Archive for dissection

Hagalaz’ Favorite Black Metal Covers

Posted in black metal, covers, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2016 by blackmetallurgy

So I’ve been planning on doing a thing on black metal cover songs for a long time but never got around to it, and by this point I’m sure there are some on my original mental list that have slipped my mind. But here is at least part one (there’s no Bathory on here, for starters. Mainly because I’d have done Emperor’s cover of A Fine Day To Die but I wanted to do the Mercyful Fate cover).

My personal favorite covers tend to be those in which a band puts their own spin on the original, incorporating new sounds into an old song, so that’s what I’ve tried to stick with here. And so without further ado, some personal favorite black metal covers of mine in random order!

Emperor – Gypsy (Mercyful Fate cover)

I remember reading in The Slayer Mag Diaries that Metalion didn’t like this cover, I think because of what Emperor did with the keyboards. But the added keyboards give the song that symphonic and majestic feel that is distinctly Emperor, laid over the straightforward, traditional metal of Mercyful Fate, and personally, I think that’s what makes it fantastic. Well, that and Ihsahn singing falsetto.


Watain – Watain (VON cover)

HERE IS. WHERE HE KILLS. Watain’s cover of the song from which they took their name is great fun, not least of all because Von sounds absolutely nothing like Watain has ever sounded a day in their lives. It’s always a good time to hear a band play something completely out of their ordinary style, and I’m less likely to get all whimsical and teary-eyed like I do when Watain covers Dissection.


Shining – I Nattens Timma (Landberk cover)

By all means, if you do not know Landberk’s original of I nattens timma, you ought to get out there and listen to it. It is, I think, actually creepier than Shining’s cover, with a more music-box feel to it and creepy flutes. However much I really like the original, though, I absolutely adore Shining’s version, which is how I fell in love with Niklas Kvarforth’s clean singing voice.


Dissection – Elisabeth Bathory (Tormentor cover)

There is literally nothing about Dissection covering Tormentor that isn’t cool. Of course, Jon Nödtveidt will never sound like Attila in the opening voice over, and Dissection’s approach to the song is, unsurprisingly, not as atmospheric or low-fi as the original. But rest assured, they’ve certainly Swedish-ized it, and only in the best possible way.


Thorns – Cosmic Keys to My Creations and Times (Emperor cover)

Thorns’ cover of Emperor’s Cosmic Keys is totally weird, and completely wonderful. It’s all the Emperor riffs you love, but slowed down to doom speeds and with a spoken-word voice over rather than the shrieks of the original. Slow-building and immensely heavy with a steady, almost tribal-sounding drum beat in the background, Thorns’ creepy, apocalyptic-feeling approach to the track is proof of how lucky we are that Samoth and Snorre were kicking around in the same prison for a bit.


Agalloch – Kneel to the Cross (Sol Invictus cover)

I remember seeing Agalloch play this live and being shell-shocked, because at the time I hadn’t heard the original, but I had studied medieval lyric poetry, and all I could think of was this. Anyway. That’s weird. Both versions are fantastic, of course, but it’s interesting how Agalloch’s blackened version seeps the hopefulness out of the original.


Melechesh – Babylon Fell (Celtic Frost cover)

Melechesh’s cover of Babylon Fell adds a Mediterranean flair to Celtic Frost’s blistering original. The drums in particular are really cool on this track, with the syncopated drumbeat shifting slightly away from the original. Likewise, they use several different vocal techniques, making for some interesting layering (I am, unsurprisingly partial to the shrieks). And of course, there’s some sitar in there as well, lending this cover an Eastern feel that complements the title and lyrics.


Dimmu Borgir – Burn in Hell (Twisted Sister cover)

Okay, so this is once again me posting Dimmu post-them being acceptable to a lot of black metal people, but once again, I don’t care. They covered Twisted Sister, and Burn in Hell at that, and it’s fun as shit, and ICS Vortex is as on par here as he ever is.


Limbonic Art – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (Mayhem cover)

Limbonic Art’s symphonic take on De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is super cool- the vocals are inspired by Attila’s while still having an original flair to them, and the added keyboards give the song an eerie, almost gothic effect, complementing the original beautifully while still maintaining its own sound.


