Best Black Metal Bands

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The Top TenXW

1ImmortalImmortal is a black metal band from Bergen, Norway, founded in 1990 by frontman and guitarist Abbath Doom Occulta and former guitarist Demonaz Doom Occulta.

IMMORTAL, DARKTHRONE, BURZUM, MAYHEM AND EMPEROR should be at first spot irrespective of their position they equally important
This list totally wrecked
DIMMU BORGIR is greatly influenced by IMMORTAL

Whether or not you consider them to be the best, they're regardless the most black metal band there is besides Gorgoroth. And, I would say they're even more-so black metal -- they haven't released their names, they've perhaps stuck to the sound more than anyone else. It doesn't get more black metal than Immortal. - JR302

Awesome songs and pretty furious while still being enjoyable. I like their album At the Heart of Winter very much. This, Bathory and Dimmu Borgir are at the top of the league.

The best black metal band of all time. Period.

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2BathoryBathory was a Swedish Black/Viking Metal band formed in 1983 by Quorthon and Jonas Åkerlund. Bathory's first 4 albums layed the blueprint for Scandinavian Black Metal. Quorthon is often credited with creating the "shrieking" vocal style of Black Metal. Their 5th album, Hammerheart (1990) displayed ...read more.

An awesome band (formed by one man) and one of the pioneers in the black metal genre (together with Celtic Frost).
One of the best black metal bands I've heard.
One of the best viking metal bands I've heard.
One of the best thrash metal bands I've heard.
Classic band! Just listen Enter the Eternal Fire... And you'll know soon what I'm saying.

Why is C.O. F on the list? I thought this was a best black metal bands list not a freaky banshee howl/shriek band after every four bars. And also Carcass aren't black metal they are an awesome melo death band (not their silly grindcore music).
Back to the point, these guys and merciful fate are the pioneers of black metal. They invented it now and the best. I also think dimmu borgir should be at no 3 as well.

Well this is a strange list. What is Dimmu Borgir doing at #1.

Bathory is the best black metal band

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3MayhemMayhem is a Norwegian black metal band formed in 1984 in Oslo, regarded as one of the pioneers of the Norwegian black metal scene.

An awesome band, greatly influences most bands of the death/black metal scene.
Dead was the first man to use the corpse paint.
The only band of the world to have a murderer and a murdered recording together.
Hail Mayhem! DARKNESS IS GLOWING!

This is the best Black Metal band of all time in my opinion. The band that created the Black Metal atmosphere in my view. - ahh28

Mayhem is my personal favorite black metal band just that fast dark heavy sound is so brutal and everything black metal should be. They have influenced thousands of bands with the ledgendary album de mysteriis dom sathanas. And the controversy over the band helped give black metal a name. Unfortunately they influenced many bands to start church burnings which is never good. - luluisro

Rip dead the best ever

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4Burzum

He is the one man super band with the vocals of a crazy man!

My personal favorite artist in any form in any category for anything, definitely deserving of the number 1 spot, having pioneered second wave black metal. Even though he now refuses to associate himself with the scene and had no intention to start or take part in it in the first place. However, leaving my passion for Burzum aside, if it was placed second to Bathory I wouldn't be ultimately dissatisfied. But anything else? Bull. - KeyToTheWatchtower

This solo project has become some of the best Black Metal out there. - ahh28

Varg is the essence of black metal

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5Dimmu BorgirDimmu Borgir is a Norwegian symphonic black metal band from Oslo, Norway, formed in 1993. The name is derived from Dimmuborgir, a volcanic formation in Iceland, the name of which means "dark cities" or "dark castles/fortresses" in Icelandic, Faroese and Old Norse.

Honestly, I like Dimmu Borgir a lot (hate me), but they don't belong on this list. They aren't "true black metal", the top spots should belong to the bands Dimmu Borgir looked up to (Bathory, Immortal, Venom, Mayhem, Emperor, Celtic Frost)

Basically, they are too symphonic to be considered a true black metal band, because they took the "raw" element out of the music. - ryanrimmel

Dimmu Borgir! They should be a bit higher. Regardless, the rest of the bands (or most of them) are definitely worthy of their positions, such as Mayhem, Burzum, Immortal and of course, Bathory, however Behemoth should be up there too, or at least somewhere higher than they are. But hell, all metal (with the exception of the not so good metal) is good metal.

Dimmu Borgir should definitely be number one. Yeah this list is ok but this band should get higher position. All the ten bands are my favourites specially dimmu, mayhem and behemoth. Shagrath has such a class voice and the guitar of silenoz! Oh man! You just can't stop head banging while listening to them. My favourite is mourning palace and puritania. Heil Dimmu!

