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Black Metal History Month

Top 10 New Black Metal Bands You Should Know

Posted on February 21, 2011

By Atanamar Sunyata

Black metal means many things to many people.  The longevity of the genre is due in no small part to the malleability of its musical tenets.  Misanthropy forms the dark heart of black metal's ethos, while a predilection for speed, tremolo picked guitars, screeching vocals and bleak blastbeats serve as common aural denominators.  Over the years, bands have added all manner of embellishment to the mix, including orchestration, industrial precision, psychedelia and folk ephemera.  A new generation of bands continue to push black metal forward or, in some cases, merely to push it back towards its purer form.  Either way, the genre continues to evolve, and we can all sit back and enjoy its continued prosperity.  The following are ten new* black metal bands you should know:

10. Pale Chalice

Pale Chalice embrace the icy roots of black metal, churning infernal anomalies that range from orthodox evisceration to more atmospheric musings. Their upcoming EP, Afflicting the Dichotomy of Trepid Creation, keeps one eye on engaging riffs and the other on throat-rending vocals.

9. Valdur

Valdur bring triumphal Norse imagery to black metal via America's west coast. This is raging, enervating and empowering material, fueled by an onslaught of righteous riffs.  The band released Raven God Amongst Us last year, and it's a formula for constant, life-threatening headbanging.

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8. Dispirit

More than a decade after releasing the landmark Dead as Dreams, John Gossard of Weakling has finally returned to the black metal scene with his new band, Dispirit.  Our only taste of their recorded music came last year via their Rehearsal At Oboroten, which revealed a bizarre and haunting ritualistic perfection.  We eagerly await a follow-up.

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7. Ipsissimus

Dispensing an absurd deluge of swarming and satisfying riffs, Ipsissimus embrace the unhinged spirit of black metal's infancy and infuse it with rhythmic fortification and the melodic sensibility of early Dissection. Their debut full length, The Way Of Descent, is out this spring on Metal Blade.

6. Lightning Swords of Death

Wielding a heftier tone than most others in the field, Lightning Swords of Death bring teeming darkness via the Sunlight sound.  Dense and memorable songs will flay the flesh from your body. Their debut full-length, The Extra Dimensional Wound, pulverized souls and ears last year

5. Ascension

Released in the final moments of 2010, Ascension's Consolamentum destroys utterly.  Channeling Deathspell Omega's recent accessibility, the songwriting sensibility of Enslaved and the bombastic dynamics of Dimmu Borgir (minus orchestration), Ascension have created something monumental.  Don't let it pass you by.

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4. Woe

Harnessing a whirlwind of swarming, melodic guitars, Woe channel crushing anguish and abject hatred for humanity into enthralling compositions.  Last year the band released the triumphantly punishing Quietly, Undramatically.

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3. Altar of Plagues

Sprawling, stunning and gorgeous waves of atmospheric sound set Altar of Plagues apart.  Crushing melancholic meditations on the demise of our earth are the currency here.  Expect great things from the band's upcoming release, Mammal.

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2. Castevet

Castevet bend the black metal mold to the point of breaking, pouring in an amalgam of post-hardcore noise, dissonance and melody.  This creative spirit is deployed amidst a devastating rhythmic carpet-bombing.  The band's debut album, Mounds of Ash, was a highlight of 2010.

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1. Krallice

Lightning fast riffs dodge, weave and battle in a mystifying dance, all the while driven by a superlative rhythmic strafing.  Krallice have changed the game, expanding black metal into unknown dimensional interstices.  This is music to think about, bask in and celebrate.  Their upcoming release, Diotima, is an incredible extension of their pioneering vision, harnessing esoteric energies with emotive, elaborate dynamics.

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* “New,” for the purposes of this list, roughly corresponds to bands that put out their first release within the last three or four years.

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