Celtic Frost – In the Chapel, In the Moonlight (Dean Martin cover)

I didn’t realize that this song was a cover until just recently. Now that I realize that it’s not only a cover, but a Dean Martin song, I find that not only awesome but also hilarious. This can also go into the list of Totally Metal Songs to Play at Your Wedding, which is now also going to be a list because I just thought of it. Celtic Frost also definitely put their own spin on this one, considering that it, uh, does not sound like Dean Martin.


So there you go! That’s a start of a list, at least, and probably needs more added to it, so don’t be surprised if there’s a part two lurking in the future. I’m working up a review of the Metal Threat Fest Warm-Up Show with Destroyer 666 (!) as well as some other things, but the posts might be more sporadic over the next couple of weeks while I finish up the summer session of school.

Until then,





Gratuitous Birthday Playlist 2016

Posted in 2016, atmospheric black metal, black metal, DSBM, NWOBHM, swedish death metal, true norwegian black metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2016 by blackmetallurgy

Heeeeyyy everyone. It’s my birthday again! And that means you all get a post of what I’m listening to at the moment, about which you may or may not care at all! (I realized that I missed out doing this the past couple of years. I may need to do a couple of other random gratuitous N/P posts to make up for it.)

Anyhow, without further ado, here is what I’ve been jamming lately.


SHINING IS COMING TO NORTH AMERICA YOU GUYS. I have been stupidly excited ever since this was announced, so it’s probably no surprise that Shining has been on near-constant rotation for me lately. (Niklas Kvarforth is also apparently not a June-baby. Ah well. Can’t have ’em all, I suppose.)


All of these articles lately with the back and forth about SJWs in metal using Taake as an example has done literally nothing but make me want to listen to more Taake. So that is what I does. Also I just got my own copy of this album after loving it for years. (Also, a bonus. I picked Myr for the list because it has a sample from Rosemary’s Baby. Whose birthday is ALSO June 28th.


Another thing I recently acquired was Venom’s Black Metal on vinyl. Unsurprisingly, it’s been in the rotation too.


Dissection gets a spot on the birfday playlist because they are Satan’s favorite band. Also, today is Jon Nötdveidt’s birthday too, RIC.


It’s also Frost’s birthday, and while something from Nemesis Divina probably makes more sense (since it’s that album’s 20th anniversary), I just got the massive and awesome 1349 Candlelight Years box set- 4 albums and the official unofficial bootleg DVD. So cheers to Frost, who was also born on the best day ever.

Psychonaut 4

I have always been vaguely aware of Psychonaut4, but until my buddy actively pushed them on me a couple of months ago I’d never really listened to them. I love my DSBM, especially in the summertime (summer is the worst!), and Psychonaut4 is some of the best.


Because the new album is still fantastic, even 6 months after its release. And because yesterday was Abbath’s birthday (I swear, all the kvltest kids are born in June.)

Dark Funeral

Also, Dark Funeral makes the list this year, because their new album is awesome.

Black Metal Surf Rock

I’ve also been listening to surf rock covers of black metal tunes because it’s summer, and I made myself a mix cd of some of the greatest hits from YouTube the other day.


I also picked up Ravencult’s Morbid Blood the other day, an album that’s been on my list for a long time but I never got around to getting. If you don’t know Ravencult, but you like good, thrash-tinged black metal, you should give them a listen.

So there you have it, kids. Hopefully I’ve managed to channel some frostbitten grimness into your summer.


Gratuitous Birthday Playlist 2014

Posted in 2014, black metal, blackened death metal, death metal, doom, local, mayhem, musings, stoner metal, traditional heavy metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2014 by blackmetallurgy

Well. This is late, and it’s late because I was busy being the birthday girl, something I don’t get to do very often because for some reason I’m always out of town on my birthday. But this year I wasn’t, and I spent a glorious evening with A at the HammerHeart Brewery followed by more hangs the next day with coworkers. And then I’ve been in Chicago, seeing Behexen (!) and Sargeist (!), which I will rave about soon enough.
However, here it is. My gratuitous birthday playlist for 2014!


1. Behemoth- O Father, O Satan, O Sun

I really love Behemoth’s new album, and I’m going to be working up a review for it soon. Suffice it to say for now that this song hits me right in the feels.

2. Iron Maiden- The Evil That Men Do

I kind of skipped Iron Maiden, having plummeted face first into symphonic black metal (I grew up on classical music. It was a natural progression). However, countless hours of listening to Maiden at DJ night over the past year has shown me the error of my ways, and I’m devouring this stuff like candy lately.

