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25 German Black Metal Bands That Deserve More Love

Sarkrista, ColdWorld, Endstille, Kanonfieber and more!

DARK FORTRESS Ylem video

Germany has given the world many of its greatest thinkers, such as G.W.F. Hegel, Jakob Böhme, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Deutschland has blessed us with Kant's categorial imperative, Heidegger's "being-towards-death," Hegel's The Phenomenology of the Spirit (1807), and so on. Thus, it is no surprise that German extreme metal tends to be highly philosophical. It sometimes grapples with themes like existential angst, destruction, mysticism, and even ethics. Yet, the German spirit is also characterized by a courageous willingness to face the unknown — an ability to grasp the abyss with "eagle's talons," as Nietzsche's Zarathustra would have it. In the poem Patmos, Friedrich Hölderlin wrote: "Wo aber Gefahr ist, wächst das Rettende auch." / "Where the danger is, the saving power waxes as well." This kind of mentality explains why many Germans prefer dangerous music.

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Poison was one of the most important bands to originate in Germany. This influential black/death/thrash group was active from 1982 to 1987. These pioneers were respected by second-wave BMers like Darkthrone's Fenriz. Nagelfar, which is not to be confused with Naglfar from Sweden, has also served as a huge inspiration for countless musicians. Nagelfar actually shares a link with the respected black/doom band The Ruins of Beverast. The latter effort was initiated in 2003 by Nagelfar's co-founder and drummer, Alexander von Meilenwald, after Nagelfar disbanded in 2002. Although The Ruins of Beverast performs with a group of live musicians, all of the project's studio content is recorded by Alexander von Meilenwald.

Dark Fortress is one of the giants of the German black metal scene, if we may be permitted to speak of such an abstract thing. They have been fronted by the classical composer Florian Magnus "Morean" Maier since 2007. The insanely inventive Nargaroth and Eisregen also rank among Germany's most brilliant black metal bands. Granted, Eisregen's style has become more mixed over the years. Meanwhile, Nargaroth identifies as "German Hateful and Misanthropic Metal." Nargaroth was founded in 1996 by René "Ash" Wagner after his best friend and bandmate committed suicide in 1995. Both Eisregen and Nargaroth are extremely controversial, yet they have distanced themselves from politics. Therefore, it is up to the individual listener to decide how to feel about their art. On a lighter note, the progressive, avant-garde Der Weg Einer Freiheit, which was founded in 2004, has become a fan favorite. These black metallers are signed to Season of Mist, whose clients have included legends like Mayhem. On the Metal Blade roster, you might enjoy the eclectic Downfall of Gaia, which actually features an international lineup, and the black/thrash band Desaster, which has been slaying since 1988.

Germany, with its many festivals, has a large market for daring music. The German people are open-minded, enjoy partying, and generally have disposable incomes. Hence, Deutschland is a great place for emerging black metal bands. Keeping up with developments in German BM may be challenging, but it is definitely rewarding. Servant, for example, unveiled their first album, Blessed by the Light of a Thousand Stars, last year. Mystic Circle, which began as a death metal band in 1992, celebrated the premier of their self-titled album at the beginning of February. At the end of the same month, the pagan BM one-man project Firn, which has only existed since 2020, published their full-length debut effort, Frostwärts. We eagerly await the summer release of Blooddawn / Annihilation of this World from the great blackened death group Goatblood. Make sure to check out last month's highlights: Chaos Invocation's Devil, Stone & Man; Shards of a Lost World's Parafer; and Sumerian Tombs' self-titled debut album. Some other bands that presented great new albums this year include Gleichmacher, Vorga, Sekoria, Ultha, and Non Est Deus.

Although a list of 25 groups may seem extensive, we are just nicking the surface today. As we have already discussed, Germany offers an inexhaustible well of fantastic music. Enjoy these amazing German black metal bands that deserve more love in 2022.

