish drumming. Wheels Within Wheels on the other hand present glorious blackened post-metal/drone/ambient. Crow structures his tracks brilliantly; each change has a purpose and propels the music further, until you're left in a cacophony of noisy black metal brilliance which again opens into dreamy ambient beauty.
5Grinning Death's Head
Black Sun Rising

It wouldn't be a Spirit list without some kind of barely listenable black/punk hybrid so here is Grinning Death's Head, reporting for duty. Every band of this style is inevitably compared to Bone Awl, and while GDH's first album was undeniable BA-worship, Black Sun Rising is where the band really started to develop their own style. Granted it's not too dissimilar - trashy powerchords, ungodly rasps, and simplistic drumming- but GDH really started to incorporate some great moshing riffs here, making it the ideal soundtrack to punch holes in the wall, or a baby in the face.

Thorngoth play traditional black metal for the modern day. I often find playing the genre in its simplest form can be a risky move nowadays; it's so easily to sound similar to every other black metal band in existence These German blasphemers certainly have moments that could interchangeable of thousands of other groups, but they have many more moments where they exceed expectations. The way they imbue their blackened onslaught with atmosphere and melody is fantastic. It all just sounds so BIG and consuming, like you're stuck wandering around in seemingly endless fog of pitch-black coloring. If you're looking for by-the-books black metal that can stand-out, Leere is an album for you.
End Progress

Black metal these days is infinitely diverse and yet Leper are the only band I've heard combine the style with ska. It's like if Reel Big Fish died in a fiery bus-crash and was then resurrected by Satan himself. This album is just so much fucking FUN. It's astounding how well these two styles go together; they twist and contort the happy-go-lucky ska guitar lines into these filthy ghosts of themselves, managing to transport the usually sunny music to the cold north. Despite this, the album definitely retains the hook-laden nature of ska. The first two tracks "The War of 2010" and "Wild and Free" are devastating and destructive, but it's nearly impossible to not croak along to their gang-backed choruses. The rest of album follows suit, making End Progress one hell of unique and memorable black metal album.
8Cradle of Filth
Hammer of the Witches

There a came a point as a Cradle of Filth fan where I had kind of accepted the band's glory days were a thing of the distant past. And then here come Dani Filth his legion of demonic cohorts to come and make me eat my words. Hammer of the Witches is not only EASILY the best Filth album since Midian, but comes dangerously close to eclipsing the quality of the group's early classics. They definitely turned it up to 11 on this one... maybe even 12. The two new guitarists - Ashok and Richard - pay homage to the dual-guitar frenzy of Dusk... and Cruelty... while incorporating their own sense of six-stringed savagery. I mean some of these riffs are HEAVY. New keyboardist Lindsay Schoolcraft eschews the symphonic and gothic tendencies the band is known for in favor of lines that fall under the cinematic category, making for some supremely lush atmospheres throughout. These new members have breathed new life into the husk of the two decade old beast, and just like that Cradle are back on top.

Filling my obligatory Black Twilight Circle slot this go around is Axeman. A first wave BtC conspirator and another project of Eduardo Ramirez, Axeman combine first-wave BM savagery with a taste of Amebix styled crust. Arrive is three songs of shred-heavy blackened fun - fun definitely being the operative word. It exudes a refreshing sense of lightheartedness, but still packs enough punch to satisfy any extreme metal aficionado.
Night Sky Transform

Holy fuck. I've really never enjoyed Dephosporus until now; Night Sky Transform changed my opinion on the
band within its first thirty seconds. This record is just massively superb juxtaposition of black metal coldness and punk attitude. With that combination of personalities, sonically the album ranges from
astoundingly fast to awesomely groovy allowing the band's grindier side to take precedence with elements
of black metal resonating within its distant cousin.Dephosphorus go about playing blackened grind on
their own terms, a bold move that has seemed to have paid off in dividends here.
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