Top 10 Best Black Metal Bands

The Top Ten
1 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 old school Heavy Metal with a Nordic folk twist, creating Viking Metal. Majority of their work was Viking Metal , but Bathory is most well known for their first 4 , which proved influential to many future Black Metal bands. Bathory ended in 2004 when Quorthon died of heart failure.

To me, they're the first black metal band. They've released some of the finest black metal albums known to man! such as Under The Sign of the Black Mark, The Return of Darkness and Evil, and their self titled debut album.

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.

2 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 corpse and used one of them as the front cover for one of their live albums) and the 1993 murder of Euronymous by former member Varg Vikernes, of Burzum.

Mayhem set up the whole black metal scene and also revolutionized the genre itself. They're not only my favorite black metal band (and one of my favorite bands in general) because of how they impacted the genre with their interesting but dark history, but because musically they're absolutely brilliant

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.

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.

3 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.

They are this far the only black metal bad that don't worship the absent deity that all the "kvlt" asses worship and kiss the ass of. I'm talking about the little girl scout that calls herself satan. Immortal, rather than preaching about a pointless and nonexistent creature, write about winter and mysticism and about the realm they have dubbed "Blashyrkh." They're music is incredible and Abbath's voice doesn't sound so awful like that pathetic excuse of a black metal vocalist that calls himself Gaahl. He forces an awful scream during live performances that butchers Gorgoroth's already horrible music. Immortal should set an example of what a fantastic black metal band is whereas Gorgoroth should set an example of what an awful band that dresses a certain way and acts a certain way for publicity is.

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.

I have tried to enlarge my music taste since newyear.

So far, IMMORTAL and W.A.S.P. have been the best additions to my playlist. I'm 40y old and listen almost-exclusively to goa trance and psy trance (occasionally old Amiga tunes and C64 SID music) so I expect lots of fullness and lots of little submelodies.

4 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 albums—A Blaze in the Northern Sky, Under a Funeral Moon and Transilvanian Hunger (sometimes dubbed the "Unholy Trinity") are considered the peak of the band's career and to be among the most influential albums in the genre. For most of this time, Darkthrone has been a duo of Nocturno Culto and Fenriz, who have sought to remain outside the music mainstream. Since 2006, their work has strayed from more.

My favourite Black Metal Band..When I first heard A Blaze In The Northen Sky it brought shivers to my body and I couldn't sleep the entire night thinking of what I just heard. It was ugly, scary, dark and beautiful at the same time...

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

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.

5 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 arson. In prison, Burzum released 2 dark ambient albums recorded entirely on synthesizers. Burzum is still active to this day, but has never performed live.

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.

Say what you want about Vikernes as a person, but there is no denying his legendary legacy within the BM scene, both aesthetically and musically. His early albums took Black Metal in a completely different direction from the rest of the scene and have influenced countless of modern artists.

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

6 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!

Was the first Norwegian band to successfully blend raw, underproduced black metal with symphonic, progressive and avant-garde elements while staying true to the original Black Metal aesthetics. They have a streak of 4 unmatched albums in the Symphonic Black Metal genre. All of their musicians are incredibly talented, and even if some of them have been convicted for arson and murder, I still hold them in very high regard.

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, evoking an intense desire to voyage on a journey to eternal wilderness and peace away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

7 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.

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.

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.

Has a lot more symphonic inspiration and steers away from the kvlt black metal toilet bowl sound, but Dimmu Borgir is definitely a legend in the black metal scene. I mean who doesn't love death cult armageddon.

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.

8 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).

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.

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.

9 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.

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

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

10 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.

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.

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

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 Contenders
11 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.

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"

Venom should be much higher. They aren't famous for a singer suicide, rage killing of a random gay, or murder within the band.

And yet they make some of the best thrash or black metal around

If you don't put Venom number 1 then you weren't there when the black metal album was released. Sorry but you're just too young to vote.

Venom not only started black metal, but also all of extreme metal such as thrash, death etc.

12 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.

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.

Saddens me that the greatest, most influential black metal band is not even in the top ten.

13 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.

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.

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.

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..

After all those year, they still release great music and every album brings something different without this emo-sympho-blackish crap. Kings.

14 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.

Agalloch was one of the most creative bands of the 2000s and while all their music might not have been 100% BM, it always served as an underlying genre to their style. Ashes Against The Grain was an excellent entry point into BM for me - the album got me to look past harsh vocals and appreciate the genre's other great aspects. Since then I've learned to love harsh vocals. Thanks Agalloch!

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!

15 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.

Marduk on fifteen? Really? And where the hell is Kampfar? Or Urgehal? A top of black bands without them in the first ten is just a joke, in my opinion.

16 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.

Watain is about as close to modern royalty as it is possible to be in black metal.

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!

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

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

I remember first hearing havenless during the metal evolution episode covering extreme metal, more specifically Norwegian black metal.

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!

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

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

18 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.

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.

19 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.

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

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

Dark funeral are awesome! I think they should be higher on this list!

20 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 and self-released a demo album together.

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.

21 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 love the stories, symphony and the brutality of this band. They are definitely one of my favorite more modern black metal bands that I couldn't include a top ten without including them.

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.

22 Ulver

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!

47? Come on, I mean, ok they aren't black metal anymore, but there's one argument that they should be in top 30-20, and that is "Bergtatt: Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler"

23 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.

24 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

So black and depressing

25 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.

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