Thumbs up: +18
Within the past decade, black metal has seen bands from all over the world incorporating new sounds to the style and changing its delivery like never before. As great as the classic acts are, BM bands today seem to be branching out in every possible direction. From the beautiful chaos of the French bands to the psychedelic dabblings of the Finns to the atmospheric scene out West in the U.S... all the experimentation is helping to create a new identity for the genre. So, in no particular order, here are some of the best releases from this growing trend of originality within black metal's foundations (atmospheric, psychedelic, black doom, and otherwise).

I've also taken the time to make a playlist with one track from each album, which can be found here.

Created by: Apothecary | 05.06.2012



1. Deathspell Omega - Fas - Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum
If you consider yourself a fan of strange black metal and you haven't yet heard these Frenchy titans, you've been living under a rock. Nuff said.
2. Blut Aus Nord - 777 - The Desanctification
More weird French black metal. The second of the band's 777 trilogy, this one is a strange blend of black metal with some eerie industrial/electronic dissonance, to create a structured, yet eerie atmosphere. One of my favorites from the project.
3. Diapsiquir - Virus STN
By far the strangest and most chaotically schizophrenic of the French BM bands, no understatement. Get ready for swing piano, babies crying, and occasionally scary spoken word parts. Lyrics in French.
4. Glorior Belli - The Great Southern Darkness
French black metal with a bit of southern rock influences thrown in! It sounds weird in theory, but is actually really interesting and executed extremely well.
5. Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini
One of the original 90s Norwegian bands, Enslaved are getting increasingly progressive as they go along, and have, in my opinion, been getting better and better with each subsequent album.
6. Agalloch - Pale Folklore
American atmospheric black, with many folk and gothic influences. Great album.
7. Summoning - Lost Tales
Austrian, LOTR-themed atmospheric black metal. At times heavily keyboard-driven, to the point of sounding more like extreme ambient music than actual black metal.
8. Kawir - Isotheos
Probably one of the more orthodox releases I've put on here, but Kawir still aren't the average BM band. Lyrics in classic Greek all about Greek mythology, female vocals, awesome harmonic chants, and a bit of flute and acoustic guitar.
9. Melechesh - Emissaries
Atmospheric/Oriental black metal. Israeli BM band with lyrics about ancient Mesopotamia. They're kinda like a black metal version of Nile, albeit more groovy and less technical.
10. Wolves In The Throne Room - Two Hunters
Call it "tree hugger black metal" if you want. Atmospheric black from Washington, highly pantheistic lyrics. Occasional nature sounds, like birds chirping and running rivers thrown in. Female vocals too.
11. Urfaust - Verräterischer, Nichtswürdiger Geist
Dutch ambient black metal, with an awesome dark orchestral vibe going on. Lyrics in German.
12. A Forest Of Stars - The Corpse of Rebirth
Folklorish black metal from the UK. A wonderfully composed 6-person band, these guys have a fondness for dressing in garments reminiscent of Victorian England while onstage. This lyrical/visual theme carries over into their instrumentation, and the band frequently make use of violins, flutes, accordions, and other classical folk instruments to great effect.
13. Nachtmystium - Assassins: Black Meddle, Part 1
American psychedelic black metal (on this release and the follow-up, Addicts). Album title is a direct reference to Pink Floyd's Meddle album.
14. Oranssi Pazuzu - Kosmonument
Finnish psychedelic black metal. By far one of the strangest bands I have ever heard. Amazing atmosphere, feels like falling into a black hole.
15. Candy Cane - Jaula
Another Finnish psychedelic black metal band. Kinda like Oranssi Pazuzu (who they actually did a split with), but a bit weirder and more spontaneous at points
16. The Ruins Of Beverast - Foulest Semen Of A Sheltered Elite
One man German blackened doom project of former Nagelfar drummer Alexander Von Meilenwald. Biblically-historic lyrics, a riff-heavy guitar tone, and (in addition to the BM shrieks) deep, operatic vocals that help to create a haunting and mesmerizing vibe. Very distinct atmosphere unique to Alex.
17. Alkerdeel - Morinde
Belgian blackened sludge. Heavy shit.
18. Leviathan - Massive Conspiracy Against All Life
One man American ambient black metal from the vision of Wrest (Nachtmystium, Lurker Of Chalice). Depressive, aggressive, haunting.
19. Lurker Of Chalice - Lurker Of Chalice
Side project of Leviathan main man Wrest. Ambient black metal. Eerie and atmospheric, not as heavy and raw as Leviathan, but just as good from the different direction.
20. Peste Noire - La Sanie Des Siècles - Panégyrique De La Dégénérescence
French atmospheric black metal, at times surprisingly technical in the guitar work.
21. Nagelfar - Srontgorrth
The crown jewel of German black metal? Five massive tracks of keyboard-driven, eerie atmospheric black metal, with a highly folky (somewhat viking) sound thrown in. Great bass tone as well.
22. Hail Spirit Noir - Pneuma
