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 Lists
09.06.11 Thrash Similar To This?08.14.11 Old School Death Metal Releases
08.12.11 Early Black Metal Albums

Early Black Metal Albums

A chronological list of the most important early black metal releases.
1Venom
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.
2Venom
Black Metal


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.
3Mercyful Fate
Melissa


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.
4Slayer
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.
5Venom
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.
6 Hellhammer
Apocalyptic Raids


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.
7Sodom
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.
8Celtic Frost
Morbid Tales


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.
9Slayer
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 occult.
11Bathory
Bathory


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.
12Bathory
The Return


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.
13Celtic Frost
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.
14Slayer
Hell Awaits


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.
15Kreator
Endless Pain


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.
16Sodom
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 'Deathlike Silence'.
17Bathory
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.
18Sarcofago
I.N.R.I.


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.
19Tormentor
Anno Domini


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.
20Bathory
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.
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