Best Black Metal Bands

The Top Ten

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 ...read more.

Not BLACK METAL! They were an influential band but barely have 1-2 black metal songs. If their existence is solely on the basis of influence then why isn't Slayer at the top of death metal bands list since they were far more influential to the genre than any other bands and also have few songs reminiscent of Death Metal? Its absurd! Bathory is a Thrash/Viking/Prog Metal band nothing more. Stop worshipping the dead! Geez, I could even see Slipknot here what's wrong with y'all?

I’m not a black metal fan so I haven’t heard that much black metal bands. All I know are these classic old bands and some blackened death/thrash bands. Burzum and all burzum copy bands suck, 1 riff for ten minutes make me sleepy. Darkthrone have some good albums but also many boring ones. Venom sound just like hardcore punk. Emperor is epic and Bathory (except the first album) is glorious. They are the best in what I have heard.

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.

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.

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.

Black Metal has been a genre of adaptation. The original artists used what was available at the time to make outstanding metal music. Immortal takes the cake for best Black Metal band, because their sound evolved with the times. As high end production and tone control became available to them, they utilized it. Other bands purposefully release Black Metal with sub-par production to evoke the sound of the poorly recorded originals. Immortal does not jump onto the pretentious "kvlt" bandwagon with their sound. Instead, they have put their focus into making Black Metal for a new generation.

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.

Have some thrash elements in their music which makes it enjoyable. Immortal don't seem to take themselves too seriously giving us a laugh every now and then. Who the hell knows what Abbath is saying at his gigs? I don't but my 2 year old girl finds him funny m/ Something for everyone I guess :D

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.

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 ...read more.

Even if you don't think it was the best musically (I don't), you still have to admit that it was the one that made the biggest impact. Burzum, Immortal, and Emperor were founded around the time of Dead's suicide. Darkthrone's style changed due to the suicide and Euronymous denouncing Death Metal's "trendiness". Euronymous also played the media by claiming they were all doing this in the name of Satan to receive more publicity. They were some of the first to commit the church burnings. Euronymous's murder was legendary. Dead brought Black Metal corpse paint, self-harm performances, and made the 2nd Wave of Norwegian Black Metal notable by the press.

The ambassadors of the Black Metal worldwide. If not for Mayhem the style may have still be a hidden love of something-thousand teenage kids.

Mayhem are a band more famous for their actions then their music. That being said, mayhem are one of the bed bands in this scene. Each vocalist brings something new to the table. Necrobutcher's heavily distorted metallic bass sound coupled with Euronymous's stellar guitar work made black metal what it is. They also knew how to make some catchy-ass riffs and not loose and inch of their evil sound. By far one of the beat metal bands. Oh, and Varg; he killed Euro and messed the reputation of black metal up.

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.

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 ...read more.

True Norwegian Black metal : repetitive, monotonous, hypnotic. Try to listen to it with full concentration on the music, it's like traveling to another imaginary world

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

Darkthrone is ' True Norwegian Black Metal! Even during their Death Metal era they produced awesome material like Soulside Journey.

True norwegian black metal as it gets! Listen to Transilvanian Hunger(of course), pure coldness, rawness and excellent riffs. Shame they abandoned their black metal roots.

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 ...read more.

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.

Burzum, Darkthrone, Bathory, and then everything else. Burzum and Darkthrone pioneered the genre (Mayhem is terrible) that we currently refer to as black metal, and Bathory could be interpreted as responsible for all black and Viking metal, plus I only get true emotional effects from those 3 bands, maybe Emperor on a good day, everything else is kind of... Bad.

He produces great metal but I only listen to him for the music what he does and has done is his business though. other then that he is great musician along side bathory dimmu borgir immortal darkthrone mayhem emperor and even early behemoth

I can't bring myself to respect the music of such a deplorable person. His music perpetuates racism and he's a murderer. I won't deny his talent, but he doesn't deserve his success.

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

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".

What! 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!

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..

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.

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.

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.

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!

DIMMU BORGIR IS THE BEST SYMPHONIC BLACK METAL BAND EVER! Come on guys! When you hear their songs like Gateways, Sorgens Kammer Del II, The Serpentine Offering, The Progenies of Great Apocalypse, Dimmu Borgir, you do not belong any longer in this world. Their music is extraordinary.
If you all see live performance of GATEWAYS at Oslo, Dimmu Borgir will definitely be at topmost position. They have used whole orchestra and choir in it. This performance is beyond perfect! This is the most amazing live performance I have ever seen! They deserve place at #1 position.

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.

Dishonorable Mention: Not BLACK METAL! Never made a song even remotely close to BLACK METAL!
Oh, "lay down your souls to the gods" that's quite satanic so they're black metal -- that's what their clueless fans think.

Again, not BLACK METAL!
They were a hard rock, thrash and speed metal band. They coined the term black metal and that's their only contribution to the genre.

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.

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.

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"

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).

Very cool message from the band. This band's mostly about the message they want to spread instead of the music itself. Simply nice

Early Gorgoroth was the best. From 1993-1997 was their peak. Hat is literally the greatest black metal vocalist ever (unfortunately he is very underrated and has the sad name of Hat) and Pest being a great replacement for Hat. During this time, Infernys wrote some of the most evil riffs ever. Recommended album would be Pentagram, honestly my favorite black metal album. But the Ghaal and King of Hell era was just mediocre. Walking tabloids and scene queens don't go well with true Norwegian black metal

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.

