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10.08.18 Distorting the acoustic in metal(+progr

Distorting the acoustic in metal(+progrock extras)

The implementation of acoustic and classical guitar within heavy metal is fascinating. It can really change the dynamics and atmosphere of songs and at times whole albums. Here's a list (in no particular order) of metal album in no particular order, favorites from mine, which at times contains a high proportion of acoustic to electric and other times the ratio is pretty low but still impactful (I also added some extra prog rock at the end). Feel free to recommend what I missed!
The Smoke of Atavistic Fires

Shameless plug here for the 1st LP of my project coming out on Oct. 12th via The Green Man Label. Many of those following records have influenced me in a way or another as you will hear in the album. The album is streaming at HeavyBlogIsHeavy right now:
Twilight of the Gods

My favorite Bathory period. Quorthon's blend of acoustic guitar and heavy riffs creates a mythical atmosphere throughout the whole album. A classic of classic
The Mantle

Obvious choice and also my favorite album of all time. Only the music itself can do justice as why this album perfectly embodies this list.

Such a consistent band with dense layering of instrumentation. No gimmick folk metal laced with pure emotion.

Such an underrated band. The acoustic pops out here and there and is really mixed low when layered during the heavy parts but brings the whole part up when it's used.
Souvenirs D'Un Autre Monde

When Neige created a modern classic. With the inclusion of "direct input" classical guitar or something like that, the songs get this dream-like feel throughout the record.
Bergtatt - Et eeventyr i 5 capitler

The record that inspired many albums on this list, I don't think I need to say more.
The Wake

Very subtle use of acoustic but it is still used throughout the record to great effectiveness. Never has Voivod used it so much on any record before and it sounds great.
Since the Day It All Came Down

Their ultra reverby acoustic guitar sound is awesome and they implement it so well within their music
10Falls of Rauros
Hail Wind and Hewn Oak

Another nature-driven bm from Maine, with acoustic found in both interludes/softer moments and buried under the heavy riffs.
The Divination Of Antiquity

Acoustic is used sparsely here, but just listen to Whisper of the Elements or A Careworn Heart
The Somberlain

Interludes give breath and an earthiness to an album full of icy riffs and blasts.
13October Falls
The Womb of Primordial Nature

The first metal LP since October Falls' neofolk beginnings carried the folk elements of Marras within a very melodic and melancholic take on black metal.
Odemarkens Son

One of the most underrated band in the folk/bm sphere. Check out the riffs on Svaltvinter and Offerbacken or the emotive soloing on Pa Landet.
15Swallow the Sun
Songs From The North I, II & III

Amazing band. LP#1 has the crushing riffs interlaced with gorgeous acoustic playing. LP#2 has some really beautiful moments with amazing melodies on the acoustic.
16Mournful Congregation
The Monad of Creation

MC always has a strong acoustic presence within their albums with at least 1 song almost entirely acoustic. When the Weeping Dawn Beheld its Mortal Thirst is a true funeral doom acoustic dirge with insanely emotive playing.
17Sons of Crom
The Black Tower

Taking cues from Hammerheart/TOTG-era Bathory but also second wave BM, Sons of Crom brings the electro-acoustic epic riffs hard. Lesser-known band that needs more attention

Folk metal warriors Falkenbach use the acoustic in great form on Tiurida. Just listen to Where His Ravens Fly.
À L'Âme Enflammée, L'Âme Constellée...

A very unique band from Quebec. The implementation of many other instrument aside from traditional drums/e-guitars/bass setup in metal is extremely well done. The songwriting and originality within such an emotional journey is what makes this record amazing.

Kind of like a mix of Viking-era Bathory and the stomping riffs of Primordial with incredible acoustic playing. This is a perfect example of how to incorporate acoustic guitar within the a metal template with incredible results in emotional power.

Andy Marshall is one of the best composer of modern times, period.
Still Life

So many Opeth album could have been chosen, but this is my favorite of them all with some of the best acoustic playing Mikael has ever laid on tape. To the opening riffs of The Moor and it's final break before the blasting end, to the Camel-inspired Benighted or the majestic closing of the death metal power ballad Face of Melinda, this record is the epitome of acoustic infused prog-death metal.
Welcome My Last Chapter

Classic Swedish meloblack record from the 90's with Swano production and ice cold riffs often conjured with layers of acoustic greatness.
Dark Medieval Times

A classic 2nd wave BM example with a strong emphasis on acoustic either in the softer moments or layered with the timeless blizzard sounding high-gain/treble/reverb distorted guitar tone.