Is it psychedelic? Is it progressive? Is it black metal? Is it all, is it none? This crazy Greek band has a sound like no other. Think 70s Hawkwind + black metal, and that's something close to the noise these guys generate. Yeah, it's that insane. "Into the Gates of Time" says it all.
23. The Great Old Ones - Al Azif
More good French atmospheric black metal. The fact that these guys are Lovecraft-themed pretty much automatically makes them good.
24. Negură Bunget - Om
The magnum opus of Romanian black metal, no exaggerations. The folk elements are simply amazing and will blow your mind.
25. Elysian Blaze - Blood Geometry
Atmospheric black/funeral doom. A 2 hour, double disc masterpiece crafted solely by twisted Australian genius Mutatiis. Highly symphonic and orchestral at points, the longer tracks clocking in at 20+ minutes and containing multiple movements like an opera. Difficult to digest because of its sheer length, but if you're willing to sit through a musical experience that can only be described as monumental, do not pass this one up.
26. Wormlust - The Feral Wisdom
One man Icelandic psychedelic black metal.
27. Atriarch - Ritual Of Passing
Blackened doom from the U.S. These guys are unique in the fact that they really lean more towards the doom side of the equation, this album being much more so an extreme doom release than anything else.
28. The Flight Of Sleipnir - Essence Of Nine
Blackened folk metal is becoming a tad overdone these days, but this American duo throws some stoner metal elements into the equation that really help give the music an original, riff-heavy, catchy groove that I see few other (if any) bands replicating.
29. Dordeduh - Dar De Duh
Negura Bunget core guys Sol Faur and Hupogrammos split off from the band in 2009, forming their own project that takes the folk elements to new heights while also still retaining some of their trademark composition techniques from Negura.
30. Murmuüre - Murmuüre
French ambient black metal driven by the twisted enigma that is Felix. Very spacey and kinda random in its instrumentation, but also strangely technical at points, with an underlying flow that manages to keep everything together quite nicely. This is definitely one of those "you have to hear it to understand it" type of albums.
31. Klabautamann - Merkur
More great psychedelic black metal. From Germany.
32. Cloak Of Altering - Ancient Paths Through Timeless Voids
The Dutch one man project of mastermind Mories, also of Gnaw Their Tongues fame. Very distinct avante-garde approach, another "you have to hear it to get it" type of release.
33. Botanist - III: Doom In Bloom
Self-proclaimed "eco-terrorist black metal," a bizarre one man American project of Roberto "The Botanist" Martinelli. Instrumentation limited strictly to drums, vocals, and hammered dulcimer, which creates a sound that's a bit hard to digest, but quite rewarding once you do.
34. Nocte Obducta - Umbriel (Das Schweigen Zwischen Den Sternen)
These guys started out as a rawer form of black metal, but this latest release is far more psychedelic and atmospheric, and is actually more ambient than BM, but a fantastic band/album regardless.
35. The Meads Of Asphodel - Damascus Steel
This British group defy all boundaries of classification. Core black metal sound, but they've also been known to add in elements of punk, techno, folk, and classical. This one in particular revolves around a heavy Middle Eastern theme, and as such uses a bunch of native percussion and other wacky shit, to great effect.
36. Terra Tenebrosa - The Tunnels
A bizzare Swedish blend of dark ambient, sludge, and some entrancing black metal elements that, though subtle, are definitely felt in the overall mix. The effects of the sound can range from bone-crushing one second to an almost surreal ritual aesthetic the next. If you're looking for some truly haunting, eerie stuff, this is the album for you.
37. Progenie Terrestre Pura - U​.​M​.​A.
Italian ambient black metal, with a strong sci fi theme. Awesome stuff.
38. Fullmoon Bongzai - Is All That You Deserve
A bizzare blend of black metal, psychedelia, and industrial music from Greece, these guys will take your mind and fuck it with full force. The debut, Noisense, contains a lot fewer black metal elements but is also a fantastic release.
39. Angst Skvadron - Sweet Poison
Psychedelic black metal from Norway. A bit like Oranssi at points, but with enough of a creative mind to easily set themselves apart from them and other contemporaries. A good blend of relaxing space atmospheres and groovy aggressive moments as well.
40. Circle Of Ouroborus - Eleven Fingers
A strange, hazy blend of black metal, dark ambient, and some post elements. Highly atmospheric, with the vocals mixed very low to the point of almost appearing to be whispers. This genius effect gives the music a very ritualistic, hypnotic vibe, and this particular album is great for listening to at night.
41. Murmur - Murmur
Almost a sort of "technical black metal," if you want to call it that. Very progressive, with some great drumming that's almost jazz like at points. Also contains a cover of the second part of King Crimson's "Lark's Tongues In Aspic" as the final track. What gets more epic than that?
42. Mörkö - Itsensänimeävä
Finnish blackened doom, strikes a pretty great blend between the two. At times harsh and in your face, and at others really groovy, rhythmic, and psychedelic, with an excellent bass tone that's fully audible throughout.



Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by Apothecary ]



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Oaken - 13.06.2012 at 01:00  
Try Murmuüre,Leviathan and The Ruins Of Beverast. Three boundary-breaking bands.
Apothecary - 13.06.2012 at 06:58  
Written by Oaken on 13.06.2012 at 01:00

Try Murmuüre,Leviathan and The Ruins Of Beverast. Three boundary-breaking bands.

Lol this list isn't complete yet, I just took a break from it for a bit. I have about 30 other bands to add to it, but I've just been feeling lazy as of late
And yeah, I'm well aware of Leviathan and The Ruins Of Beverast. Two amazing one-mand bands. Murmuure I'm unaware of though, will check out.
R'Vannith - 14.06.2012 at 09:20  
This sounds like a list for me to watch, hurry it up already!
SceneryOfLoss - 16.09.2012 at 00:21  
Nice list! Will be checking out some of those as soon as I can.
Fredd - 03.12.2012 at 18:42  
+1

Also, wondering why were Negura Bunget - OM and Arcturus - Aspera Hiems Symfonia left out?
Apothecary - 03.12.2012 at 19:24  
Written by Fredd on 03.12.2012 at 18:42

+1

Also, wondering why were Negura Bunget - OM and Arcturus - Aspera Hiems Symfonia left out?

I started this list like three months ago, there are many more that I've since discovered but have just been too lazy/busy to add
Fredd - 03.12.2012 at 20:16  
Written by Apothecary on 03.12.2012 at 19:24


I started this list like three months ago, there are many more that I've since discovered but have just been too lazy/busy to add

I CAN RELATE
PocketMetal - 10.02.2013 at 22:23  
Unconventional ... that's how I like it .
Alex Fenger - 01.03.2013 at 17:22  
Really nice list, a few bands I could recommend are; De Magia Veterum, Gnaw Their Tongues, Cloak Of Altering, Inquisition, The Axis Of Perdition, Arizmenda, and Botanist
Apothecary - 01.03.2013 at 17:55  
Written by Alex Fenger on 01.03.2013 at 17:22

Really nice list, a few bands I could recommend are; De Magia Veterum, Gnaw Their Tongues, Cloak Of Altering, Inquisition, The Axis Of Perdition, Arizmenda, and Botanist

I know Inquisition, wouldn't really call them experimental. Marius is a fucking genius, both in Cloak Of Altering and Gnaw Their Tongues. The other ones I will give a peek though, thank you
Marcel Hubregtse - 02.03.2013 at 13:45  
Written by Apothecary on 01.03.2013 at 17:55

Marius is a fucking genius, both in Cloak Of Altering and Gnaw Their Tongues.


Who is Marius?
!J.O.O.E.! - 02.03.2013 at 15:34  
Apothecary - 02.03.2013 at 16:30  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 02.03.2013 at 13:45

Who is Marius?

My apologies, I meant *Mories. I probably just got confused saying Marius because I just wrote a review of the new Fall Of Every Season album
SceneryOfLoss - 06.03.2013 at 20:11  
I came here through your comment on my 2012 best to worst list. There's definitely some stuff here I need to check!
Apothecary - 06.03.2013 at 20:49  
Written by SceneryOfLoss on 06.03.2013 at 20:11

I came here through your comment on my 2012 best to worst list. There's definitely some stuff here I need to check!