3. Behexen- Death’s Black Light

Behexen is on here because holy crap I got to see them the other night. That’s nuts. I never thought that would happen. They played this song too…

4. Sargeist- Let the Devil In

Also Sargeist. In terms of things I never thought I’d see live, they rank slightly higher than Behexen.

5. Arckanum- Þjóbaugvittr

I’ve been listening to a lot of Arckanum lately too. I love how meditative it is- the music is atmospheric and repetitive, but the subtleties in the melodies ensure that it never gets boring. Plus, Shamaatae is one of the most interesting figures in black metal to me, and I feel like Arckanum often gets overlooked.

6. Mayhem- Watchers

Y’all know already about me and Mayhem. Just like any long-time fan, I held my breath until I heard their new album, and was pleased to find that I loved it. Especially this song. Those riffs.

7. King Diamond- A Mansion in Darkness

Having secured my King Diamond ticket for St. Louis (!!!), I have also been listening to a lot of his solo work recently. I know Mercyful Fate much better, and I decided that it was nigh time I made myself more familiar with the King himself. This is probably my favorite track on Abigail– I love haunted houses.

8. Sleep- Dragonaut

My all-time favorite Sleep song. Dat bass. Dat doom.

9. Teitanblood- Silence of the Great Martyrs

We’re only halfway through, so I have yet to know for sure, but Teitanblood’s new one, Death, just might be my favorite album this year.

10. House of Atreus- Bastards on the Hillside

I’ve also been jamming out a lot to local legends (and good friends of mine) House of Atreus. Their new EP is brilliant stuff, and I have a review lying around here somewhere that I need to get edited…

11. Dissection- Dark Mother Divine

Shut up. I like this album.

So that’s it. My birfday playlist for THIS year. Watch this space- like I said, I’m in the editing stages of my House of Atreus review, and about to start on one for the new Behemoth. I got bit by the black metal bug BAD this past weekend, so I’m probably going to be churning out stuff more frequently again (also I will try to get up a review for the shows I saw in Chi-Town last week).

R.I.C., Jon Nödtveidt

Posted in black metal, black metal history, memorial, sweden with tags , , , , , on August 13, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

June 28, 1975- August 13, 2006

Reign in Chaos, brother.

Picture from Encyclopedia Metallum.

Some More Jacket Updates; Recipes; Things I Get To Look Forward To

Posted in battle jacket, concerts, musings with tags , , , , , , , on March 3, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

I have resurfaced again! Unfortunately I have been so busy lately I just haven’t had time to post anything. I have ideas though- I am going to do a review of the new Dethklok one of these months, I’m going to do a rant about why Watain is not just a Dissection knock-off, and I’m going to review the Marduk show (and Inquisition! and Death Wolf! And a bunch of others because there were a lot of bands) that I saw Thursday. And that’s just to name a few. And I plan on doing this just as soon as things slow down a little for me, which should be starting tomorrow. I finished up a project I’ve been dedicating spare time to today, so I should be able to do more here now.

Another thing I plan on doing is a post on the new metal record store in St. Paul, Into the Void. I have been there twice now, and it is my favorite place in the world. It is also where I got the new patch additions to my jacket: Darkthrone and Dissection.

I'd been planning on getting this one for a while. Glad I found it locally!

I’d been planning on getting this one for a while. Glad I found it locally!

True Norwegian Black Metal

True Norwegian Black Metal

The jacket is coming along! I also got a Mayhem Deathcrush patch the other day to fill in that spot between Dissection and Morbid, and a Nifelheim patch that I bought from my friend Carlos. I also plan on getting some pyramid studs, and I have The Devil’s Blood and Horna patches in transit somewhere.




I also thought that perhaps people might be interested in some commentary on some of the dishes from the Hellbent for Cooking metal cookbook I reviewed recently. Around the start of February, I decided to make Pagan Altar’s Pagan Pie, which is pretty much shepherd’s pie using corned beef. I admit I was a little wary of it at first- as Annick Giroux points out, it all comes from a can. It was, however, very good for having done so, and really tasty with the corned beef (I usually make mine with stew beef as it’s chunkier than ground beef, but it had never occurred to me to make it with corned beef).