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Sarkrista

This "True Satanic Black Metal" outfit has remained active since 2011. Sarkrista's primitive drive will reignite your passion for underground music. These "Chosen One[s] of Satan" will burn you with "Black Devouring Flames" and freeze you with "The Realm of Eternal Coldness." In short, they are refreshing as hell as a gust of wind from Blashyrkh. If you love Norwegian and Finnish groups, Sarkrista will definitely be up your dark, desolate alley.

ColdWorld

ColdWorld is Georg Börner's one-man band. ColdWorld's first EP, TheStarsAreDeadNow, was released in 2005. This depressive, ambient, lo-fi effort makes an anti-trend, anti-commercial statement. Börner told This Is Black Metal: "I despise bands going mainstream because they wanna make a shitload of money…" ColdWorld has completed two albums: Melancholie² (2008) and Autumn (2016). In 2018, ColdWorld published the split Toteninsel, or "Dead Island," with Farsot — another band to add to your playlist.

Wigrid

This raw DSBM solo project, which was founded in 1998, is sure to please nostalgists and Burzum enthusiasts. Wigrid is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Ulfhednir. The following clip is the title track from Wigrid's debut studio album, Hoffnungstod (2002), or "Hope's Death." Although Wigrid has since switched labels, Hoffnungstod was released by No Colours Records, which has worked with bands like Dimmu Borgir.

Jarl

Jarl dropped their killer debut album, Wiedergänger / Revenant, in 2019. Watch their first, but not only, lyric video, "Wiedergänger," below. Their next full-length effort will come out through the German label TrollZorn, which counts Obscurity among their clients.

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Wedard

This Bavarian depressive DSBM band was founded by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Sternenfrost in 2002. After the release of Wedard's third full-length album, Wo die Ewigkeit die Zeit berührt (2008), which means "Where Eternity Touches Time," Sternefrost began working with drummer Karmageddon, who replaced Wedard's previous skins-pounder, Necro.

Predictor

Predictor has only been active since 2019. Thus, metalheads should watch out for updates from this talented duo. Their catalogue is currently limited to Demo 2020 and the savage EP …Thus Spoke Death (2021).

Sterbend

As of yet, this DSBM band has only released one album, Dwelling Lifeless (2006). In 2008, Sterbend was tragically struck by the loss of their guitarist and bassist, Asmodaios. We hope that one day Sterbend, which is on hold, will bring forth new material.

Moonblood

Vocalist Gaamalzagoth and multi-instrumentalist Occulta Mors became bandmates in 1990. Their group Demoniac morphed into Moonblood in 1994. Moonblood will definitely trigger your "lust to creep through the nocturnal forest." This outrageous outfit spreads a message of "Blut & Krieg!" Unfortunately, these Satanic warriors have relinquished their swords: Moonblood has disbanded. Nevertheless, you can still taste their "German Steel!"

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Aeba

"Hate Is Not Enough." That's why you need Aeba. This band began as Eternal Suffer in 1992. They renamed themselves in 1994. Although Aeba split up in 2013, they reunited for some shows in 2016.

Dauþuz

Dauþuz approaches their craft with the resoluteness of skilled tradesmen. In fact, this band turns their obsession with — yes! — mining into a unique trademark. Dauþuz has existed since 2016. Multi-instrumentalist Aragonyth came up with the idea for the project and subsequently recruited vocalist Syderyth. In conversation with Occult Black Metal Zine, Syderyth explained: "The concept of the lyrics is based on old traditional mining in Germany and Europe through all centuries. The lyrics are filled with German mining terminology, some real historical stories and some fairies. They also tell about some archaic mining work processes. I figured Black Metal to be dark, cold, painful and mining is all this. It’s fitting perfectly to this music genre. It is boring for me to write about the same things everyone else does, like Satan, demons, war and other standard Black Metal themes. Mining is something special and new there. It is really more mysterious than imaginary demons or so." Dauþuz only unveiled Vom schwarzen Schmied, or "Of the Blacksmith," last year. Yet, they have already delivered a new version of the album with clean vocals — Vom schwarzen Schmied: Bergkgesænge (2022).