Might seem like an odd choice, but listen to Septuagint, Prismal Dawn or Celestial Spheres too see how the effective the acoustic intro/breaks within the extremely wild and progressive DM style is.
A Journey's End

True Irish Metal, a unique conconction of so many genres yet that sounds only like Primordial. Early Primordial is filled with insane acoustic moments within grandiose heavy electric riffing and seem to be somewhat overlooked to post The Gathering Wilderness albums (which also contains great acoustic parts). The more Primordial, the better!
27Oak Pantheon
From a Whisper

Taking cues from the great Agalloch, these guys really pulled off the acoustic marriage of atmospheric black/folk the right way with cuts like We Will Tear Down the Gods, The Ground Beneath You and Roots of Man.
Heart of Akamon

Brilliant compositions where Native American folk collides with melodic black metal. Musicianship and atmosphere prevails.
29Macabre Omen
Gods Of War - At War

A slightly overlooked BM band from the Greece scene that owes as much to Viking-era Bathory, 2nd wave BM and their Greek peers in Varathron and Rotting Christ. Check out the t/t with perfectly balance of calrity and rawness which enhances the acoustic/electric pairing.
Sorni Nai

A true mystical journey, a cold tale told by music.
Silent Waters

Amorphis' use of acoustic guitar is sometimes buried underneath the heavy riffs or at the forefront of the mix. They are one of the few bands I can think of that often utilize 12-string acoustic guitars (a trait that was omnipresent in the 70's prog bands - see at the end of the list -) and is again another element from their arsenal that make their music so original and unmatched.

Although I omitted the inclusion of "unplugged" albums, this live reinterpretation of their songs in an acoustic setting is amazing. Check out the live video as well on YouTube.

Wolfheart's acoustic playing pays homage to the land of the thousand lakes. The acoustic, interlaced or segragated with heavy doomish 7-string (which is quite uncanny for melodeath) riffs and tremolo runs, makes Wolfheart earn their place on this list.

Even though I really enjoy post-Below The Lights Enslaved, their early period is truly amazing. The opening track to Eld "793(Slaget Om Lindisfarne) is on of the epitome moments of mixing acoustic and electric guitar within metal.
Blood In Our Wells

One of the greatest and most influential black/folk bands. The pairing of devastating 2nd wave BM electric guitar tone and the "direct input" acoustic guitar with folky and heroic melodies is amazing.

An incredible composed piece that I don't jam often enough, but I remember the use of Classical instruments and acoustic guitar is amazing.
37In Flames
The Jester Race

The 1-2 punch of Moonshield and The Jester's Dance is incredible, such an incredible opening to a classic record.
The Olden Domain

Folky and progressive black metal with Garm on vocals with lots of acoustic. Again, perfect balance of rawness and clarity in the mixing/mastering allows for an effective blending of acoustic and electric tones.

True New-Brunswickian Black Metal. A really unique blend of melodic bm and East Coast Canada folk with plenty of acoustic moments. Check out their upcoming albun Great Brunswick Forest coming Oct. 19th.
40Ne Obliviscaris
Portal of I

NeO are incredibly skilled musicians, but most importantly great songwriters. Their use of acoustic guitar (but also violin obviously) is extremely well done and effective to build the peaks and valleys characteristic of their progressive and engaging songwriting.
Patriarchs of Evil

Patriarchs of Evil is Varathron at their best, a modern classic in Hellenic BM. There's plenty of acoustic interlaced with the thundering yet highly melodic riffs of this album.
Nocturnes and Requiems

Combine Symphony X virtuosity (without the self-indulgence) with King Diamond's theatrics and atmosphere and you get these guys. A lot of their acoustic moments has that kind of Neoclassical flair to them and it's amazing.
43Thy Serpent
Forests of Witchery

Another album that I haven't listened to enough (and I think by many others on this site) from the early BM scene. Hailing from Finland, these guys know how to conjure the spirit of folky/melodic black metal with their serious usage of acoustic guitar.
44Dark Tranquillity

Underrated album here. Where DT's sound was much closer to their brethren in the swedish meloblack scene with the ice-cold atmosphere by way of tremolo heavy riffs and majestic acoustic guitar pairings with tracks like A Bolt of Blazing Gold, Shadow Duet and Alone.

