Best Black Metal Bands


The Top Ten

1 Bathory Bathory Bathory 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 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.

Best black metal band - Mbhsepiphoneplayer

Greatest black metal of all time

Quorthon the man the myth the legend
A very underrated band in general

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

At The Heart Of Winter is too good for them not to be considered either the best ot ne of the very best

What's awesome about Immortal is that their lyrics aren't satanic.

The Best!

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

3 Mayhem Mayhem Mayhem is a Norwegian black metal band formed in 1984 in Oslo, regarded as one of the pioneers of the Norwegian black metal scene. The band is also known for the infamous events surrounding them including the 1991 suicide of vocalist Dead (in which former guitarist Euronymous took pictures of Dead's more.

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. Necrobutcher, Dead, Euronymous and Hellhammer are emperors of the second wave!

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

Blends terrifying and brutal together. As someone who comes from thrash and death metal Mayhem introduced me to Black Metal and I have yet to find a black metal band as talented as them.

4 Darkthrone Darkthrone Darkthrone is a Norwegian black metal band. It formed in 1986 as a death metal band under the name Black Death. In 1991, the band embraced a black metal style influenced by Bathory and Celtic Frost and became one of the leading bands in the Norwegian black metal scene. Their first three black metal more.

Cradle of filth are not BM.

Darkthrone should be top three
2.Dark Funeral

Defining black metal. Later black-crust-punk also kicks - williamb

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

5 Burzum Burzum Burzum is an influential black metal solo project of Norwegian musician and writer Varg Vikernes. Burzum came to prominence at the beginning of the Norwegian Black Metal scene in the early 1990s. Vikernes was imprisoned for 21 years for the murder of Mayhem guitarist Euronymous, and charges of church more.

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

The guy aside, the music is on another level.


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

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

No other band could be symphincally so accurate

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 are my favorite by a clear mile. Ulver are my second, but they are way beyond black metal.

In the Nightside Eclipse was my introduction to Black Metal...there are plenty of aspects that led me to fully appreciate Black Metal...the highlight being the atmospheric quality (besides from the chilling sensation in the body) evokes an an intense yearning desire to voyage on a journey to wilderness, solitude and peace eternally away from the hustle and bustle of the city...sounds ridiculous but wow.. - Arhaan95

7 Dimmu Borgir Dimmu Borgir Dimmu 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.

While they're not completely black metal but, I feel they deserve their position on this list. They had a huge influence on a lot of extreme metal bands that emerged after the mid-90s.

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

Whilst staying true to their black metal origins, this band's sound evolves with every album. They're are pleasure to listen to, it's pure escapism for me. Love the fact that every album has a different feel and sound too.


8 Behemoth Behemoth Behemoth 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 is amazing

Should be higher

Pure love - Doomed_God

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

9 Gorgoroth Gorgoroth Gorgoroth 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 (a fictional location in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings).

True Norwegian Black Metal

One of the best black metal band of all time and the darkest.

One of the best bands in the genre, should be way higher on the list.

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.

10 Venom Venom Venom are an English extreme 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

You can't go wrong with Venom alright

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

Not the best, but they're great, and I love them. I think Kirk Hammett put it the best. "Listening to Venom is like watching a bad horror movie, as long as you don't have high expectation's you'll enjoy it a lot"


The Contenders

11 Dissection Dissection Dissection was a Swedish extreme metal band. They formed in 1989 by Jon Nödtveidt and later disbanded in 2006, followed by Nödtveidt's suicide. Their sound is usually described as "melodic blackened death metal".

Their song themes are very dark and evil but what stands out to me is their musicality. They were playing so much more melodic and genius music than in my opinion a lot of other bands

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!

Just pure masterpiece of a band made by a genius Jon Nodtveidt,

12 Celtic Frost Celtic Frost Celtic Frost was a Swiss extreme metal band from Zürich. They are known for their strong influence on the development of extreme metal. Formed in 1981 as Hellhammer, the band became Celtic Frost in 1984 and was active until 1993.

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 even in the top ten. - IronSabbathPriest

#17? No way! They deserve to be in the top five. - IronSabbathPriest

13 Satyricon Satyricon Satyricon is a Norwegian black metal band formed in Oslo, Norway in 1991 by vocalist Satyr and drummer Frost. The band's first three albums typify the Norwegian black metal style. Since their fourth album in 1999, the band has moved towards a more traditional heavy metal style.

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..

Anyone heard the newest album? doesn't even sound like black metal at all to me

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.

What, you have to revise this invalid list and adjust it instantly, this band should be at least in top 5

14 Agalloch Agalloch Agalloch was an American black/folk metal band from Portland, Oregon. They were formed in 1995 by frontman John Haughm. They released five studios albums, four EPs, two singles, one split single, two demos, four compilation albums, and one live video before disbanding in May 2016.

