Omega_Switch's Overview of Worthy Black Metal Albums (9.5.2010)


5 Sep 2010, 21:58

This is certainly not the first black metal list I've made, but this is the first that I have decided to use a different format. Rather than listing all my favorite black metal albums in order of preference, I'm listing these albums in groups, which are split according to subjective preference and how essential they are to the genre. Think of this as an overview of black metal, rather than a favorites list. If time allows, I'll add some mini-reviews and album covers in the future.

Comments and recommendations would be appreciated! I'm posting this not only as a guide for other interested listeners but also so that others can help me out by providing recommendations. Thanks in advance.

Group/level 1- These are the essentials, albums that I consider to represent the pinnacle of black metal- both in terms of sound/aesthetic appeal and artistic merit.
Group/level 2- Near-essentials; albums that are either important milestones in black metal- but are not quite as special as the albums in group 1- or are near-perfect in style and execution.
Group/level 3- While these are not essential recordings, they are worthy additions to any black metal fan's catalog.
Group/level 4- The others; albums that are not extraordinary in any sense, but are commendable enough in some respect to be worth a listen or two by those who are looking to delve deeper into the realm of black metal. Some of these are also "essentials" that I just never got into.

Level 1
Bathory- Under the Sign of the Black Mark (1987)
Bathory- Blood Fire Death (1988)
Burzum- Hvis lyset tar oss (1994)
Darkthrone- A Blaze in the Northern Sky (1991)
Darkthrone- Under a Funeral Moon (1993)
Dissection- Storm of the Light's Bane (1996)
Drudkh- Autumn Aurora (2004)
Emperor- In the Nightside Eclipse (1994)
Emperor- Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk (1997)
Mayhem- De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994)
Ulver- Bergtatt (1994)
Ulver- Nattens Madrigal (1997)
Weakling- Dead as Dreams (2000)

Level 2
Arcturus- Aspera Hiems Symfonia (1996)
Bathory- The Return... (1985)
Blut aus Nord- Ultima Thulée (1995)
Blut aus Nord- Memoria Vetusta I: Fathers of the Icy Age (1996)
Borknagar- Borknagar (1996)
Burzum- Aske (1993)
Burzum- Det som engag var (1993)
Burzum- Filosofem (1996)
Darkspace- Dark Space II (2005)
Darkthrone- Transilvanian Hunger (1994)
Deathspell Omega- Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice (2004)
Deathspell Omega- Manifestations 2002 (2008)
Deathspell Omega- Kénôse (2005)
Deströyer 666- Unchain the Wolves (1997)
Dissection- The Somberlain (1993)
Drudkh- Forgotten Legends (2003)
Drudkh- Blood in Our Wells (2006)
Emperor / Enslaved- Emperor / Hordanes Land (1993)
Enslaved- Vikingligr Veldi (1993)
Enslaved- Mardraum: Beyond the Within (2000)
Immortal- Pure Holocaust (1993)
In the Woods...- HEart of the Ages (1995)
Katharsis- VVorldVVithoutEnd (2006)
Kriegsmachine- Altered States of Divinity (2005)
Lurker of Chalice- Lurker of Chalice (2005)
Mayhem- Live in Leipzig (1993)
Negură Bunget- OM (2006)
Paysage d'Hiver- Winterkälte (2002)
Ruins of Beverast- Unlock the Shrine (2004)
Sacramentum- Far Away From the Sun (1996)
Sarcófago- I.N.R.I. (1987)
Satyricon- Dark Medieval Times (1993)
Satyricon- Nemesis Divina (1996)
Summoning- Stronghold (1999)
Taake- Nattestid ser porten vid... (1999)
Tormentor- Anno Domini (1988)
Walknut- Graveforests and Their Shadows (2007)
Windir- Arntor (1999)
Wolves in the Throne Room- Two Hunters (2007)

