As we will discuss throughout this month black metal is in a very interesting place right now. A part of that is due to the frankly insane diversity that we are seeing in bands and the unprecedented expansion of the genre. Of course – this is both a blessing and a curse. While on the one hand it means more awesome black metal, there is a lot more that you need to sift through to find the gems. Here's some bands that we've stumbled across since the last Black Metal History Month we think you guys would dig. In constructing this list while obviously we couldn't include everything one of the main goals was to touch on different sides of black metal, from the crustier stuff to more grandiose music. Tell us what we missed!
7. Artsidr Lifsins
A band who sing in old Icelandic, use traditional instruments and tell stories that are literally thousands of years old – Artsidr Lifsins is one of the most unique and ambitious projects in the world today. With a handful of albums under their collective belts, these guys have managed to put together some of the most absolutely stunning black metal that I have ever heard. Literally no one else has the drive or talent to get even close to what this band does. This is a highly cerebral band who break all the rules and push the very boundaries of the genre and force you to come to terms with the fact that black metal is more than just blast beats these days, it can speak to the human condition across the ages.
A black metal band who wholly identify with a punky anarchstic ethos, these guys have never been out of Europe. That being said, their unique brand of punk rock annihilation is stunning, it's come to define a movement that is sweeping across the black metal world these days. The deeper you delve into records like Navigator and Infektion 1813 it's impossible not to want more from these endlessly angry cosmic rebels. A bad with a very real sense of their own charisma and a concrete understanding of their place in the black metal canon they blaze forward with an anti-fascist ideology that is increasingly under siege, but something tells me this is a band who will never let up.
5. One Tail One Head
When I saw One Tail One Head opening up for Mgla I knew right away that they were something special. This is a band are absolutely fucking evil and who flaunt one of the best frontmen in metal today. One Tail One Head is fully cognizant of the gloriously demented nature of their music and there is something disturbingly appealing about how the band has come to terms with their inner darkness. Few bands are as bleak and annihilating as One Tail One Head, and they know it, unleashing their brand of soul eviscerating black metal onto the world at large. Their records a spiritual experiences and I challenge you to find a group who have an equal sense of demented glee.
Wildernessking somehow flew under my radar until very recently when I got a promo copy of their upcoming record. I was immediately blown away by the bands dedication to transcendent songwriting. Balancing artful acoustic passages against gloriously destructive moments of black metal fury there is something strangely meditative about Wildernessking. Unlike many of the other bands on this list there is nothing truly evil about what Wildernessking do, I might actually argue quite the opposite. Instead they are a band who take the pain of modern times and channel it into creating something beautiful that has the potential to resonate with listeners for years to come. Yes, they play off tropes set up by their peers in bands like Downfall of Gaia or even Agalloch, but we love those bands for a reason – and Wildernessking get that.
The fusion of crust punk and black metal isn't a new thing, but to Ramlord that doesn't matter. This is a band who take the most vile and aborted concepts from both sides off the spectrum and fuse them together into one of the most wonderfully demented sounds that I have heard in a good long while. That being said – there is a certain bombast to the band that transcends a lot of their punk rock roots and shows that they speak to a greater truth. They are unquestionably vile and wonderfully disgusting, but they are aware of that and drive the entire scene forward with their blasphemies. Strangely addictive and always an exciting listen, Ramlord may be the next black metal kings.
2. Cape Of Bats
Veterans of the Philly scene Cape Of Bats has seen a rotating lineup over the years but the mad genius behind the music, Francis O'Kane has stayed the course. The Irish maniac has guided the band through a handful of releases which communicate a deep misanthropy and a twisted sense of ones own humanity. Infusing more than a little crust punk into the mix, Cape Of Bats remain exciting and have managed to piece together music that will make you suffer and forces you to come to terms with how fucked up this world is. O'Kane and his followers understand better than almost anyone else the eternal and enduring power that this kind of music can have, even on a primitive level, making it a unique listening experience. A band seemingly destined for basement worship die hard black metal fans will find oodles of material to uncover and love.
1. Spectral Lore
Despite having no social media presence, and very little general information available about this one man project, Spectral Lore has captured the heart and imagination of the black metal underground with a unique songwriting sense that comes from brilliant classical guitar work and a very strong understanding of world music. Dedicated to the bands native Greek culture, Spectral Lore has put out a handful of releases with the pace having really sped up in recent years. This is is the kind of project that reminds me why one man black metal projects are so lauded, the project is intensely personal but speaks to a larger part of the human condition. This is a band who push boundaries and force interest simply because it's that good. If you like heavy music then you can't dislike Spectral Lore, this is a project that quite literally has the capacity to revolutionize heavy metal.