My top one-hundred picks for black metal. Alphabetically listed. Some albums I wanted to list were already on my death metal list, and I did not wish to post some of the same records.
Zygotical Sabbatory Anabapt
Thrashing black death hailing from the darkest depths of…Singapore. The way this band goes from playing a sickening death metal riff to channelling the almighty Bathory the next never ceases to fill me with joy. The band plays what would generally be considered a war metal style, but they’re more rooted in tradition than the extremities of Blasphemy and Conqueror.
Nachthymnen (From The Twilight Kingdom)
Abigor are the biggest unsung legends of second wave black metal. Their sharp and melodic riffs tied with their bloodthirsty extremity was and remains matched by none. Featuring none other than Silenius (of Summoning) as the vocalist in their early days, it’s hard to imagine a more intense sound. With the folk inspired drums and aesthetics, along with Elisabeth Toriser’s vocals on the track ‘Dornen’, Silenius’ vocals become some of the most depraved and spine-tingling I’ve ever heard. Breathtaking. Literally.
Instantly more vicious than Nachthymnen, Opus IV drops the more ethereal sound of its predecessor and goes for straight up destructive black metal with hints of melody and symphonics lighting up far behind the music. The production on this one has a much spacier sound, which expands Abigor’s sound from folky, medieval black metal to pure space magic fury
Orkblut - The Retaliation
This EP is by far my favourite Abigor release. Made before Nachthymnen, this one has a much larger folk presence and each song is separated by a symphonic/folky interlude. ‘Bloodsoaked Overture’ has my favourite riff of all time. Of all the riffs ever put to recording, nothing will ever top 0:16-0:34 in ‘Bloodsoaked Overture’, surely the most stunning and transcendental twenty seconds in musical history.
Verwüstung / Invoke The Dark Age
Abigor weren’t always so elegant, and this is shown on the band’s debut album: Verwüstung / Invoke the Dark Age. This has a much thicker and dirtier production than their later albums, and focuses more on heavier riffs. Still distinctly Abigor, the melodies and guitar leads are instantly recognisable.
The Sun of Tiphareth
Absu went from playing pummelling black/death metal to playing a more primitive style of epic black/thrash. Ambitious and definitely epic with tight riffs and excellent drumming. The longer song structures are not put to waste here, as Absu definitely know how to make it work with acoustic and synth-laden passages that complement the music in the best way.
Absu got even thrashier with their vicious technical style. The drumming is better than ever, the band is still ambitious, and the vocals have turned into disgusting blackened grunts. There’s an awesome King Diamond howl at the beginning of ‘A Shield with an Iron Face’ that flattens you.
Amenti - Catacomb Chants & Oneiric Visions
Playing that classic second wave style with the Abigorian melodies and the sharp guitar tones. Naas Alcameth of Nightbringer performs vocals on this album, and Acherontas take true occult black metal to the next level, and they’re never without their long and textural ritual ambient passages that help define their work. Acherontas don’t just play typical black metal of the second wave, they develop it into a truly ritual style.
Beyond the Wandering Moon
Epic black metal with just the right dose of folk metal blended in to make an undoubtedly classic black metal album. They stop themselves from sounding generic by balancing the styles so perfectly that it’s one of the most effectual albums in the style. Never does it sound over the top or cheesy.
Anyone who loves ambient/space black metal will love this. Don’t go into it expecting anything like Darkspace though. Where Darkspace is massive and terrifying, Alrakis is spacious and ethereal and existential in its approach to black metal and ambient. Beautiful atmospheres and deep, permeating riffs. Gorgeous album.
Without Circumference Nor Center
The members of the Black Twilight Circle are definitely creating some of the best modern black metal you can find, and it’s hard to find any other groups putting out consistently good music. Arizmenda is my favourite of the BTC gang, because ever since I first listened to Without Circumference Nor Center, I’ve been blown away. The obscure melodies, the abstract approach to the music, it all helps solidify that aura that the bands have around them.
The most unfairly overlooked black/thrash group of all time, these guys have been at since the early 90s and create some of the sickest music in the style. Their 2008 album Hades Rise is my favourite thing they’ve done, the ultimate culmination of their form. With the punky aesthetic and the heavy metal tones with the savage Motorhead vocals, it all comes together in the best way possible. ‘Shadows of Death’ is an undeniable classic. THE ECHOES OF YOUR SCRREEEAAAAAAAMMMMMMSSSSSSSSSSSSUUUUURRRGHHHH
Nobody will ever top the magic of Bathory’s first four albums. There’s nothing quite like hearing the opening to ‘Hades’ or the chorus to ‘Reaper’. Quorthon’s vocals are sheer black dirt, completely enveloping the black metal style with the lo-fi production and filthy riffs.