The list is best "black metal bands" not "best TRUE black metal bands

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6EmperorEmperor was a Norwegian black metal band formed in 1991, regarded as highly influential by critics and emerging black metal bands.

Wtf!! How is Emperor not at the top of this list?? While I'll give Venom credit for starting the genre in a way, their music on the other hand sucks. Emperor are the kings of Black Metal! Every great element of Black Metal (other than the general riff structure and vocal approach, which goes to Mayhem) was done first by this band. Dimmu Borgir sounded like an Emperor tribute band at first and Satyricon isn't even Black Metal anymore they're more like Black Rock. Great list but Emperor should be a no-brainer #1 here. Kudos for throwing Celtic Frost in the list as well!! - sorteal

Emperor took everything a Black Metal band was supposed to be with the same general style as well as the embrace of church burnings, and then made it even better with their songwriting and brilliant vocals and musicians. The atmosphere and ominous feeling you get from listening to their stuff from "In the Nightshade Eclipse" gives many people chills and really feels like some evil force is present. Also, Emperor called it quits before they could become bad (as many bands stay active for way too long while their music becomes worse and worse), making many look up to them as "legends".

Emperor is definitely the cream of the crop when it comes to black metal. They do represent the pinnacle of songwriting, musicianship, conveyance of emotional intensity and atmosphere as far as I know and hear - not to mention one of the only BM bands I've ever seen that don't look and sound like pretentious idiots.

Emperor is amazing!

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7DarkthroneDarkthrone is a Norwegian heavy metal band. They formed in 1986 as a death metal band under the name Black Death.

Darkthrone is True Norwegian Black Metal and should be number 2m/

Super heavy satanic black metal, people say that black metal bands don't have as many things unique about them as other metal bands do, but this band has edged it up, along with Cradle Of Filth obviously

What this voters are sure posers. If you don't appreciate Darkthrone than you have no idea what black metal truly is

This should be #2 right below Bathory

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8BehemothBehemoth is a Polish blackened death metal band from Gdańsk, formed in 1991. They are considered to have played an important role in establishing the Polish extreme metal underground.

Behemoth should be way higher, and it is the best deathly black metal band to date (anytime) so its gotta be one of my favorites

Their not to black metal these days but I love their older raw black metal albums behemoth are defiantly one of my favorites.

This is the god of death metal in poland along with vader-basically death metal band but but many songs of this band has a twendency to black metal, they are one of the most professional band in the history-by the way nergal is cured and can compose more legendery songs like before

Behemoth should be on the top five...

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9GorgorothGorgoroth is a Norwegian black metal band based in Bergen. Formed in 1992 by Infernus, the band is named after the dead plateau of evil and darkness in the land of Mordor.

How come these guys aren't at the top? Gorgoroth is but the most brutal (yet understandable in terms of melody) black metal band of all, these are the most satanic group of musicians there is and wrote the hymn of black metal that is Sign of an Open Eye.

One of the darkest and best black metal bands! Should be on at least top 5!

Easily one of black metal's darkest, most aggressive bands, Gorgoroth has consistently forged the path for bands looking for a heavier shade of the black metal movement. - JR302

Those costumes doe

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10VenomVenom are an English heavy metal band formed in 1979 in Newcastle upon Tyne. Coming to prominence towards the end of the new wave of British heavy metal, Venom's first two albums—Welcome to Hell and Black Metal—are considered a major influence on thrash metal and extreme metal in general.

Even though bands like Venom, Celtic Frost or Mercyful Fate have influenced the genre a lot, neither of them are actually black metal. I'd say that Venom would be for thrash / speed metal list. - levtomas1998

Just because later bands change the style of black metal, it doesn't mean Venom, Celtic Frost weren't black, Celtic Frost were even Death Metal. - GREYBOYY

Lets not be stupid. There wouldn't be black metal with out these guys.

crazy 2 here the music sounds better than a whole lot better than there counterparts

They influenced the imagery and coined the term, but they didn't actually make the music.

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The Contenders

11SatyriconThe Satyricon, or Satyricon liber, is a Latin work of fiction believed to have been written by Gaius Petronius, though the manuscript tradition identifies the author as a certain Titus Petronius.

Hell! Why so low? They deserve to be in the top 3 along with mayhem and burzum! New black metal bands suck! For me dimmu borgir is not the real bm their melodies really ruin the black metal essence..

Cradle of Filth are not black metal, nor the Dimmu Borgir, at least my opinion band who created anthem for norwegian black metal sound should be on the top of the list.