Level 3
Abigor- Orkblut - The Retaliation (1995)
Absu- Tara (2001)
Abruptum- In umbra malitae ambulabo, in aeternum in triumpho tenebrarum (1993)
Alcest- Le Secret (2005)
Amesoeurs- Ruines Humaines (2006)
Anaal Nathrakh- The Codex Necro (2001)
Anaal Nathrakh- Domine Non Es Dignus (2004)
Averse Sefira- Tetragrammatical Astygmata (2005)
Bathory- Bathory (1984)
Bethlehem- Sardonischer Untergang im Zeichen irreligioser Darbietung (1998)
Blut aus Nord- The Work Which Transforms God (2003)
Blut aus Nord- MoRT (2006)
Blut aus Nord- Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With the Stars (2009)
Burzum- Burzum/Aske (1995)
Carpathian Forest- Black Shining Leather (1998)
ColdWorld- Melancholie² (2008)
Darkestrah- Epos (2007)
Darkthrone- Panzerfaust (1995)
Darkthrone- Sardonic Wrath (2004)
Dawn- Slaughtersun (Crown of the Triarchy) (1998)
Deathspell Omega- Inquisitors of Satan (2002)
Deathspell Omega- Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum (2007)
Diabolical Masquerade- Ravendusk in My Heart (1996)
Dødheimsgard- Monumental Possession (1996)
Drautran- Throne of the Depths (2006)
Drudkh- The Swan Road (2005)
Enslaved- Frost (1994)
Enslaved- Blodhemn (1998)
Enthroned- Prophecies of Pagan Fire (1995)
Forest Silence- The Eternal Winter (2002)
Furze- Necromanzee Cogent (2003)
Fleurety- Min tid skal komme (1995)
Forgotten Tomb- Springtime Depression (2003)
Forgotten Woods- The Curse of Mankind (1996)
Geïst- Kainsmal (2006)
Gorgoroth- Antichrist (1996)
Graveland- Thousand Swords (1995)
Gris- Il était une forêt... (2007)
I Shalt Become- Wanderings (1996)
Immortal- Battles in the North (1995)
Immortal- At the Heart of Winter (1999)
Immortal- Sons of Northern Darkness (2002)
Impaled Nazarene- Ugra-Karma (1993)
Inquisition- Nefarious Dismal Orations (2007)
Judas Iscariot- Thy Dying Light (1996)
Judas Iscariot- Distant in Solitary Night (1998)
Judas Iscariot- To Embrace the Corpses Bleeding (2002)
Kampfar- Mellom skogkledde aaser (1997)
Katharsis- Kruzifixxion (2003)
Keep of Kalessin- Reclaim (2003)
Крода- Fimbulvinter (2007)
Kvist- For kunsten maa vi evig vike (1996)
Leviathan- The Tenth Sublevel of Suicide (2003)
Leviathan- Tentacles of Whorror (2004)
Limbonic Art- Moon in the Scorpio (1996)
Lunar Aurora- Weltengänger (1996)
Lunar Aurora- Andacht (2007)
Marduk- Those of the Unlight (1993)
Marduk- Opus Nocturne (1994)
Marduk- Nightwing (1998)
Master's Hammer- Ritual (1991)
Mayhem- Deathcrush (1987)
Mayhem- Wolf's Lair Abyss (1997)
Mgla- Presence (2006)
Moonblood- Blut & Krieg (1997)
Nachtmystium- Instinct: Decay (2006)
Nagelfar- Virus West (2001)
Nargaroth- Herbstleyd (1998)
Nehëmah- Light of a Dead Star (2002)
Negură Bunget- Zîrnindu-sa (1998)
Negură Bunget- Maiastru sfetnic (2000)
Negură Bunget- 'n crugu bradului (2002)
Negură Bunget- Măiestrit / Măiastru sfetnic (2010)
Nokturnal Mortum- The Voice of Steel (2009)
Nortt- Ligfaerd (2005)
Obtained Enslavement- Soulblight (1998)
October Falls- The Womb of Primordial Nature (2008)
Pest- Desecration (2003)
Pest- Dauðafærð (2004)
Peste Noir- La Sanie des siècles: Panégyrique de la dégénérescence (2006)
Primordial- A Journey's End (1998)
Rotting Christ- Non Serviam (1993)
The Ruins of Beverast- Rain Upon the Impure (2006)
The Ruins of Beverast- Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite (2009)
Samael- Worship Him (1991)
Sarcófago- Rotting (1989)
Satyricon- The Shadowthrone (1994)
Sear Bliss- Glory and Perdition (2004)
Shining- III - Angst - Självdestruktivitetens Emissarie (2002)
Shining- V - Halmstad (2007)
Sigh- Hail Horror Hail (1997)
Silencer- Death- Pierce Me (2001)
Sodom- In the Sign of Evil (1984)
Summoning- Minas Morgul (1995)
Summoning- Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame (2001)
S.V.E.S.T.- Urfaust
Taake- Hordaland Doedskvad (2005)
Urfaust- Verräterischer, Nichtswürdiger Geist (2005)
Urfaust- Drei Rituale Jenseits Des Kosmos (2008)
Vinterriket- Der letzte Winter - Der Ewigkeit entgegen (2005)
Vinterland- Welcome My Last Chapter (1996)
Vlad Tepes / Belketre- March to the Black Holocaust (1995)
Vulcano- Bloody Vengeance (1986)
Wolves in the Throne Room- Diadem of 12 Stars (2006)
Xasthur- A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors (2001)
Xasthur- Nocturnal Poisoning (2002)