‘Total Destruction’ has the most fucking insane riff you’ll ever hear. Seriously, if you don’t fucking drop everything to headbang and scream “TOTAL DESTRUCTIIIIOOON” when you hear this song then I’ll never understand you as a person. This album perfectly epitomises everything great about black metal. The perfect atmosphere, the devastating riffs, the primitive drumming and sickening vocals. This album is critically underrated on this site. It doesn’t get better than this.
Under the Sign of the Black Mark
One of my favourite album covers of all time. This album has some of Bathory best tracks like ‘Woman of Dark Desires’ and ‘Equimanthorn’. I’m sure every Bathory fan can sing along to one of the best vocal hooks in metal history: “WOMAAAAAN OF DARK DESIIIIIRRREEESSS, WOMAAAAAN’S ETEEEERRRNNAAAALL BEEEAAUUUTTTY, WOMAAAAAN OF DARK DESIIIIIRRREEESSS, ELIZABETHHHHH BAAAATTTHHHOOOOORRRRRYYYYY”.
Blood Fire Death
Bathory’s turn from filthy black metal incarnate to a thrashier, more folk influenced style. Epic tracks about Vikings and etcetera. My least favourite of the first four but without a doubt a classic and a landmark in the genre, without it the more developed folk-focused black metal bands would not exist. The fire of black metal is still here, but it’s toned down, and will unfortunately be absent from every Bathory album after this.
Drawing Down the Moon
No band has ever understood black metal like Beherit does. With their second album Drawing Down the Moon, their style was wildly different from the intense war metal found on The Oath of Black Blood. They had slower and more developed songs, heavy ritual ambient influence, the guitars were truly deep and churning and magnificent. The most evil and vile vocals you’ve ever heard. This album is the best black metal album of the 90s, and no band has ever even attempted to recreate something this perfect since. The closest band I have found that creates a similar atmosphere is Cultes des Ghoules, but they craft their own unique style of black metal, which is no doubt highly influenced by this.
Talk about the most underrated black metal album of all time. This album will never receive the praise it deserves. After a couple of somewhat-decent ritual ambient albums, Beherit finally released the black metal follow-up to Drawing Down the Moon, and while it’s technically a regression to a more primitive and early style, it is still completely awesome. Some of the heaviest black metal riffs this side of the 80s. ‘Demon Advance’ is a monstrous closer and this album does nothing but further solidify Beherit as one of the best black metal bands of all time.
The Oath Of Black Blood
Here it is, Beherit’s first album, and it’s their most primitive and insane. Helping to pioneer the war metal style along with Sarcofago and Blasphemy, this album is a sloppy, riffless mess of the filthiest music you’ll hear. They didn’t create any deep or ritual atmospheres here, just pure, brutal, nasty black metal.
Wisdom of Darkness
Perfect, bass-heavy, death metal-laden black metal. There’s little to say about this one, but it’s just a fantastic listen from beginning to end. I have the reissue CD with the updated artwork which kinda destroys the atmosphere the original artwork created, so that’s a bit of a bummer.
Reversed Black Trinity
I initially checked this band out when I found their logo somewhere online and thought it was the coolest logo I’d ever seen. I was let down at first, I expected something different for some reason. I came back to it a couple of times and it finally clicked. This album has some of the sickest production for modern black metal I’ve heard, and the discordant and echoing soloing is incredible. Truly vile stuff here, with those reverby and guttural black metal growls that just hit the spot every time.
Vengeance War Til Death
K.K. Warslut’s band before the legendary Destroyer 666. Basically a far more primitive and deadly style of metal, straight up black/death played in a war metal fashion. Kills, slays, destroys, tramples, demolishes, etc. WAR.
