Best Black Metal Bands

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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 ...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.

BATHORY! This band will always be the best for me, however the other bands on this list have their places well deserved. However I do believe that Darkthrone deserve to be a lot higher on this list than they already are, especially before Dimmu Borgir (go ahead HATE ON ME). Just my opinion... - LadyBanshee

I listen to Enter the Eternal fire and loved it in less than a minute, before the first four listens I had already checked their best albums and downloaded them. They make the type of music I always thought was a fantasy. If you are passionately hardcore, dark, and a little compassionate... They'll be the best thing you've ever heard (Nutty Nyc)

Amazing band

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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.

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

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. - JR302

Immortal makes only cold and dark masterpieces. - christiansteffl

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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.

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

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.

With Dead singing they take the cake.

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4 Emperor Emperor Emperor 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.

Great composition and melody

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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 ...read more.

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

Early work is completely unique and transcendental! Masterpieces of no equal.

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6 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 ...read more.

Cradle of filth are not BM.

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

Highly respected Black Metal. - ahh28

Why is this the lowest popular Norwegian Black On this List? Should be Highest - GreenDayFan21

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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.

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!

Get these posers off the list. - Rambles

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8 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.

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!

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 - SirSkeletorThe3rd

The best...

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9 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 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

Hey, they should be in top 3!

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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

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 are NOT black metal and never will be, they may of named a song black metal before the genre started, but there sound is hard rock at best.

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The Contenders

11 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..

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

The best band of the world!

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12 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.

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 in top 5

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13 Celtic Frost Celtic Frost Celtic 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 even in the top ten. - IronSabbathPriest

Another awesome pioneering act

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14 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".

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!

Pure melodic blackened Death Metal

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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.

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.

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

Amazing Swedish Black Metal band. - ahh28

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

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16 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

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17 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

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18 Agalloch 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! - 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!

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

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

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19 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.

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

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

Should at least be in the top ten.

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

This list is so lacking it should be called top 10 black metal bands every one knows. Not that there isn't any good bands in it Burzum and Windir (Windir not being that popular though) are great and among the finest but Behemoth or Venom at the top common. Moonsorrow for example are far better than any or most of the top ones and its not even in the top 10. Where is Rotting Christ for example or Peste Noir. I agree with the statement that top 10s are personal opinions but this list seems poorly researched.

Windir is not in the top 10? Even if not, 57 seriously? Laugh out loud this is not serious

One of the greatest Norwegian Black Metal Band Norway has ever known.

Windir is amazing, both Valfar's and Cosmocrator's vocals are phenomenal, and while being really hard music, it has these beautiful softspots with clean vocals that blow me away. It's sad that they never got to become very famous before Valfar died.

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1. Dimmu Borgir
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1. Emperor
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