|Early Black Metal Albums|
A chronological list of the most important early black metal releases.
Welcome to Hell
This is generally considered the earliest example of black metal and extreme metal overall.
Cronos' unholy snarl and indomitable bass, Mantas' violent shredding and Abaddon's chaotic
drumming all enshrouded in the lowest sound quality possible and most evil atmosphere proved
extremely influential to every thrash, black and death metal band formed after its release.
Black Metal is more well known than its predecessor since it gave black metal its name obviously
and was a more concise and driven effort from the Venom lads, containing all the elements of the
previous album but in a much more digestible form.
The first album from Danish band Mercyful Fate may not be black metal by today's standards but it
ironically contained something the other black metal pioneers didn't: a bona fide Satanist by name of
King Diamond, and he brought a genuine worship of the Devil himself into the music.
Show No Mercy
Whilst most people will think of Slayer as a thrash band, and rightly so, their early albums contained
an irresistible evil and dark atmosphere that later black metal bands inevitably took influence from.
At War With Satan
Venom's third release marked their most experimental days, the first half of At War With Satan being
a sort of progressive epic detailing a war between the forces of good and evil, in typical Venom
fashion too. The other half is filled with the fast, heavy, evil, 3 minute long songs Venom do best.
This gruesome EP took the underground metal world by storm when it was first released, never
before had people heard such visceral vocals, crunching guitars and pounding drums, not even from
Venom. Many a black metal and death metal band can trace their sound back to this EP.
In The Sign of Evil
Like Slayer, Sodom are widely seen as a thrash band first and foremost but their first two releases
were some of the sickest and most proudly evil metal to come out of the underground.
Picking up where Hellhammer left off, Celtic Frost took darkness to a whole new level with their
blisteringly heavy Morbid Tales EP. Vocalist Tom G Warrior arguably pioneered the death growl
too, a feature heard aplenty in this mini album.
Haunting the Chapel
Once again, Slayer were at their most sinister in their early days and that is most clearly heard on
this EP. Featuring songs like Haunting the Chapel and Chemical Warfare, this mini album is still
appreciated by many extreme metal bands.
|10|| ||Mercyful Fate|
Don't Break the Oath
Mercyful Fate erupted into the metal spectrum with their 1983 debut Melissa but it was this album
that helped them establish a reputation as one of the most theatrical and haunting bands of their
day. The elements established on Melissa were taken further here, the album features a both
ethereal and haunting performance from King Diamond, as well as an atmosphere devoted to the
Up to this point black metal's later base of operations, Scandinavia, hadn't offered much in the
way of demonic evil save for Denmark's Mercyful Fate. Well that all changed when Bathory's self
titled debut entered the burgeoning extreme metal scene in 1984 from Sweden. This release
was the first to feature black metal's signature shrieking vocal style, thanks to Quorthon.
Bathory followed up their debut with The Return in early 1985, containing no less aggression or
sheer evil than its predecessor. The Return furthered the black metal blueprint with shrieked
vocals, hypnotic guitar and drums, and an atmosphere unheard of.
To Mega Therion
Celtic Frost's first full album was full of cryptic and unholy hymns such as 'Circle of the Tyrants' and
'Necromantical Screams'. This album was hugely influential to later extreme metal with bands like
Obituary, Opeth and Ulver covering songs from this era of the band.
After this album Slayer would venture into more typical thrash territory leaving Hell
Awaits the last truly sinister and downright evil album by the band. Hell Awaits is 37
minutes of evil seeping from every pore.
Another thrash band that had some really demonic beginnings, Endless Pain from
Kreator is a blissful combination of thrash metal and black metal with Mille's throat
ripping vocals, razor-fast riffing and Ventor's blitzkrieg drumming making one of the
most hellish albums of the 1980s.
Obsessed By Cruelty
The second and final of Sodom's black metal releases, it was one of the most extreme
albums of it's day, a cornerstone work in the evolution of black and death metal.
Mayhem's Euronymous would even name his record label after a song on the album called
Under the Sign of the Black Mark
No other black metal album would influence the genre quite as much as this
masterpiece did, with an unrivalled violent atmosphere, some of the most heretical and
blasphemous lyrics ever penned by Quorthon, and spouted in a form no less evil
either. Without this album future black metal would just not be the same.
With full blastbeats, sickening vocals, thrashing guitars and a menacing appearance,
Brazil's Sarcofago made a huge impact on extreme metal with I.N.R.I. and arguably set
the blueprint for the appearance many later black metal bands would adhere to.
Hungary had a rare gem with Tormentor, one of the most underrated original black metal
bands. Tormentor, along with some of Bathory's songs, were the first to use more
symphonic elements in their music, creating a much more epic and ethereal feel that bands
like Emperor clearly took influence from. Attila Csihar's multifaceted vocals were another
highlight, later attracting attention from Mayhem.
Blood Fire Death
Blood Fire Death is a hugely important album for metal, not just a massive influence on black
metal, but also containing the first Viking metal songs too.