God damn this just has to be one of the greatest black/speed metal albums I’ve ever heard. This came out last year? It’s still so hard to believe. This album sounds like it was released in the 80s. Everything, right down to the production, drum sound, riffs, sounds like it was created at the height of black/speed metal in the 80s. There isn’t a single riff on this thing that doesn’t scream pure fucking classic. From the heavy metal leanings of ‘Rite of the Wizard’ to the darkly blackened ‘Possessed’, this is one album you DO NOT want to pass on. One of the best speed metal albums of all time, one of the best black metal albums of all time. Thrashes and slays like no other. My copy of the band’s Raise the Dead demo is probably my most prized possession.
|24||Blood of Kingu|
Sun in the House of the Scorpion
Everything about this album just slays. One of the best modern black metal bands by a mile, they play a distinct second-wave sound, but don’t sound as generic and uninspired as most. Beautiful riffs and melodies that don’t drag on forever, and a deeper black metal vocal than the higher pitched style. The vocals are almost death metal in execution. Also that dude from Drudkh is in this band. Except this is better than pretty much everything Drudkh has done.
|25||Blut Aus Nord|
Memoria Vetusta I - Fathers Of The Icy Ages
I hated Blut aus Nord for the longest time because all I’d heard was the industrial shit that’s just so boring. But someone convinced me to give this a go and I regret not listening sooner. Simply excellent traditional second-wave black metal with an unbeatable atmosphere.
The day of wrath
AC Wild is like Lemmy’s much younger, much cooler Italian brother who plays in a criminally overlooked black/speed metal band. Bulldozer is by far one of the best bands in the first wave of black metal, playing a heavier, more blackened style of Venom with the alcohol and women-fueled aesthetic of Motorhead. You’re doing yourself a disservice by not listening to this band immediately.
To Mega Therion
I mean, c’mon, it’s Celtic Frost. The way this band continued to hold the punk flag high whilst they also pioneered black metal is downright admirable. Not many black metal bands use d-beats anymore and it’s a damn shame. I’m not a fan of Tom Warrior’s stuff these days. I never got into Monotheist or Triptykon, but he will always stand as one of the greatest black metal musicians for his work with early Celtic Frost and Hellhammer. Endless riffs and groove and excellence.
There are few bands in this modern “atmospheric” style black metal that can do anything for me, but Cosmic Church are one of those few. They have those atmospheric and resounding riffs, the shrieked vocals, but the way they tackle the melodies is just enchanting. Where other bands in this style will go for the same thing, they’ll fail miserably. But Cosmic Church got it right, and it’s glorious.
|29||Coven of the Worm|
Let me start off with saying: the production quality of this compilation is shit. Not shit in the sense that a lot of black metal is with lo-fi values, this is just really bad. The music sounds like it was recorded in a garage down the street and you have your left ear to the ground trying to listen. Then you change to your right ear. And back again. But despite the poor production value, there’s something more special at work here. Coven of the Worm may not have had the ability to record anything properly, but some of the music here is just incredible and unique for black metal recorded at this time. Their style changes a lot. You have anything from incredibly brutal, mid-paced black metal to more melodic and standard second-wave sounding stuff. Then there are some just plain weird moments. The vocals are ever-changing. You can’t pin down this band. They had no style.
Much like Cosmic Church, this isn’t really the type of black metal I will generally fall in love with, but Csejthe create some breathtaking music that sticks with you. Just absolutely gorgeous melodies.
|31||Cultes Des Ghoules|
By far my favourite modern black metal band. These guys make black metal that I feel continues the style the genre should have taken before Transilvanian Hunger. The filthy, diverse vocals in the style of Attila, the bass-heavy and dirty guitars of Bathory, the ritual nature of Beherit, all wrapped up into one.
|32||Cultes Des Ghoules|
For a while I preferred Haxan to this, but then I finally came to realise I was wrong. This progresses the style on Haxan even further, and truly defines the perfect sound of black metal in my eyes. This album is right alongside Under a Funeral Moon, Drawing Down the Moon and The Return……. as one of the greatest achievements in black metal history. Few bands can and have conjured such an original, unique, brilliant atmosphere.
Dark Space III I
To be honest, I am not sure why so many people were disappointed with this album. This is the first Darkspace album that truly knocked me off my feet. The ultimate culmination of their style. The way this band acts as the anti-Paysage d’Hiver is perfect. With the claustrophobic, the glitching, sci-fi ambiance, the programmed drums: this album truly makes you feel the awesome horror of space.
A Blaze in the Northern Sky
Not the first, but definitely the most important album in the second wave of black metal. Darkthrone started something special with this. Dropping the Goatlord material to make raw black metal was a bold move, but one that was vital. Of course, with the band dropping Goatlord to make this, a lot of the riffs from the Goatlord sessions were included, only more blackened to suit the style. So, again the death metal influence on this album is much more apparent than the ones that followed, but this is a landmark and a classic nonetheless. WE ARE A BLAZE IN THE NORTHERN SKY, THE NEXT THOUSAND YEARS ARE OOOOUUUUURRRRSSS.