Pagan Pie (Pagan Altar)

Pagan Pie (Pagan Altar)




Other than that, March is bereft metal shows for me, but I am going to see Ensiferum in April (yes! Finally! I have wanted to see them for ages, they are my favorite melo-deathy, pagan-y band), and then Ghost, and then I am certainly going to see Black Witchery and Deiphago. I’ll be missing the latter at Deathfest because I have the three day pass, so that one is a must. I may go see Absu too; it’s a cheaper show and I hear False is opening, and I need their split with Barghest.

So much for a post about a whole lot of nothing. I am going to try and be more productive over here. So many ideas, so little time.

Until I return to remind you of how awesome Marduk is live,


Songs for the End Times

Posted in black metal, musings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

Apparently the world is going to end on Friday, as Dec. 21, 2012 is the end of the Mayan calendar. I have my doubts, as the end of the calendar was always on Dec. 21st in pre-Christian religions, seeing as that’s the Solstice and the 22nd marks the start of longer days and the end of winter. However, there’s no way to really know until Friday, I suppose, so I figured I’d throw together a soundtrack for the end. I tried to pick songs that addressed the end times in a number of ways, whether that be through human means or cosmic, and from a multitude of mythologies.

1. Rebirth of the Nemesis- Melechesh

So if you’re a fan of Babylonian myth, you’re probably familiar with Tiamat. Tiamat is a sea serpent goddess who created the world but then decided she had rather eat it. The god Marduk tore her to bits, but legend has it that she’s really only sleeping, and will rise from the depths with Chaos on her wings. However, Melechesh advises not to fear the dragon; after all, she’s mother too (even if she likes to eat her young).

2. Pure Fucking Armageddon- Mayhem

Ok. So this one is pretty straightforward.

3. Stellarvore- Watain

“No star shall shine tonight; no star, no matter how bright.” The Black Dragon also makes an appearance in anti-cosmic Satanism “Stellarvore,” or “star-eater,” is a reference to what will happen to time and space after the Lady Dragon wakes up from her nap.

4. Anathema Maranatha- Funeral Mist

A quick Google search tells me that “anathema” means accursed, and “maranatha” means the Lord is coming. These words appear only in one of Saint Paul’s letters, and may be intended as separate sentiments even though they appear next to each other. However, it can also be understood as that those accursed are to be prepared for the coming of the Lord. Anyone who is anathema, or cursed, will suffer the wrath of the Lord on the Day of Judgement.

5. …And the Great Cold Death of the Earth- Agalloch

I thought I would include something environmental on here as well, since the end of the world could very well come around as a result of human destruction of the natural world. Although this song has a myriad of meanings, the line “we are the wounds and the great cold death of the earth” leaves little to be parced.

6. World Funeral- Marduk

Another way in which humans could be responsible for our own destruction is, of course, by blowing ourselves up. Although this song is more along the lines of the personification of war (Four Horsemen, anyone?), it fits in well with the theme of complete annihilation.

7. Maha Kali- Dissection

In Hindu myth, Kali is the consort of Shiva, the destroyer. She has embodied just about everything from loving mother goddess to bloodthirsty destroyer. In the context in which Dissection references her she is the latter, but not in a completely negative way. Dissection associates her with Mahapralaya, or the destruction of the untrue “reality” of our everyday lives that keeps us from achieving our true nature.

8. Hetoïmasia- Deathspell Omega

Another Biblical reference, hetoïmasia is a reference to the prepared throne. In Christian mythology, the throne is intended for Christ, who will sit upon it at the second coming. Clearly this is not how Deathspell Omega intends it, but the sentiment is the same- a throne to be prepared for a diety hitherto absent.

9. Blood Fire Death- Bathory

Of all the end of the world scenarios, charging into battle alongside Odin and Thor is probably one of the more fun ones. Like in the second coming, all false souls shall be slaughtered. Interestingly, Quorthon also presents this scenario as a sort of deliverance for the oppressed. It’s almost like the prophecies in Revelations that promised freedom from oppression for Christians; maybe since Christians certainly aren’t the ones being oppressed anymore, Quorthon is offering some of the same solace for those who still revere the old gods.