Panopticon's album always have this raw and honest emotion passed through the many layers of instrumentation and devastating vocals. The day bluegrass met black metal had to happen.

Windir-y guitar pyrotechnics meets Opethian acoustic passages in 6/8 within very strong storytelling and songwriting capabilities.
Souls at Zero

When the Neurosis became the heaviest band on the planet, without the need for 200 bpm blastbeats, screeching about satan or whatever and changed the metal scene forever. Just listen to t/t, Flight or Sterile Vision to hear why they belong to this list.
48Wolves In The Throne Room
Thrice Woven

The acoustic is used sparsely here throughout the album, but in a very effective way showcasing the dynamic songwriting chops of WitTR. From blasting avalanches of drums and trems to the soothing singing of a wood made guitar.
The Blue

Progressive metal with a gothic atmosphere and plenty of juxtaposed acoustic and electric riffs. Such incredible guitarists with a very unique sound.

This one has been on heavy rotation since it's release. Riverside again provides us with incredibly emotive and touching prog rock, with plenty of acoustic rhythms and leads.
51Dan Swano

Alright, this is much more synthy than acousticy, but it still proving Dan is such a talented musician that can implement a wide range of instruments and styles to create something that is truly is own.
Sleep at the Edge of the Earth

This one has been a slow grower, but there's lots of acoustic guitar and mandolin that are implemented in a really amazing way.
53Orphaned Land
The Never Ending Way Of ORwarriOR

Again, I have not jammed this enough, but I remember the conjuction of acoustic and distorted, proggy electric riffs passed through an Eastern music filter was extremely engaging and unique.
54Paysage d'Hiver

I am no Paysage D'Hiver expert, but I really enjoy his more bound to earth counterpart project to Darkspace. Check out the opening and closing tracks for the reverb-laden acoustic interlaced with the harshest of BM
Songs of Moors and Misty Fields

I definitely haven't jammed Empyrium enough, but I still know that the infusion of acoustic within doomy melancholic riffing is definitely worthy of a top spot in this list.
Children of the Iron Age

Post-metal with a blackened heart. Acoustic is sparsely used in the quieter moments here and sometimes heavily burried under the thundering riffs.
57The Flight of Sleipnir

A unique band that many are sleeping on, me included since I definitely need to jam the rest of their discog.
Crack the Skye

One of the best progressive records ever made and the implementation of acoustic guitar heightens this mystical and majestic feeling of the album.
Fortress of Primal Grace

Vallendusk's use of major key/modes to create uplifting and epic BM is breathtaking. There are clear progressive leanings displayed on Fortress of Primal Grace (no noodles though!) in the some of time signatures and song structures so it definitely keeps things eclectic yet interesting which gives this record a high replay value. It seems these guys draw from a bottomless well of insanely good riffs and leads
Les cinq saisons

Making an exception because there's no electric guitar here, but it's in my opinion there greatest progressive folk record with the utmost emotive and colorful acoustic guitar playing
Selling England by the Pound

Steve Hackett is a master of a musician both on acoustic (6 or 12-strings) and electric guitar with such technical yet with so much feel. It's worth mentionning Hackett's first 2 solo albums for the sake of this list.
63Jethro Tull

This needs no explanation regarding its relevance on this list.
64King Crimson
In the Court of the Crimson King

The heaviest record from the 60's (and heaviest band of the 70's). Master Fripp teaching a masterclass in songwriting while experimenting aplenty.
65Pink Floyd

Ahh David Gilmour has so many great acoustic cuts, be it the 12-strings on Wish You Were Here or the acoustic meets the crazy synths of Wright on Welcome to The Machine, but Dogs from Animals with its iconic strummed guitar part and batshit synths and leads all over the 17 minutes length.
A Farewell to Kings

From the opening of t/t to the 12-string on Closer to the Heart and Cinderella Man, Rush clearly took advantage of the acoustic to create a classic album filled with dynamic songwriting.
Against This Weald

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69Estatic Fear
A Sombre Dance

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70Daylight Dies
Dismantling Devotion

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73Wedrujacy Wiatr
O Turniach, Jeziorach I Nocnych Szlakach

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74Focal Point
Suffering of the Masses

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76Spectral Lore

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81Cradle of Filth
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82Green Carnation
Light of Day, Day of Darkness

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84Hades Almighty
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Through The Reflection

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The Sachem's Tales

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87Dark Fortress
Tales from Eternal Dusk

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The Sun of Tiphareth

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89Sorcier Des Glaces
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