Under a Funeral Moon
Darkthrone’s first completely pure black metal album, and one of the greatest black metal records of all time. Some of the greatest riffs ever recorded here. My favourite thing about this album is how it uses all the lyrics from Goatlord. Hearing the same lyrics but with different vocal lines and hooks is amazing. COME THE RAGING CHAAAOS.
The third bm-Darkthrone album that was basically Fenriz’s solo bedroom album. You can hear how much further stripped down the sound is on this album with the even more lo-fi production, the simplicity of the guitars and drums. The whole album is based around cold repetition. The only thing Fenriz didn’t do on this album were the vocals and some of the lyrics. Some people think Varg contributed to this album musically, but he only wrote the lyrics to a few of the songs. My least favourite of their unholy trinity, but still a damn classic and far better than most black metal albums.
Ted came out of hibernation in the woods started writing for Darkthrone again and the band once again has that dark, thick black metal style that’s much better than the style on Transilvanian Hunger. Ferocious vocals and slow, devastating riffs.
Inquisitors Of Satan
Some people try to put down early Deathspell Omega for being basic traditional black metal with the lo-fi production and simple riffs and drumming and so on, but I always find myself coming back to this far more than any of their later work.
Satan Alpha Omega
One of my favourite war metal bands, they have a much thicker sound than most bands in the style. Pure vicious noise. An almost sludge-metal tone.
Joined in Darkness
For most of Demoncy’s career, it was just a one-man project, but apparently last year it became a full band? I’m excited to see what they create. But before the full band, it was just Ixithra, and I always felt like he was never given his due in black metal. This doesn’t do anything new for the genre, but it’s far sight better than most other bands playing typical, generic black metal. Truly dark stuff.
Unchain The Wolves
As an Australian, I find it hard not to feel attached to Destroyer 666. What Australian metal lover doesn’t feel an automatic attachment to ‘Australian and Anti-Christ’? K.K. Warslut’s black/thrash band post-Bestial Warlust was arguably even better than anything he’d done before, and Unchain the Wolves is a landmark in black metal and metal as a whole.
I had Revenge and Conqueror on my death metal list, so I had to save Diocletian for this one. While the band did go on to create their own unique sound, I still love the Conqueror-styled, more “generic” type of war metal found on this album. I was lucky enough to snag a copy of the original tape from Invictus a year or two ago.
Under the Sign of the D-beat Mark
Okay just look at the album title. How the fuck can this not be awesome? Basically pure Discharge, Hellhammer and Bathory worship, I believe this EP was leftover tracks from the band’s debut album, but I always liked these tracks more. This is just a filthy, rotten, d-beat-ridden black metal album that never fails to be a lot of fun. Fifteen minutes of metalpvnx fvry.
This album is two and a half hours long. It’s expansive, massive, and unique. It’s a hell of a listen. It’s hard to go into depth about this album, because there’s SO MUCH ground it covers in its 2.5 hour runtime. This is a diverse, almost-unconquerable beast. This is kind of a “you need to listen for yourself” deal.
This has always been the only Drudkh album I consistently go back to. The melodies are beautiful, I adore the intro track, it’s relatively concise for the style, the riffs are great, and it’s just an all-round pleasure to listen to.
I’m legitimately surprised how far under the radar this album has flown. Released in 2007, I’ve barely heard anyone make a peep about this album. I believe Avantgarde Music reissued this on CD last year (?), so do yourself a favour and PICK IT UP. The original goes for about twenty minutes but I think the reissue has extra tracks and goes for 28. Really unique and frightening black metal with abstract guitar work, great drum work (and this weird industrial sort of tone to it) with sickening vocals. A must-listen for anyone who likes it when black metal gets dark and weird. If you’ve ever listened to Dark Tribe - In Jeraspunta - Die Rückkehr der Tollwütigen Bestie, it’s kinda like that but much more refined and ominous.
|47||Flames of Hell|
Fire and Steel
One of my favourite black/speed metal albums of the first wave, this album is only more impressive considering it was one of the first extreme metal albums in Iceland. Back then a band recording this music in a location so obscure was amazing. The riffs here are catchy, blistering, blackened. The vocals are unique, with some fantastic hooks. So little information is found about this band, the lyrics were never published so the dark grunts are up to you to interpret. But god damn you gotta just go off the hook when you hear “EVIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIL!!!!!”