Thanks Satan for Gorgoroth, so glad they exist. Norwegian scene was already dying when the Gorgoroth came, and they made it great once again. Pure brutality and wickedness, just attack attack attack! Too bad Gaahl and King left because Gorgoroth is pretty weak now.

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.

See, the thing is with Behemoth- Adam is a really nice guy, who has battled lukemia and donated to charity. These guys aren't the church burning, animal sacrifisers that people associate with black metal. I actually like behemoth and I hate most black metal. Besides, Adam (Nergal) is a great musician, also doing blues and country music. Good band

The only black metal band that has good production. Every black metal band is like "we sound so evil" but the production is absolutely horrible. Behemoth stands out to me because they have amazing and evil and huge production

They are definitely one of the best black metal bands I know. Although I'm no satanist I still love there music. And to all those people saying that they don't do black metal anymore listen to their newest album The Satanist.

Probably the best blackened death metal out there. Their early stuff is absolutely great as it is extremely raw and heavy. Personally their 2 latest albums are of their best, specially Evangelion.

The Newcomers

? Black Anvil

The Contenders

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".

I love many of the bands I've seen here. Watain, Gorgoroth (Infernus), Marduk, Behemoth, Darkthrone, Emperor, Mgla, etc. I could go on. They're all amazing and they've all affected me and my life immensely, some more than others.

Yet none come close to the legend that is Dissection. It's dissapointing that they aren't higher up on the list.

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.

The reinkaos album is basically listening to the audio version of the bible of the temple of black light-The satanic organization Nodtveit belonged to. The lyrics are testament to the power of the eternal chaos. With reinkaos being my favorite album their other albums are equally great lyrically and musically

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

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.

Latest Satyricon's music is more "catchy" and softer than the first albums. Not a band thing, I reallty enjoy the change, good music.

I absolutely love Satyricon, despite their recent mainstream changes. They are still excellent musicians and marketers, and they play with a composure and methodicality and technicality that I can only compare to that of the Beatles in the Pop-rock scene or that of Wintersun in the Melodeath scene. They are kings, no pun intended.

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.

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.

One of the most surprising things for me regarding Celtic Frost, was the fact that they are from Swiss, like were you ever there?
And the were one of the most influential group on the genre.

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.

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.

What is black metal about this band? They're primarily (atmospheric) Prog Metal and dark folk band, harsh vocals alone are not enough to warrant a black metal tag. Marrow of the Spirit is the only album that comes very close to sounding black metal, that's it.

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!

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

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

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.

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.

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.

After 25 years Marduk is still holding to their roots of what they created in black metal. In my opinion, they are one of the very best bands.

One of the best black metal band ever and their music is still awesome. Rom 5:12 and Opus Nocturne are their best album.

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

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

A wise man does need to prove his point. Enslaved the best! It took a while for them to reach the top perhaps. But now that the have reached it, they are incomparable! Perhaps Alcest should also be ranked on top!

There albums are great and they were the first BM band I listened to and they are one of my favorites. this is my list in no specific order. immortal, enslaved, behemoth, mayhem, dimmu borgir, satyricon, burzum, darkthrone, drudkh, gorgoroth, emperor, dark fortress, bathory, and take. but that is ust my opinion.

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

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.

They own my heart and respect (and ears.. lol) not only for remarkable musical diversity, but also for their strong phylosophy and ideological influence upon the audience. Their music is thoughtful and their energy is overwhelming! Hail Watain! Incipit Chaos!

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.

Just listen to Waters of Ain from them. 14 Minutes of pure awesomness, my favorite black metal song of all time!

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

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.

14th place? Well of course Dimmu Burger is higher, silly goths trying to make BM soft and friendly. Dark Funeral is pure and true as it were back in the 90s. Every single album is great. Very known band and they actually have a music video with over 4 mil. Views, and they still didn't changed a bit. HAIL DARK FUNERAL -I- 666 -I-

If you want to listen to songs about Hell, Satan, and Demons plus some actual melodies and a choir here and there THIS is the band you need to listen too.

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

Dark funeral makes some outstanding music, they should be higher on this list for sure

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. ...read 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

It may be Symphonic Black Metal but it's better than most on this list. Carach Angren has albums that makes you feel like your listening to a story. These guys are the kings of modern black metal

Alcest

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.

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.

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.

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

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

Ulver

Nattens Madrigal is easily the best raw black metal album of all time...the best example of necro sound with amazing dark atmosphere

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.

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.

Ok, I understand that Ulver is not in the top 3, becouse it's ambient/electronica now, but come on! Bergtatt is most atmospheric, aggresive and beautiful album ever at one time!

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.

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

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

So black and depressing

Old school 1st wave bm one of my fave bands

Taake

Very good riffs and good vocals

Taake's got something to it. It's works are melodic, yet sometimes they carry certain unique appeal that I like about them. This appeal is for example mostly heard on album called taake.

Taake is holding the black metal torch consistently higher than most the bands on this list, yet it's not higher on the list, go figure.

Taake not being in the top 10 at least really say's it all about this list.

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