10. Astral Path to the Supreme Majesties- Inquisition

The Void. It’s what’s left when the Black Dragon devours everything else, the “abrasive swirling murk,” Chaos. But Chaos on a cosmic scale, the destruction of the entire universe. What will happen, then, a few trillion years from now, when the known universe collapses in on itself and ceases to be. Allowing then, of course, for new universes to form. And that’s about as hopeful as it’s gonna get.


So what do you think? Is the world going to end Friday? Will Hagalaz have to narrow down her favorite black metal albums of the year after all when the day dawns bright and sunny on December 22? Or will we all be devoured by the Dark Mother and the cosmos descend into Chaos? And what song/s do you find fitting for the end of the world?

(And don’t forget that keyboard cat is the last thing any of us will see before we die).

Until next time?


The Big Four (or More) of Black Metal

Posted in black metal, black metal history, mayhem, musings, norway, sweden, true norwegian black metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2012 by blackmetallurgy

The other day, Metal Sucks did an interview with Cannibal Corpse’s Paul Mazurkiewicz and the topic of the Big Four of death metal arose. Mazurkiewicz claimed that the Big Four of death metal, if there was a Big Four, would be Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Deicide, and Suffocation. I am not sure; personally, I think Immolation should be on that list somewhere, though I would hate to kick anyone off of it, especially as I am quite the novice in terms of death metal knowledge.

Someone in the comments then decided to do a Big Four of Any Kind of Metal You Can Shake A Stick At, and came up with the following Big Four for black metal.

  1. Immortal
  2. Darkthrone
  3. Emperor
  4. Dimmu Borgir

Now, it is my personal opinion that Dimmu Borgir does not belong on that list. I am not one of the people who hates Dimmu; rather, they were a gateway (HA. See what I did there?) band for me to get into black metal waaaaaay back in high school. Their old stuff is particularly spectacular, and I think they were very strong up through Death Cult Armageddon. Nevertheless, I don’t think they belong on that list. There is already a symphonic black metal band on that list, and nobody, but nobody tops in Emperor in that respect.

Why Mayhem and/or Burzum is not filling that fourth spot on this person’s list I don’t know. But then herein lies a problem- both Mayhem and Burzum should be in the Big Four of black metal, and so should the other three. And then we are just considering Norway, and only considering the second wave of black metal. Blut Aus Nord has had far reaching influence both in and outside of France, as has Von from the U.S. and Swedish staples like Nifelheim. So, without further ado, I give you (I am taking into account here influence and innovation- I think most black metal bands nowadays can be traced back to these guys) my personal Big Six of Black Metal (with justifications).

1. Mayhem

Seriously. Anybody who does not acknowledge Mayhem as godfathers of the second wave of black metal is kidding themselves. No, they have not been as prolific as other black metal bands (see Darkthrone, holy crap) and have often gone far down experimental roads that have left even the biggest fans scratching their heads, but no one can deny their status as progenitors of the second wave. I mean, Euronymous invented the black metal riff. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas has topped just about every list of the greatest black metal albums of all time, and some of the most brilliant minds in the genre have played in the band. Fenriz claims Live in Leipzig as the album that birthed the second wave of black metal, and Mayhem has been lauded and admired in black metal scenes the world over, especially for their crucial early work. Mayhem should not only be on the list, they should be at the top of it.

2. Darkthrone

Whereas Mayhem has not been all that prolific in album releases (but have in bootlegs the combined weight of the entire band), Darkthrone has been one of the most abundant bands in the scene. Over the years they have released fourteen full length albums, and several demos, EPs, and compilations. Although their early stuff, particularly Transilvanian Hunger, has sometimes been called generic, there is no denying the influence of Darkthrone on black metal as a whole. The title track of the aforementioned album is, of course, one of the most instantly recognizable songs in the entire genre. Darkthrone’s attitude is also a reason for including them on the list; though late to the party (they were playing death metal until someone told them what was up), Darkthrone has maintained their stick-it-to-the-man, punky attitude in a way that most of their contemporaries have not. To this day, Fenriz works a regular job at the local post office, makes time to correspond with fans, and is an ardent supporter of the underground scene. Their later work has been very experimental, seeing the band dabbling in rock and roll and punk, but their attitude has never waned. Darkthrone does what they want, and in doing so they have never let the spirit of the early second wave die.