This guy has a truly unique take on black metal. It has that classic lo-fi sound, but with the weirdest riffs and progressions you’ve ever heard. Don’t be fooled by the cover: this isn’t your standard Generithrone rip-off.
Cult black/speed from the 80s that I always find myself re-listening to.
|50||Grand Belial's Key|
One of the best US black metal bands of all time. They frequently get compared to Arghoslent, and that’s not just because of their questionable ideologies, these guys are like a black metal version of Arghoslent, with similar melodic, galloping riffs that display that black edge that make you want to go to war with Christ. I also absolutely love ‘The Hexenhaus Vigil’, an absolutely gorgeous interlude with droning noise and angelic female vocal melodies.
The Celtic Winter
Graveland tends to be a love/hate band from what I’ve seen. I was never fond on the majority of his work, but the early classics cannot be denied. The Celtic Winter has brilliant riffs and that cold, signature black metal sound.
For the Diabolical Ages
Modern black/thrash that does it better than most. This one has the true spirit of the 80s running through its veins.
Dethrone the Son of God
Profanatica 2.0, basically. The later albums were more unique and their own style, whereas this is pretty much a Profanatica album, and as I’m a diehard Profanatica fan, this is one of my favourites. How can you not absolutely love Paul Ledney’s over the top blasphemous lyrics? I VOMIT ON GOD’S CHIIIILD.
|54||Head of the Demon|
Head of the Demon
Weird, doom-laden and almost-psychedelic black metal that’s similar to Furze in the way that it’s a truly unique take on the genre. Most of the members here are veterans. If I remember, there are members from the wicked old school melodic dm band A Mind Confused in this band, as well as Gods of Grief. Truly dark and obscure black metal that you would be amiss not to check out. Brooding and slow and heavy.
If you’re a black metal fan and you haven’t listened to Hellhammer by now, you probably don’t want to. One of the most defining bands in the genre, their Discharge-meets-Venom style of messy, dirty black metal became a signature sound for the genre.
Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism
Few albums have carried the same atmosphere and mystique of this album. Immortal created a classic here, and the quality of this record is something they could never recreate, despite the pretty good consistency of all their work to come.
Relentless Execution of Ceremonial Excrescence
Kinda like the antithesis of Portal. Where Portal is unbelievably chaotic, haphazard, without and semblance of structure, spewing the most obscure, uncomfortable and creative lyrics I've heard, Impetuous Ritual is the controlled darkness that's just as dark but frighteningly much more coherent.
Into The Infernal Regions Of The Ancient
Where the fuck do I start with Inquisition? There has never been a black metal band like them and there never will be. Dagon's eerie chanting vocals with those insidious guitar tones that just sink into you. This music creates a warped darkness that will never be recreated, and Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult is a magickal experience like no other. I find it hard to count this in the same league as most black metal because of how unique, groundbreaking and beautiful it is. Wholly unholy darkness.
Invoking the Majestic Throne of Satan
Infernal Regions' slightly more brutal, shorter, heavier companion album.
Fenriz's solo project. Basically black/folk metal in the vein of later Bathory, but I enjoy Fenriz's cleans much more than Quorthon's.
God damn is this album a fucking classic or what? Polish black/speed that has some of the greatest riffs of all time. Plus those harsh, melodic vocals are somethin' else. Not knowing Polish probably also helps me see this album in a unique light. It has an obscure atmosphere that I can't help but feel attached to. Apparently the album Metal & Hell is the English version of this album, but I don't want to listen to it.
Some fans thought this album was a disappointment? I don't see how. Katharsis outdid themselves here, and this album is brilliant and dark and one of the best modern black metal albums you'll hear, from one of the best modern black metal bands around. The band takes a big influence from Darkthrone but doesn't soil it.
My favourite thing about this album is how it starts off with half a second of this big, ambient, reverberating intro, but just drops it straight away to fucking pummel you straight into the ground with a sickening tremolo riff and furious vocals. It's a neat little trick that I appreciate every time I listen. This album ain't gonna waste your time with a long, drawn out intro. It's gonna fuckin' rip from the get-go.
