446: Black Metal

5) Hate humanity.  (optional but recommended)

I've gotten plenty of emails from Black Metal fans asking me to talk about the genre, and my response was always something like, "What do you mean?  I've TOTALLY talked about Black-- shit I've never talked about it, have I...."  For those unfamiliar with the genre, it emerged in Scandinavia in the 1980s out of older metal genres like thrash and NWOBHM.  It has a lot of similarities between those genres, like crazy fast guitar riffs and drum beats, but evolved to be a more extreme, underground version of that.  Most black metal bands will feature heavy screaming for vocals, and the recording fidelity of their songs is often kept intentionally low, like a lot of hardcore punk albums.  In addition, Satanism and anti-religious messages are a common theme, and the genre is notorious for many acts of violence caused by its bands, including the burning of over 50 churches.  Basically, black metal has a long history of being one of the most angry and violent metal genres out there, with a few exceptions of course.

Here are a few of the most influential black metal bands for you guys to check out.  Here's an early song by the band Venom, aptly called "Black Metal," in which the similarities to thrash metal can be easily heard.  And then another early song by the band Bathory, called "A Fine Day To Day."  Both of these bands are part of the "first wave" of black metal, which got its start in the early-to-mid 80s.  "Second wave" bands, during the 90s, helped to push the genre more into the extreme, with screaming vocals and low-quality recordings becoming the new major trends.  You can hear this in the song "Transilvanian Hunger," by the band Darkethrone.  But over the years, as the genre started becoming more popular, and recording quality started to rise, many early bands started getting accused of selling out and going commercial.  Being an extreme underground genre, many fans are against the idea of making the music more mainstream, or more easily accessible.  And even though the music is still pretty extreme, you can definitely hear (and see) the difference in recording quality, like in this recent song by the band Immortal, called "All Shall Fall."  That's all the Black Metal I have for you today, folks.  Join us again on Friday for more of whetever we'll be talking about on Friday!

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