3. Immortal

When Immortal came on the scene, they were met with skepticism. How trve were these guys playing black metal so largely influenced by thrash, who write songs about the weather rather than Satan? Today, however, I think that there is little question of Immortal’s importance to black metal. Immortal reminded us that there is more to darkness than the Devil, such as freezing rain and driving snow, the grim, cold darkness of winter, and the stony bulk of impassive, towering mountains. Their fierce tremolo picking and relentless blast beats even sound like winter, and the ferocity and beauty of the season comes across in their work. Not to mention that their corpse paint, Abbath’s in particular, is some of the most instantly recognizable. Immortal has, in many ways, become the face of black metal, and considering that they seem to be genuinely nice guys, they make very good poster children. Immortal was the first black metal band (well, besides Dimmu) that I really got into, and they have a very special place in my grim, frostbitten heart. They earn their way onto the list for daring to take a different approach and proving wrong all those that doubted them.

4. Burzum

Another innovator of the early scene, Varg Vikernes deserves a spot on the list. Though I’m not a big fan of him as a human being, and I assume there are others out there who feel like me, you really cannot deny his contributions to black metal. If black metal’s most important aspect is the atmosphere as Fenriz claims, then Varg deserves to be lauded, because Burzum pretty much invented atmospheric black metal. His early work is repetitive, but has just enough subtle variation to never get boring. Astoundingly simple, yet beautiful and haunting. Burzum also incorporated the “necro” sound of low-fi recording like its contemporaries, but almost using it as an instrument to help create the desired atmosphere. Without the atmospheric stylings of Burzum, black metal as we know it today would sound completely different. Varg’s implementation of Norse mythology and culture into his music is also representative of the pagan influence on black metal, which has been taken up by other bands such as Vreid and Enslaved.

5. Emperor

…And then there was Emperor. I don’t think I really need to explain how awesome Emperor is, but I will justify putting them on my list, inasmuch as it needs justification. Every once in a while you hear a black metal band and it becomes very apparent that the members of said bands are skilled and serious musicians. Emperor is one such band. Although it is perfectly acceptable to have earned your chops jamming in your garage there is something to be said for musical training, and Emperor soars to new heights in the complicated nature of their work. Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk was my first Emperor album, and it blew me away. Why? Because the album acts more as a symphony than a modern popular rock album, with certain melodies repeating themselves at various instances throughout the record and a coherent feel to the whole thing. Emperor’s crafty use of keyboards in their music is never silly and always stirring, and their melodic passages make the soul sing.

6(66). Dissection

Last but not least, I would have Dissection. Dissection were contemporaries of all the aforementioned dudes from Norway, but are strikingly different as a result of being from Gothenburg, Sweden, the capital of Swedish death metal. Influenced by that scene, Dissection’s music is melody-heavy in a way that the early Norwegian bands are not. There are guitar solos and there are folky acoustic interludes. Dissection is about as far as you can get from the bleak fuzz of Burzum or the heavy, Venom-influenced Mayhem. Nevertheless, Dissection’s influence in Sweden and elsewhere has been vast. Melodic black metal lines are still used prevalently today by bands like Watain and Naglfar (both countrymen of Dissection), and this more accessible approach has also been inspirational in other scenes like France and the United States, though both I would argue have over time developed their own sounds. Unfortunately, because they were not in the Norwegian black circle at the time that black metal took off, Dissection has not received the attention in the best of lists that I believe they deserve.


And there you have it. That is my Big “Four” of Black Metal. As you can see, this list is not definitive. My list comprises older bands, bands that were highly influential but still primarily second-wave. I have not taken into account the first-wave, with staples like Venom and Sarcofago. Many third-wave bands like Deathspell Omega and Funeral Mist have also wielded tremendous influence in the scene, and there are big holes in this second-wave list where bands like Marduk, Beherit, and Ulver should go, yet in an effort to keep the list short, this is what I came up with. Also, considering that the Big Four of Thrash takes into account commercial success as well, these early bands are perhaps the most notable in terms of names that people know (I certainly had heard of Emperor and Immortal before I had delved far into black metal). The list is by no means perfect, but I feel like it addresses some of the most powerful of the original innovators, without whom bands like Deathspell Omega might not even exist (can you imagine what DsO might sound like if Burzum had never happened? Certainly different).

In an effort to get more people talking on this thing, what are your Big Four (or more) of black metal? Do you agree that these bands should be on the list? If not, who would you kick off? Who would you add?

Stay grim, my friends.