Schrat

This Bavarian band, which started in 2003, is sure to appeal to your inner beast with their delightfully barbaric sound. Schrat favors topics like nature, annihilation, misanthropy, and spirituality. Schrat writes exclusively in German in order to promote a sense of authenticity. Their latest album, Seelenfresser, dropped last year. Schrat asks you to support their "rebirth," which follows a break-up that lasted all of two seconds.

Endstille

This most excellent "No Heaven Over Germany" group has earned much respect over the years. In regard to Endstille's original vocalist, Iblis, Schrat's former frontman and drummer Dragg gushed to Occult Black Metal Zine: "Never saw a singer with such aggressiveness and presence on stage again, truly inspiring!" Endstille's current singer, Zingultus, who has fronted groups like Nagelfar, told Two Guys Metal Reviews that he is not all that comfortable with labeling his metal "black." That makes sense, considering that Endstille is not just another clone band. The group traces their roots 2000 and belongs distinctly to this century.

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Although careless listeners may misinterpret Endstille's provocative lyrics, which sometimes explore the pain caused by war, the collective's message is simple: "I'm… my own type of leader." Noisecreep quoted Endstille's bassist Cruor: "I think that politics have a place in music … but not in black metal or any other metal genre! I absolutely can't understand this NS/white power nonsense in the black metal scene." On Facebook, the "[Anti-] War Metal" band recently posted a statement confirming: "[War] That's what we lecture about, but never wanted anyone to witness (again)! … Endstille does not push positive thoughts on war and deeply condemns all warmongering."

Ungod

Ungod has been bewitching listeners since 1991. Although Ungod experienced a relatively brief break-up from 2002 to 2008, they are still slaying. When speaking with Occult Black Metal Zine, Ungod described their sound as "Ugly stinking old school extreme metal without compromises and without modern influences! A good dose of catchiness!" This band shares three out of four members with the awesome Baxaxaxa. They are also connected with Predictor, insofar as Cryptic Tormentor belongs to both bands. Ungod is proof that blasphemers have more fun. Allow their "Phallic Megalomania (Leathercunt III)" to blow your mind:

Thron

Since Thron was formed in 2005, they have released three albums: Thron (2017), Abysmal (2018), and Pilgrim (2021). This anti-Christian gang from the Black Forest has described their style as "black-death-thrash metal."

Blutklinge

Unfortunately, this melancholic one-man band, which was led by H-K-, is no longer active. Yet, the work that Blutklinge, or "Blood-Blade," managed to leave behind is powerful enough to make its mark on your wrists. Don't worry, Blutklinge's music may throw you into the depths of despair, but it will not actually prove lethal: Blutklinge will freeze the blood in your veins before it can run out.

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Nyktalgia

Unfortunately, this band split up after two albums: Nyktalgia (2004) and Peisithanatos (2008). Their drummer, Winterheart, has played with Sterbend. Nyktalgia also briefly worked with the late Asmodaios of Sterbend. Nyktalgia is the perfect band if you are in a "nihilistic mood, [an] existential vacuum." Nyktalgia will help you "disintegrate the absurd urge to live."

Drudensang

Drudensang recently unleashed the singles "Tuiflsrijtt" and "Raserey der Krampen," which will appear on their upcoming release, Tuiflsrijtt. Despite the fact that Drudensang has created a significant amount of material, Tuiflsrijtt will be Drudensang's first full-length studio album. It will be premiered on Walpurgis Night like Häxenzijrkell's Urgrund. Among Drudensang's many accomplishments is a 2015 split with the Norwegian bands Dauden, Hordagaard, and holy Mork.

Negator

Negator's history spanned from 2003 to 2021. This "Panzer Metal" group will assault your senses in the best way possible. Negator's goal was to put a modern spin on the "Old Black" spirit of the '90s. These "Free Bird[s]" definitely succeeded. If you want to add some cheer to your day, you can find Negator's totally wicked and surprising cover of "Gloomy Sunday" on Die Eisernen Verse (2005), or "The Iron Verse."