Glad I could help out. Yes indeed, if you're looking for strange and bizarre black metal, this is the list on metal storm. Not trying to say that I know the most about black metal on metalstorm (go to JOEE or Troy for that), but I'm definitely your guy for inquiry into the weird side of the genre
Mr. Doctor - 06.03.2013 at 21:27  
Written by Apothecary on 01.03.2013 at 17:55

Written by Alex Fenger on 01.03.2013 at 17:22

Really nice list, a few bands I could recommend are; De Magia Veterum, Gnaw Their Tongues, Cloak Of Altering, Inquisition, The Axis Of Perdition, Arizmenda, and Botanist

I know Inquisition, wouldn't really call them experimental. Marius is a fucking genius, both in Cloak Of Altering and Gnaw Their Tongues. The other ones I will give a peek though, thank you


and guess who is behind the great De Magia Veterum!
Mr. Doctor - 14.04.2013 at 18:18  
Unconventional black metal?

Yup, seems about right:
One of the best stuff I listened to because of Joe. Silent Hill black metal!

!J.O.O.E.! - 14.04.2013 at 19:55  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 14.04.2013 at 18:18

Unconventional black metal?

Yup, seems about right:
One of the best stuff I listened to because of Joe. Silent Hill black metal!

Indeed. Amazing band. Just a shame about their last album as everything else they've done is stellar.
Dark†SymphonY - 25.05.2013 at 20:45  
Might just listen to some of these and compare with my own Avant-garde list.
Erik M. - 25.05.2013 at 21:24  
I have seen this one before, but I've given you my +1 now because I know a lot more on it than I used to know.

Why not waste your time and have a look at my lists as well? Black metal is also one of my favourite subgenres, so you might find something you like. And of course suggestions on my debut albums list are always welcome, since I'm expanding it continuously.
mz - 29.06.2013 at 00:11  
Great idea for a list, I am 30% through it maybe and should definitely check out the rest.
Btw, I think darkspace and mayhem (with ordo ad chao) would fit here. Also, Cobalt's gin seems like a good fit since it sounds like a black metal version of tool. The last P.H.O.B.O.S is also a great mix of drones, industrial and black metal to a less extent.
Erik M. - 29.06.2013 at 01:01  
This list is getting better and better.

And I have another suggestion, which I'm spamming quite a bit lately: Progenie Terrestre Pura - U.M.A. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFOO1qSXS6Q). In my opinion an excellent ambient black metal album that has an industrial/electronic sound going on which creates a wonderful spacey and dreamy atmosphere. In any case it's definitely not conventional black metal. I'm not even asking... this is a must-listen!

Edit: I'm sorry, but I totally forgot you even reviewed this album! That raises the following question: why isn't it on this list?
Apothecary - 29.06.2013 at 18:20  
Written by Erik M. on 29.06.2013 at 01:01

Edit: I'm sorry, but I totally forgot you even reviewed this album [Progenie Terrestre Pura's]! That raises the following question: why isn't it on this list?

Good question lol, I'll do that right away, totally forgot about that
Also need to put some more of Mories's stuff on here, as some people have suggested, like Gnaw Their Tongues and De Magia Veterum. Admittedly though, the only project of his I've listened to is Cloak Of Altering, so those two might take a while
Erik M. - 30.08.2013 at 00:59  
Vordven - Towards the Frozen Stream. A masterpiece.
Lit. - 01.11.2013 at 06:13  
> Unorthodox black metal
> No shoegaze

+1 from me!

I second the inclusion of Cobalt (though I recommend Eater of Birds), P.H.O.B.O.S. and The Axis Of Perdition. Maybe Weakling as well?
Apothecary - 01.11.2013 at 14:16  
Written by Lit. on 01.11.2013 at 06:13

> Unorthodox black metal
> No shoegaze

+1 from me!

I second the inclusion of Cobalt (though I recommend Eater of Birds), P.H.O.B.O.S. and The Axis Of Perdition. Maybe Weakling as well?

Yeah, a bunch of people who've commented on this have recommended Axis, guess I should really get around to checking them out
And yes, no shoegaze to be found in here, I can't stand when it gets lumped in with BM... Circle Of Ouroborus are really atmospheric effects-wise, but I think more in a post sense than shoegaze.
Erik M. - 02.11.2013 at 18:40  
Written by Apothecary on 01.11.2013 at 14:16

I can't stand when it gets lumped in with BM...


