The Best Black Metal Album - Metal Storm Awards 2016




With muffled, bass-heavy production and dissonant guitars mixed low to really accentuate the lo-fi feeling, Lede is as sludgy as it is frosty. The frantic riffs and half-shouted, half-screamed vocals betray a lot of hardcore punk influence, but with this level of speed, distortion, and unholiness, Alkerdeel has enough black metal clout to land a spot in this category. All the looming suffocation can't drown out those razor-sharp guitars and blastbeats, and it shouldn't stop you, either.

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If you dig Blut Aus Nord's 777 trilogy and especially its second part, The Desanctification, this EP is something you may like, too. Pupil Of The Searing Maelstrom combines a similar industrial beat with space-themed lyrics and riffs as cold as empty space, à la Darkspace. This music absorbs the listener like a black hole...

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After six years, the French titans who revolutionized black metal, Deathspell Omega, are back in action with a new full-length. The sound here is not too far gone from where they last left off, a ferocious blitzkrieg of dissonant black metal madness. One could say a more redefining formula would have been preferable here, but, man, is it great to have these guys back on the throne showing all their contemporary emulators how things are really done.

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Glorior Belli has become a name worth noting due to its fusion of orthodox black metal with Southern rock (an odd combination, yes, though one that works extremely well). Sundown (The Flock That Welcomes) might actually be the band's most straightforwardly black metal release to date, but those swamp country elements still haunt the background - and even if it's "just" traditional-style black metal, you know you can trust a name like Glorior Belli to deliver a consistent, cohesive, and highly enjoyable effort.

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Inquisition have tried out a new vocal delivery that may ameliorate their standing with some listeners. What remains the same, and what may serve as consolation to those fans who appreciated Dagon's batrachoid rumbling, is the impeccable taste in guitar lines. Inquisition is all about the riff construction (and long titles), and even if Bloodshed Across The Keyboard Of Every Fan Who Has To Type This takes a few steps into more conventional black metal territory, the album remains faithfully Inquisition.
Two men, four songs - which all begin with the letter C. Coincidence? No. A colossal sound? Yes. Re Un is another illustration of how black metal is expanding across all kinds of metal music genres and sub-genres. Doom, post-, sludge, and ritual and psychedelic aspects are melded into one tight, efficient aperture. Re Un is a dreary, visceral, dark album, with themes of self-conflict and helplessness. Shall we sign you up?

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The Finnish psychonauts return for the fourth chapter in an ever-expanding saga of what can only be described as cosmic DMT black metal. Continuing in the bouncy, jammy vein of Valonielu, but somehow making things heavier and even more hypnotic on the black metal front, Värähtelijä could very well represent a peak in the musicianship of Oranssi Pazuzu, seeing them in their catchiest and most entrancing form yet. Strap on that oxygen tank, for you'll surely need it with this one.

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False Highs, True Lows balances finely on the edge of black metal and hardcore, employing the style of ragged screams and noisy, disquieting riffs that somehow belong to both genres simultaneously. Furious drums throw down an onslaught in the undercurrent while cacophonous riffs and feedback ping off each other in bleak phrases of noise, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of later-era Mayhem material with an unusually wavery and thick, drony black metal sound. Plebeian Grandstand knows how to make an unpleasant-sounding album.

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The short attention span of people in this day and age may deter potential listeners to this mammoth of an album, which lasts 100 minutes, but who needs those sore losers anyway? The term "mammoth" may be appropriate for the length of the album, but a couple of tracks in, one may start to realise the term is very much applicable to the actual music as well. Not only does it crush like a mammoth in terms of heaviness, the sheer scale of the soundscapes has to be experienced as the inner void of your soul opens up in harmony to the dissonance and sonic madness that is to follow.

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If you happened to catch Skáphe's debut album back in 2014, it can only be said that 2016's follow up is an improvement of massive proportions. Now this brainchild of the talented Alexander Poole sees the addition of the mysterious D.G. (Misþyrming) on vocals, making what was already an impressive sound even more dynamic and spine-tingling. Thundering, abrasive, and unrelenting, but also oozing a delicious undertone of dark, swirling psychedelia, Skáphe² is a clear, powerful demonstration of what separates "great" black metal from the "good."

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Write-in votes

A Diadem of Dead Stars - Kingdoms Bathed in Golden Light
Abbath - Abbath
Aenaon - Hypnosophy
Anagnorisis - Peripeteia
Arizmenda - Despairs Depths Descended
Ars Veneficium - The Reign Of The Infernal King
Arx Atrata - Spiritus In Terra
Ash Borer - The Irrepassable Gate
Bethlehem - Bethlehem
Borknagar - Winter Thrice
Christ Agony - Legacy
Cobalt - Slow Forever
Cultes Des Ghoules - Coven, Or Evil Ways Instead Of Love
Dark Funeral - Where Shadows Forever Reign
Darkestrah - Turan
Darkthrone - Arctic Thunder
Djevel - Norske Ritualer
Draugnim - Vulturine
Ellende - Todbringer
Forteresse - Thèmes pour la rébellion
Harakiri For The Sky - III - Trauma
Heimdalls Wacht - Geisterseher
Hjel - Kalte asche
Howls of Ebb - Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows
Imperium Dekadenz - Dis Manibvs
Jute Gyte - Perdurance
Malum - Awakening of the Black Flame
Mesarthim - Pillars
Mistur - In Memoriam
Moonsorrow - Jumalten Aika
Nidhöggr - Ragnarök
Noctem - Haeresis
Nordjevel - Nordjevel
Numenorean - Home
Oathbreaker - Rheia
Ohtar - Euthanasia of existence
Old Corpse Road - Of Campfires and Evening Mists
Ostracized - The Oblivion Gate
Ravencult - Force Of The Profanation
Rotting Christ - Rituals
Sapaudia - Sainte Nuit
Sarcoptes - Songs And Dances of Death
Show Me a Dinosaur - Show Me a Dinosaur
sol sistere - Unfading Incorporeal Vacuum
Spire - Entropy
Svartelder - Pyers
Uada - Devoid of Light
Ultha - Converging Sins
Urgehal - Aeons in Sodom
Veilburner - The Obscene Rite
Waldgeflüster - Ruinen
Wildernessking - Mystical Future
Winterfylleth - The Dark Hereafter