Level 4
A Forest of Stars- Opportunistic Thieves of Spring (2010)
...and Oceans- The Symmetry of I- The Circle of O (1998)
Abigor- Verwüstung / Invoke the Dark Age (1994)
Abigor- Nachthymen (1995)
Abigor- Opus IV (1996)
Abigor- Fractal Possession (2007)
Aborym- Generator (2006)
Absurd- Facta Loquuntur (1996)
Aeternus- Beyond the Wandering Moon (1997)
Ancestral- Avowal (2008)
Ancient Rites- Fatherland (1998)
Antaeus- Cut Your Flesh and Worship Satan (2000)
Arckanum- Kostogher (1997)
Austere- Withering Illusions and Desolation (2006)
Baptism- Grim Arts of Melancholy (2008)
Behemoth- Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic) (1995)
Beherit- Drawing Down the Moon (1993)
Beherit- Engram (2009)
Bethlehem- Dictius Te Necare (1996)
Black Circle- The Distant Wind... (2005)
Black Funeral- Empire of Blood (1997)
Black Vomit- Jungle Death (2009)
Blasphemy- Fallen Angel of Doom (1990)
Blood of Kingu- De Occulta Philosophia (2006)
Blut aus Nord- Odinist – The Destruction of Reason by Illumination (2007)
Burzum- Belus (2010)
Celestia- Frigidiis Apotheosia: Abstinencia Genesiis (2008)
Children of Maani- The Veil of Osiris (1998)
Cobalt- Eater of Birds (2007)
Cor Scorpii- Monument (2008)
Cradle of Filth- Dusk... and Her Embrace (1996)
Cradle of Filth- Cruelty and the Beast (1998)
Corpus Christii- Rising (2007)
Dark Fortress- Tales From Eternal Dusk (2001)
Dark Funeral- The Secrets of the Black Arts (1996)
Darkthrone- Plaugewielder (2001)
Dimmu Borgir- Stormblåst (1996)
Dimmu Borgir- Enthrone Darkness Triumphant (1997)
Dødheimsgard- Satanic Art (1998)
Dornenreich- Bitter ist's dem Tod zu dienen (1999)
Drudkh- Estrangement (2007)
Elffor- Son of the Shades (2002)
Emperor- IX Equilibrium (1999)
Farsot- llll (2007)
Fear of Eternity- Spirit of Sorrow (2006)
Fen- The Malediction Fields (2009)
Forest Silence- Philosophy of Winter (2006)
Gernotshagen- Märe aus wäldernen Hallen (2007)
Glorior Belli- Manifesting the Raging Beast (2006)
Graveworm- Engraved in Black (2003)
Hate Forest- Purity (2003)
Hellhammer- Satanic Rites (1983)
Ildjarn- Strength and Anger (1996)
Krallice- Dimensional Bleedthrough (2009)
Krieg- The Black House (2004)
Krohm- The Haunting Presence (2007)
Lantlôs- .neon (2010)
Leviathan- Massive Conspiracy Against All Life (2008)
Lifelover- Konkurs (2008)
Ljå- Til Avsky for Livet (2006)
Lunar Aurora- Zyklus (2004)
Marduk- Heaven Shall Burn... When We Are Gathered (1996)
Mayhem- Chimera (2004)
Mayhem- Ordo Ad Chao (2007)
Meleechesh- As Jerusalem Burns... Al'Intisar (1996)
Mörker- Höstmakter (2008)
Naglfar- Diabolical (1998)
Nifelheim- Nifelheim (1995)
Nokturnal Mortum- Weltanschauung (2005)
Old Man's Child- In Defiance of Existence (2003)
Rotting Christ- Sanctus Diavolos (2004)
Sargeist- Black Satanic Devotion (2003)
Satyricon- Rebel Extravaganza (1999)
Sear Bliss- Phantoms (1996)
Shining- Livets Ändhållplats (2001)
Sigh- Scorn Defeat (1993)
Stillhet- Gjemt i skyggene (2004)
Stormlord- The Gorgon Cult (2004)
Thurisaz- Scent of a Dream (2004)
Trist- Willenskraft (2009)
Trist- Sebevražední Andelé (2009)
Tsjuder- Desert Northern Hell (2004)
Urfaust- Geist ist Teufel (2004)
Urfaust- Einsiedler (2009)
Velvet Cacoon- Genevieve (2004)
VI- De Praestigiis Daemonum (2008)
Von- Satanic Blood (1992)
Watain- Casus Luciferi (2003)
Wedard- Einsamer Winterweg (2006)
Winter of Apokalypse- Solitary Winter Night (2005)
Woods of Infinity- Ljuset (2005)