Probably the most "questionable" album on this list, but I believe this album has all the right traits of quality black metal whilst still being completely avant-garde, unique and outside the box. Such a gorgeous record, and despite the recording constraints, Toby Driver did an absolutely beautiful job producing it and piecing it together. Completely underrated and amazing. One of my favourite albums. Crazy good drum performance.
Man, I love this album. I'm always putting this one on and loving every second of it. It's hard to summarise exactly what makes it so fantastic, because it's such a diverse and lush album. It has everything that makes black metal great and everything that defiles what makes black metal great and I love the juxtaposition of traditionalism and destroying traditionalism.
Brutal Legions of the Apocalypse
Australia's most brutal war metal band. These guys are fucking insane, intense, it's always a bit exhausting listening to this.
Disgustingly overlooked--let's be honest. If you haven't heard this classic then you need to ASAP. One of black metal's greatest, with a unique approach to the style that was never recaptured. Oddball riffs, raspy and evil vocals, and a perfect, dark, heavy, all-encompassing production.
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
A first wave black metal classic that was delayed so much it didn't come out until 1994--which is probably why so many people consider this an integral "second wave" album, despite the album being composed of first wave aesthetics, not to mention it was all written in the 80s. Attila from another first-wave classick band TORMENTOR lent his vocals to this after Dead died, and his defining performance here has only ever been rivaled by the mighty CULTES DES GHOULES. Brilliant album.
Live in Leipzig
Another Mayhem album that was delayed for a long time, this concert took place in the early 90s(?) and the tape was a huge influence on a blossoming DARKTHRONE long before it was publicly released. One of the few releases with Dead on vocals. A staple in the genre and what helped Darkthrone to define the second-wave sound, along with CELTIC FROST and BATHORY obviously.
א: Tremendum et Fascinatio
Another fantastic modern black metal classic. Much like other modern bands a la Cultes des Ghoules, Negative Plane, Katharsis, etc. (e.g. doing shit with a difference!). Must listen if you like modern black metal that doesn't suck a million cascadian dicks.
From the same genepool as StarGazer, Cauldron Black Ram, Sacriphyx, Martire, Mournful Congregation, Denouncement Pyre, etc., this band is absolutely brilliant prog black/doom metal. It's ever-shifting and atonal and weird, but the band still forms gorgeous melodies and instrumental parts with tracks like 'Death Lilly' and 'Celestial Trinity'. This stuff is truly remarkable and worth your time if you like weird, creative, gorgeous black metal.
My love for Mortuary Drape is probably no secret by now, but god damn this band just pumped out classic after classic. Secret Sudaria is a damn near-perfect black/death metal record with constant sick riffs and solos. I think I mentioned this in my death metal list but their comeback album from last year was just as mindblowing and amazing as their early classics like this. Untouchable band.
Grape of the Vine
Slow, dissonant, epic black metal from last year that just really entrances you. I find myself listening to this so much that it deserves a spot on this list.
Hail Satanas We Are The Black Legions
Les Legiones Noire are pretty well known in black metal. They're kinda like the 90s equivalent of the Black Twilight Circle. A bunch of mysterious French black metal musicians making obscure shit and sending it around to each other and keeping it limited as fuuuck. Anyway, this little EP is the Mutiilation album I always end up going to, I don't know exactly why, their full-lengths are just as worthy of your time as this is. This just seems to be my go-to.
Basically, black metal's greatest legends goes like this: Celtic Frost, Bathory, Darkthrone, Beherit, MYSTIFIER. Brazilian occult black metal and some of the most evil shit of the early 90s. Truly defining black metal that never gets its due in mainstream, but dominates the true underground.
Mystifier's debut album that I don't like quite as much as Goetia, mainly due to its more aggressive and heavy sound. Where the draw to Goetia was its brilliant atmosphere, the draw here is thick, dirty, rotten old school black metal.
The World Is So Good That Who Made It Doesn't Live
Probably my personal favourite Mystifier album. This one is where they got really weird, upped the synths and employed a wider range of vocal styles. Psychedelic solos permeate this thing, as well as these weird, obscure operatic passages. This album never fails to impress me. Never to be repeated.
Grinding black metal that is kinda like my substitute for not being able to have Goatlord's Reflections of the Solstice on this list due to it being on my death metal list. This is like Goatlord gone grind with the same similar atmosphere.
Et In Saecula Saeculorum
One of the best modern black metal bands, the only band stopping them from being #1 is Cultes des Ghoules.