Nocte Obducta

Nocte Obducta counts 1993 as their year of creation, even though they would not adopt their name until 1995. Until then, the band was known as Desîhra. While the fluid entity that can be referred to as "Nocte Obducta" was always a metal group, Desîhra's songwriting was sometimes influenced by psychedelic rock and punk. Similarly, Nocte Obducta has also experimented with post-rock and the like under the moniker Dinner auf Uranos — We highly recommend this unique project. Although Nocte Obducta has been called "avant-garde," this label doesn't really suit their music. Rather, this highly poetic band inhabits a shady gray area that is difficult to categorize.

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Thy Majesty

Thy Majesty was founded in 1993. Their only full-length album is called German Black Metal Art (1999). Thy Majesty's music is the type of old-school, raw BM that highlights the shortcomings of modern metal by contrast. If you hate benign, vanilla, overproduced hitmakers, Thy Majesty will come as a much-needed relief.

Drautran

Drautran self-released the 8-track CD Unter dem Banner der Nordwinde, which they prefer to refer to as a demo, in 2000. This was followed by the highly distinctive album Throne of the Depths (2007). This band focuses on Norse mythology, nature, history, death, philosophy, and literature. As time went by, Drautran abandoned remnants of anti-Christian thinking in their music. Although Drautran has not officially called it quits, their most recent update seems to have been the re-release of Under dem Banner der Nordwinde in 2009.

Kanonenfieber

Kanonenfieber is a solid 10/10. Last year, this one-man band, which was created musician Noise, released their debut album, Menschenmühle. This year, Kanonenfieber treated listeners to the EP Yankee Division. The Black Dahlia Murder's Trevor Strnad features as a guest vocalist on "Yankee Division March." In response to current events, Kanonenfieber recently dropped the single "Stop the War": "Haven't we learned anything?" Hegel, has already answered Kanonenfieber's question: "The only thing that we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history."

Katharsis

This defunct group is a truly refreshing reminder of what black metal should sound like. Although the endeavor was launched without a name, its members christened themselves "Katharsis" in 1994. Katharsis has made it clear that they deplore political music and do not support bigoted ideologies. Rather, these Luciferian terrorists were proponents of total hate. An interesting piece of trivia is that Scorn, Katharsis' co-founder, contributed to lyrics for "The Golden Horns of Darash" on Watain's Casus Luciferi (2003).

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Imperium Dekadenz

Imperium Dekadenz is sure to defy your expectations. This thoroughly solid band has existed since 2004 and functions as a duo in the studio. Imperium Dekadenz is signed to Napalm Records like their black-ish German counterparts Agathodaimon, Thulcandra, Nachtblut, and major international players, such as Satyricon — one of Imperium Dekadenz's influences. They should definitely be way more popular.

Bethlehem

Bethlehem is easily the most significant band on our list. This "Dark Metal" group, which emerged in 1991, is largely known for its massive impact on depressive suicidal black metal. In addition to BM, Bethlehem has also been known to incorporate elements of doom, death, industrial, thrash, gothic rock, etc. Notably, Bethlehem's former vocalist Andreas "Andras" Classen (1991-2995) founded the successful band Paragon Belial in 1994. Classen was replaced by Rainer Landfermann. Although Landfermann's time with Bethlehem was brief (1995-1996), his wild performances on Dictius Te Necare (1996) and the 2-song EP Alles tot (2004), which was recorded in 1996, are absolutely unforgettable. From 2009 to 2011, Bethlehem was fronted by the great Swedish provocateur Niklas Kvarforth of Shining. (The fantastic Mr. Kvarforth persuaded Andreas Classen to provide vocals for Shining's debut album, Within Deep Dark Chambers [2000].) Since 2016, Bethlehem has been led by Onielar of the Polish-German band Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult.

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