Bathory Burzum Darkthrone Dissection Drudkh Emperor Mayhem Ulver Weakling Alcest Arcturus Bethlehem Blut aus Nord Borknagar Darkspace Deathspell Omega Enslaved Immortal In The Woods... Katharsis Kriegsmachine Lurker Of Chalice Paysage d'Hiver, Sacramentum, Sarcófago, Satyricon, Summoning, Taake, Tormentor, Windir, Wolves in the Throne Room, A Forest of Stars, Abigor, Absu, Abruptum, Amesoeurs, Anaal Nathrakh, Averse Sefira, Carpathian Forest, ColdWorld, Darkestrah, Dawn, Deströyer 666, Diabolical Masquerade, Dødheimsgard, Dornenreich, Drautran, Fen, Forest Silence, Furze, Fleurety, Forgotten Woods, Geïst, Gorgoroth, Graveland, Gris, I Shalt Become, Judas Iscariot, Kampfar, Keep of Kalessin, Крода, Kvist, Leviathan, Lantlôs, Limbonic Art, Marduk, Master's Hammer, Mgla, Moonblood, Nagelfar, Nachtmystium, Nargaroth, Nehëmah, Nortt, Obtained Enslavement, October Falls, Primordial, Peste Noir, Rotting Christ, The Ruins of Beverast, Sigh, Samael, Sear Bliss, Shining, Silencer, Sodom, Summoning, S.V.E.S.T., Taake, Velvet Cacoon, Vinterriket, Vinterland, Vlad Tepes, Belketre, Vulcano, Walknut, Watain, Xasthur ...and Oceans Aborym Absurd Aeternus Antaeus Arckanum Austere Baptism Beherit Behemoth Black Circle Black Funeral Black Vomit Blasphemy Blood of Kingu Celestia Children of Maani Cobalt Cor Scorpii Cradle of Filth Dark Fortress Dark Funeral Dimmu Borgir Elffor Glorior Belli Gernotshagen Forgotten Tomb Den Saakaldte Graveworm Hate Forest Hellhammer Ildjarn Krallice Krohm Lifelover Ljå Mörker Naglfar Nifelheim Old Man's Child Panopticon Sargeist Stillhet Stormlord Thurisaz Tsjunder Wedard Winter Of Apokalypse Woods of Infinity Farsot Ancient Rites


  • vorphagan

    bathory's self-titled is in "level 4" ? xD kthxbye

    6 Sep 2010, 11:41
  • backslashh

    Finally someone that apparently sees A Blaze In the Northern Sky more as an essential than Transilvanian Hunger... I'm with you man. Although I love TH, ABItNS is more of a BM-blueprint than TH will ever be.

    6 Sep 2010, 20:56
  • Omega_Switch22B

    @vorphagen- You're welcome. @backslashh- I view those two albums as manifestations of two different sides of Darkthrone's early black metal sound. A Blaze is a violent black metal assault, whereas Transilvanian Hunger appeals solely to the minimal aesthetics of raw black metal. I'd say that both albums are of equal significance, and a few years ago I would've put Transilvanian Hunger above all their other albums, but over time A Blaze in the Northern Sky- and especially Under a Funeral Moon- have grown on me in ways that no other black metal album has. @vargr_moon- Yeah, this is always a controversial choice. I've always preferred Anthems, even though both are incredible albums. I had trouble deciding whether to put In the Nightside Eclipse in the first group or not, and I might place it there in the future- along with Under the Sign. In the Nightside is a classic album, no doubt, but I prefer the more intense and complex arrangements found on Anthems.

    7 Sep 2010, 1:15
  • daleallen

    Very solid list besides a few minor gripes that I have but I won't voice them because they're minor. Good work.