Stained Glass Revelations
The way this band approaches true, eerie occult atmosphere with their psychedelic riffs and dank production is nothing short of amazing. This album exceeded the standards set by Et In Saecula Saeculorum in every way. True genius and innovation in black metal right here. Listen to it. You need to. You actually, physically MUST listen to this album.
Totally bodiless black metal/punk amalgam. The way this music lacks any kind of bass or backbone is just weird, but it's so good that it's hard to hate it. The sloppy punk approach to the music and vocals, but with these really gorgeous melodic black metal riffs is fascinating.
Wizard showed me this band a few years ago and damn I was hooked on my very first listen. Since then I've revisited this often and it's always stood as one of my favourites in black metal. I always regret not buying the CD when I had the chance.
The antithesis of Darkspace. Where Darkspace is clean and claustrophobic with its space aesthetic and programmed drums, Paysage d'Hiver is the ultra lo-fi inverse where evil spectres and banshees are howling through a neverending snowstorm in the middle of a frozen wasteland.
The use of violin on 'Welt Aus Eis' is breathtaking.
This, coupled with the two albums above, finishes the trinity of Paysage albums that I listen to on a regular basis.
La Sanie des siecles - Panegyrique de la
Another modern black metal classic that deserves all the recognition it gets. This one is wacky and weird and wonderful and possesses great melodies and the sickening fury of real black metal.
I pretty much described the greatness of Portal in the description for Impetuous Ritual. WYRMHOLES TO REAPUS NOOOOVVVVAAAAAAAAAAA (wrong album I know).
Disgusting Blasphemies Against God
How can you not absolutely love Paul Ledney’s over the top blasphemous lyrics?  Sickening, groovy, deep, heavy, over-the-top shit-covered blasphemous black metal that is bound to get to weird looks if played in the streets from a boombox. CHRIIIIIISSSTTTTT'SSSSSS PREEECCIIIOOOUUSSSSS BLOOOOOOOOOOOD POOOOIIISSSSOOONNNNEEEDDDDDDDDDDDD
The Enemy Of Virtue
The best complete works of pre-break up Profanatica. Collects all the band's defining early work.
Profanatitas de Domonatia
The drums on this album are obviously programmed, but for some reason they have this really addictive and loveable quality to them. Riffs are too good for words and obviously it's just Profanatica's over-the-top aesthetic that just makes this. It's so much fucking fun.
Samael was doing the Bathory+Celtic Frost thing before Darkthrone did it, but they never received the same recognition. Worship Him is a staple in the creation of second wave black metal.
Important band in the creation of black metal in general, as well as the more specific style of war metal. But also, the most quotable album of all time. READY TO FUCKY (ALL THE BITCHES). DEATHRAASSHH. IF YOU ARE FALSE DO NOT EN-TRY. THE NUCLEAR DRUMS WILL CRUSH YOUR BRAAAIIIN. YOU WILL ALSO BE BURNED AND DIED.
Dark Medieval Times
I don't know, really, I guess many bands were doing this style and (probably) doing it better, but this Satyricon album will always be a special one for me. The synths don't annoy the fuck out of me, which is rare.
One of my favourite modern black/death/thrash metal albums. Just totally shreds. If 'Poservore' doesn't pump your blood, nothing will. ONE, TWO, FUCK YOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU.
In the Sign of Evil
Integral to the perfection of black metal, and just a fucking classic album regardless. MASTURBATE TO KILL MYSELF.
Pestilent Black Sorcery
Great modern band playing extremely lo-fi Burzum-esque black metal, but as I was never a big fan of Burzum, I find this to be executed much more effectively and interestingly.
Attila's band before he was in Mayhem, first wave black metal classic.
Ulver were always late to the party, but no matter what they did, they generally nailed the FUCK out of it. This album is a damn near-perfect raw black metal album. If that riff in Hymn IV ain't the best riff ever, then I'm pretty sure it's that Abigor riff I mentioned near the beginning.
Overall, this album isn't very black metal. What is mostly a speed metal album, at heart it defined the spirit of the genre, as well as birthing its name, as well as being a fucking amazing album. LAY DOWN YOUR SOUL TO THE GOD'S ROCK AND ROOOOOLLLLLL.
It's a pity that this band never did much great with themselves after this album, because this album is a fucking defining classic in extreme metal, insane and extreme for the year it was released, crazy, off-kilter solos, black/death/thrash metal that riiiiiiips.