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

This is the band that has defined my life. Ever since I heard The Mantle for the first time ever, my way of thinking and interests altered for the better. The dark dismal lyrics, sometimes about nature, are just so so powerful. I could not ask for a better gift in my life than Agalloch!

Black Metal in a non-conventional way! A lot of atmospheric and acoustic passages. Melancholy and epic musicianship!

The band that made me listen to black metal

15 Marduk Marduk Marduk 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.

Oh god, I can't choose... I'm going with Marduk, even though they tie with so many other amazing bands... - shoulderboythemetalhead

Jet black metal

Best Black Metal band of all time in my opinion! They should at least be in the top 5 on this list!

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.

16 Enslaved Enslaved Enslaved 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

Apparently this is an under-rated band! I thought they would be higher. :/ - elves23

17 Dark Funeral Dark Funeral Dark 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.

The secret of black arts is very challenging to play on drums and this band is amazing

Really? 18? Dark Funetal kicks ass! They definitely should be way higher on the list. Top 5 at least.


Great list but I think Dark Funeral should be much higher

18 Watain Watain Watain 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.

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

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

Should at least be in the top ten.

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

19 Carach Angren Carach Angren Carach Angren is a symphonic black metal band from the Netherlands, formed by two members of the now-defunct bands Inger Indolia and Vaultage.

I just found this band the other day and I am so glad I did! They are so amazing. I was listening to their latest album, "Dance And Laugh Amongst The Rotten," and the story was so incredible. The whole ouija story was incredible! I definitely recommend.

Top 5 for sure these guys are amazing

Best symphonic black metal band ever existed to date, symphonies are just flawless. I am shocked how the band isn't even in top 10.. I think those who haven't listened Carach Angren should rot in hell.

The everything on this band is amazing.
The vocals are possibly the most listenable of any black metal band I've ever heard, alongside Darkthrone.
The symphonies are breathtaking, and the lyrics perfectly match the atmosphere given off by said symphonies.
Drums are no slouch either, with very well structured parts and an insanely talented player.
Guitars could stand to shine a bit more, though.

20 Alcest

Alcest invented the blackgaze. They went far from the stereotypical black metal tematics talking about otherwordly, melancholic and ethereal things.

I'm in love with Neige. I had to say it, sorry guys.

Such a nice and pleasant band
You can feel their songs.. Ah.. such.. I don't know what to say about them...
Their songs (almost all) are so pleasant. - Kaustab

21 Wolves in the Throne Room Wolves in the Throne Room Wolves in the Throne Room is an American atmospheric black metal band formed in 2003 in Olympia, Washington by brothers Aaron and Nathan Weaver. They have released five full-length albums, two live albums, and one EP to date. Their debut album, Diadem of 12 Stars, was recorded on a budget of just $1100. more.

For the longest time black metal had become really stagnant and most of the new bands were just recycling the old and not being any innovative until the genre. Until Wolves in the Throne Room arrive and took black metal to new places. They are by far the best modern black metal bands to date.

22 Naglfar Naglfar Naglfar is a Swedish melodic black metal band formed in 1992. The group was formed by Jens Rydén and Kristoffer Olivius, originally under the name Uninterred.

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

Definitely one of my favourites, listened to this since I was 13!

23 Hellhammer Hellhammer Hellhammer was a Swiss extreme metal band from Nurensdorf, active during 1981–1984. They are regarded as a key influence on black metal, and one of the founders of death metal.

Wrong picture. The photo is from the first Celtic Frost lineup.

My favorite proto black metal band. 1st wave is obviously the best and I HATE IT when people say " well it's not really black metal, more thrash or speed etc". They just don't sound like 2nd wave. But Hellhammer is my favorite. I'm sorry, but they should have stuck to hellhammer rather than change to Celtic Frost... that's my opinion - Rusty665

So black and depressing

Old school 1st wave bm one of my fave bands

24 Ulver

For me in the top 10. great sound - christiansteffl

They might not be black metal anymore. But you can't deny the brilliance of their albums. Bergtatt is an amazing black metal album that I find as underrated.

Bergtatt is the best black metal album ever. Period. No one comes close

They aren't black metal anymore, but Bergtatt is one of the best albums ever, and Natten's Madrigal is also. To see them at #41 is shameful.

25 Abbath

Their only one album is amazingly amazing, professional drummer...

His debut solo album is incredible - ryanrimmel


26 Anaal Nathrakh Anaal Nathrakh Anaal Nathrakh are a British extreme metal band formed in 1999 in Birmingham, England. They are currently signed to Metal Blade Records.

I love this band. They are my second favorite band in all of music. But they are not black metal ENOUGH to be on this list. - shoulderboythemetalhead

Ma god - brutal

Good band at wrong category.

85? What? At least in the top ten list..