    7 Sep 2010, 2:11
  • veash

    Nagelfar on level 3? Whilst Mayhem on 1? wtf, this is a strange world

    7 Sep 2010, 11:03
  • Omega_Switch22B


    8 Sep 2010, 7:00
  • Black-LaVa

    funny that Absurds Facta loquntuur is only at lvl 4... thats some very important album for the german scene..

    17 Sep 2010, 16:11
  • Omega_Switch22B

    It may be an important album, but that doesn't mean I think it's a great album- which is why Bathory's first album is in the same rank. I've only listened to it on a handful of occasions though, so I'm vaguely familiar with it- part of the reason why it's put in level 4.

    17 Sep 2010, 17:16
  • johngebreadman

    put stabwounds by dark fortress at the top of the list. FUCKING NOW!

    20 Sep 2010, 21:12
  • Gauffre

    That's a very solid list for sure, to be objective, even if I don't find any Funeral Mist, haha and I've more preferences in lvl 3 and 4. BUT I'm very curious about this "Weakling- Dead as Dreams (2000)" beside all those BM references at level 1! Never heard about that (I may seem totaly ignorant I know) . I'll listen to it. And think it's "Tsjuder", you wrote "Tsjunder".

    29 Sep 2010, 8:27
  • Riffdissonance

    That's a very boring, redundant list. So predictable and pointless; well done.

    8 Oct 2010, 0:15
  • Omega_Switch22B

    Funeral Mist is a band that I've never gotten to, though I've heard/read nothing but good things. And yes, if you haven't listened to Dead as Dreams, you must. It's not for everyone, but in terms of sheer intensity it's in a class of its own.

    8 Oct 2010, 2:15
  • Omega_Switch22B

    And yeah, this list is pretty shit.

    8 Oct 2010, 2:22
  • Clockhand

    You don't have albums ranked precisely the way I do? OMGWTF!!

    19 Oct 2010, 3:34
  • Ecofascist

    "so that others can help me out by providing recommendations" Best of Underground Metal 1982 to 2002,739.0.html From these people

    18 Nov 2010, 0:36
  • dark_legions

    Dark Legions list, work-in-progress: @backslashh "Although I love TH, ABItNS is more of a BM-blueprint than TH will ever be." Actually, both are, if you think about it. ABITNS launched the Bathory-worship of second-wave black metal, and TH finalized the black metal style as simple, ultra-rhythmic, melodic metal crustcore (think about Amebix and Discharge here). @vorphagn "bathory's self-titled is in 'level 4' ?" To be fair, he did say there were some classics in there he just didn't get, but I think that's also dubious. However, Hellhammer/Bathory/Sarcofago/Blasphemy/Merciless probably should be understood as a proto-black-metal generation, because to modern black metal listeners (Immortal, Enslaved, Burzum) it sounds primitive, awkward and dated. @black la-va "funny that Absurds Facta loquntuur is only at lvl 4... thats some very important album for the german scene.." True, but it's also mostly a punk album. Asgardsrei is their musical apex, if you ask me. @Omega-Switch22B "Funeral Mist is a band that I've never gotten to" Don't bother. Like most 4th-wave black metal, they've lost sight of the greatness. Really cool people though, so if you get a chance to meet them, be sure to! Just like Watain, a little edgey. @ecofascist Cheers :)

    18 Nov 2010, 16:21
  • BrutalN00dle

    Hi from Reddit! Check out Nazxul's first full-length "Totem", as well as the latter two Otargos full-lengths.

    18 Nov 2010, 21:06
  • Conservationist Where sodomy reigns! The few, the proud, the Aspie...

    18 Nov 2010, 23:17
  • starchild8927

    No Abigor -Nachthymen?

    29 Dic 2010, 0:20
  • kosthei

    Fine list. I would add these: Nehemah - Requiem Tenebrae Root - Zjeveni Root - Hell Symphony Rotting Christ - Theogonia Bal-Sagoth - The Chthonic Chronicles

    19 Ene 2011, 11:49
  • Omega_Switch22B

    Thanks for the comments and suggestions. I just got into Root's early black metal stuff, I'll be listing at least one of them when I update this thing. I'll also add Nachthymen, but I've never found it to be one of Abigor's best- their first two still overshadow it in my mind.

    27 Ene 2011, 21:57
  • TheArtistBox

    You may be interested in my journal on black metal

    1 Dic 2012, 17:49
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