They are not mainstream I bet if I go out and ask nards with avenged 7fold and death magnetic Metallica shirts who satyricon was they would not know

God of black metal

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12Celtic FrostCeltic Frost was a Swiss extreme metal band from Zürich. They are known for their heavy influence on extreme metal genres.

18? What? This is by far the best black metal band ever! Granted, they experiment with a lot of different types of metal, but black metal is the true sound of Celtic Frost. Tom Warrior is an absolute genius, and he's basically my biggest inspiration for writing music

The first true Black Metal band. (Bathory is good but Hellhammer/Celtic Frost is ridiculously great) Danse Macabre is the most terrifying track you can hear.

Saddens me that the greatest, most influential black metal band is not 1st. - IronSabbathPriest

Another awesome pioneering act

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13DissectionDissection was a Swedish extreme metal band. They formed in 1989 by Jon Nödtveidt and later disbanded in 2006, followed by Nödtveidt's suicide.

With such lyrical themes such as satanism, darkness and death but can still remain musically melodic and beautiful (black-metal wise), Dissection is definitely one of the greatest Black Metal bands ever, at least way greater than Demon Burger.

Anti-cosmic metal of death...

Please don't put bands like dimmu borgir here... They're not black metal band!

Pure Satanic swedish Black Metal. Hail the Legacy!

Dissection should be in the top 10 - no question!

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14MardukMarduk is a black metal band from Norrköping, Sweden. The band formed in 1990 and released their first album in 1992. Their name is derived from the Babylonian god Marduk, patron deity of Babylon.

Probably the most blasphemous band on the planet, as well one of the best black metal bands nowadays, the reason black metal is still strong. Check out their in my opinion best album, Panzer Division Marduk, and you'll know what I'm talking about, and they still reign mighty and unstoppable.

Amazing Swedish Black Metal band. - ahh28

Unbelievable evil, great for all the family, best growler in the business.

MARDUK is insane, evil, powerful, are the kings of black metal. They have all elements of this genre. The sound is pure hell. Without taking merit to the first five, MARDUK is among the top three.

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15Agalloch

They have released five albums, all of which are brilliant. I even got a signed copy of Marrow of the Spirit from the band! - IronSabbathPriest

The band that made me listen to black metal

One of the best bands around, the album "The Mantle" is literally the greatest piece of entertainment ever made - Tylerlangford1234

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16Naglfar

The best melodic black/death metal hybrid there is. The band has many influences from Dark Funeral and Dimmu Borgir in their compositions.

They should be at number 6.

Melodic yet aggressive,you can drown your sorrow deep within the song's melody

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17Dark FuneralDark Funeral is a Swedish black metal band from Stockholm Sweden, founded by guitarists Blackmoon and Lord Ahriman in 1993. They emerged during the second wave of black metal.

Great list but I think Dark Funeral should be much higher

Top 15? Dark funeral should be at least top 5!

I honestly do not understand how this guy's are not at least top 5... Those lyrics and riffs are just amazing, and those screams... Just amainzg

Should be higher.

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18EnslavedEnslaved is a Norwegian extreme metal band formed in Haugesund in June 1991. They are currently based in Bergen, Norway.

Not just a great Black Metal band, but one of the most creative and innovative bands making music today. Enslaved consistently release quality albums.

Enslaved should be higher on this list. One of the best bands of the past 20 years, black metal or otherwise.

Frost is my favorite black metal album. There are a lot of great albums in black metal such as spiritual black dimmensions by dimmu Borgir, pure holocaust by immortal and anything by gorgoroth and dark funeral but frost just stand out in this genera just like transylvanian hunger

Should be in the top ten. - IronSabbathPriest

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19WatainWatain are a Swedish black metal band from Uppsala, formed in 1998. The band's name is taken from a recording by the American black metal group Von.

Watain is literally the best black metal band ever, it's one of the bands that made me the one who I am today

One of the best swedish black metal bands out there. Just listen to songs like Legions of the Black Light and Malfeitor and you'll see their greatness. - zappyo29

Devils blood, black Flames march and the wild hunt are three of the greatest black metal songs ever - maverick88

I like Venom but it's not black metal Watain actually is

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20Appalachian Winter

Nowhere near black metal - Ananya

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List StatsUpdated 30 May 2016

3,000 votes
198 listings
6 years, 0 days old

Top Remixes (49)

1. Dimmu Borgir
2. Old Man's Child
3. Emperor
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1. Emperor
2. Bathory
3. Behemoth
PsychoSandman33
1. Venom
2. Agalloch
3. Mercyful Fate
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