1 Comment
27 Graveland Graveland
28 Deafheaven Deafheaven Deafheaven is an American black metal band that formed in 2010. Deafheaven has a unique avant-garde sound that incorporates elements of post metal and shoegazing . Their style is usually called 'blackgaze' . The San Francisco-based group began as a two-piece with George Clarke and Kerry McCoy, who recorded more.

This band is ass

This isn't black metal, this is hipster nonsense - SirSkeletorThe3rd

Their music is organic, impassioned and often quite beautiful. They consistently deliver high quality songs.

Taking black metal to new places with heavily emotional music.

29 Sigh
30 Drudkh

Best band ever.
More emotional value than any other black metal band.

Drudkh have shown that great black metal doesn't have to come from Norway. drudkh always delivers great albums my favorites being "Blood In Our Wells" and "Autumn Aurora"

Drudkh brings great albums my favorite being "blood in our wells"

Drudkh is the best black metal ambient/folk oriented style- band of the XXI century. They are unique, folkish melodic and atmospheric. Blood in Our Wells is their best relase to date

1 Comment
31 Carpathian Forest

You can't make a list without this band they are so good at making their music

True Norwegian Black Metal. Needless to say more.

The most negative band on earth. I love them.

In my opinion, the best black metal band.

32 Leviathan Leviathan Leviathan is an ambient black metal solo project of Jef Whitehead (A.K.A. Wrest), formed in 1998. Wrest records and plays all instruments including vocals entirely on his own. Despite having early problems with the release of Massive Conspiracy Against All Life, it was released March 24, 2008 in Europe more.

The best black metal ever heard is from leviathan

Leviathan is why I'm into black metal he deserves all possible thanks I can give

Way to low on the list

Some of the darkest, and most sinister Black Metal out there! - Spineapple

33 Belphegor Belphegor Belphegor is a blackened death metal band from Salzburg, Austria. They originally formed in 1991 under the name Betrayer before changing their name in 1993. They are named after the demon Belphegor.

Not only are they death metal, they're an awful talentless group. I'd rather listen to Black Veil Brides all day than this trash.


34 Sunn O))) Sunn O)))

... ¿What? - Doomed_God

35 Shining

Listen to them they are nice. give it a try


36 Inquisition Inquisition

The band most underrated of Black Metal

One of the best and most underrated metal bands today!

Probably the best, but very unknown..

Unbelievable band! Invoking The Majestic Throne Of Satan🤘🤘🤘is probably the BEST BM record EVER

37 Appalachian Winter

Nowhere near black metal - Ananya

38 Horna Horna

What horna isn't from norway

It's a only true Norwegian black metal band

39 Slayer Slayer Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California, formed in 1981 by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. They rose to fame with their 1986 album Reign in Blood, and is credited as one of the big four of thrash metal bands, the others being Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax. more.

Thrash, not black metal. Why?

40 Abigor

One of the more interesting black metal bands, who released 3 fantastic albums in the late 90s

41 Skeletonwitch Skeletonwitch Skeletonwitch is an American blackened thrash metal band from Athens, Ohio, formed in 2003. The band currently consists of drummer Dustin Boltjes, bassist Evan Linger, and guitarists Nate Garnette and Scott Hedrick and vocalist Adam Clemans.

Black thrash still awesome

42 1349 1349 1349 is a Norwegian black metal band from Oslo, Norway, formed in 1997. The band's name comes from the year the Black Death reached Norway.

Raw black metal, in my opinion the only black metal band keeping the genre alive and frost is an epic drummer

How are 1349 so far down? They are right now (2014) one of the best Black Metal bands. They also have one of modern metal's best drummers; Frost! Definitely deserve top 15.

1349 should be much higher, one of the rawest and most awesome black metal bands ever!

Why the hell so low down? Should be top 5, Massive Cauldron of Chaos is a masterpiece. best black metal band I've seen live. by far.

1 Comment
43 Skyforger

Best Band from Latvia! - Mikbiter15


44 Windir Windir Windir was a black metal band from Sogndal, Norway. The band combined black metal with folk music and mythology.

Glorious folk black!

One of the best black metal bands there is, everyone that knows can appreciate this beauty

Windir is surprisingly low at 53. They are my favorite band out of the ones in this list, along with Agalloch and maybe Immortal.

Should be way higher. Since they no longer exist since 2004 such a low rank is understandable but everyone who knows this band can appreciate the uniqueness of this band. By far my most favourite band of all time.

45 Woods of Desolation Woods of Desolation
46 Drottnar
47 Nekrodelirium
48 Sargeist

Raw blasphemous black metal

49 War
50 Xasthur Xasthur Xasthur is a black metal and acoustic project of American musician Scott Conner, formed in 1995. Xasthur was perhaps the most notable black metal group from America. In 2010, Conner announced the end of Xasthur, after 8 black metal albums. However, in 2015, Conner revived Xasthur as an acoustic project. more.

Nor traditional black metal but one of the best DSBM bands.

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List Stats

7,000 votes
252 listings
9 years, 191 days old

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