Kind of like how Alcest's debut is called Blackened Shoegaze or Blackgaze while in fact there's no BM in that album to label it as such.
Lit. - 29.11.2013 at 22:23  
For the list, I'd also wanna suggest:
Mayhem - Ordo Ad Chao
Weakling - Dead As Dreams
Nachtimystium - Instinct: Decay
Apothecary - 29.11.2013 at 22:49  
Written by Lit. on 29.11.2013 at 22:23

For the list, I'd also wanna suggest:
Mayhem - Ordo Ad Chao
Weakling - Dead As Dreams
Nachtimystium - Instinct: Decay

As much as I love Instinct: Decay, I try to limit my lists to one album per band, and I think with Nachtmystium Assassins definitely wins out in the overall weirdness factor. I honestly haven't listened to much Mayhem post-Euronymous era, but I've heard good things about that album and I do like Attila as a vocalist, so I'll check it out. Can't say I'm familiar with Weakling though.
mz - 29.11.2013 at 23:41  
Written by Apothecary on 29.11.2013 at 22:49

Can't say I'm familiar with Weakling though.

If you like wolves in the throne room, you will like weakling too. They are probably greatest influence on WITTR
mz - 29.11.2013 at 23:54  
Some straight suggestions from my lists:
Ved Buens Ende - Ebonylake - Fleurety - Brown Jenkins, Code
People did great job suggesting these bands to me a while ago. You might like them
Lit. - 29.11.2013 at 23:59  
Written by Apothecary on 29.11.2013 at 22:49

As much as I love Instinct: Decay, I try to limit my lists to one album per band, and I think with Nachtmystium Assassins definitely wins out in the overall weirdness factor. I honestly haven't listened to much Mayhem post-Euronymous era, but I've heard good things about that album and I do like Attila as a vocalist, so I'll check it out. Can't say I'm familiar with Weakling though.

I completely forgot you already had Black Meddle on there. My mistake.
I myself am not a fan of early Mayhem, so I enjoyed this album much more than I did De Mysterius or whatever the hell it's called. It's definitely good and unique black metal with a gloomy atmosphere.
And as mz said, if you liked WIITR or even Elysian Blaze, you'll like Dead As Dreams. Almost two hours of epic black metal.
...And my previous seconding of Cobalt, P.H.O.B.O.S. and The Axis Of Perdition still stands.
Mr. Doctor - 30.11.2013 at 00:08  
Written by Lit. on 29.11.2013 at 23:59
Almost two hours of epic black metal.


Since when is 76 almost 120?
Erik M. - 30.11.2013 at 01:19  
Written by mz on 29.11.2013 at 23:54

Brown Jenkins


Brown Jenkins you say? Yes, I totally agree as Death Obsession is such an amazing album. I'd call it "avantgarde blackened doom" but some might disagree with that.
Mr. Doctor - 30.11.2013 at 01:25  
Less than a third of an hour is definitely not "almost an hour".
Erik M. - 30.11.2013 at 01:29  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 30.11.2013 at 01:25

Less than a third of an hour is definitely not "almost an hour".


It most certainly isn't. Sorry Lit., but Mr. Doctor is right you know.
Lit. - 30.11.2013 at 05:18  
Damn, I think I got the times confused with Dead As Dreams and another album. Shoot, my badness.

The point is: It's an awesome album.
mz - 30.11.2013 at 10:19  
Written by Erik M. on 30.11.2013 at 01:19

Brown Jenkins you say? Yes, I totally agree as Death Obsession is such an amazing album. I'd call it "avantgarde blackened doom" but some might disagree with that.

I don't see any doom in their sound tbh
Mr. Doctor - 30.11.2013 at 13:11  
Almost no one does.
Marcel Hubregtse - 30.11.2013 at 14:17  
Seeing doom in Brown Jenkins is like seeing doom in Xasthur. Nope, not there at all.
!J.O.O.E.! - 30.11.2013 at 16:30  
Yep, it's black metal for sure.
Erik M. - 30.11.2013 at 22:31  
Written by mz on 30.11.2013 at 10:19

I don't see any doom in their sound tbh


Okay... don't really know what to say other than that I do hear it (or I think I do ), although I agree it's mainly BM of course.
Erik M. - 30.11.2013 at 22:31  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 30.11.2013 at 13:11

Almost no one does.


Well, Lucas called Brown Jenkins "funeral doom" in his review, so I'm definitely not the only one. But still, I'd never call them funeral doom.
mz - 30.11.2013 at 22:37  
Written by Erik M. on 30.11.2013 at 22:31

Okay... don't really know what to say other than that I do hear it (or I think I do ), although I agree it's mainly BM of course.

I haven't heard many bands similar to them. For me, the closest thing to BJ (!=blow job ) is Velvet Cacoon feat virus . Needles to say that this combination does not result in any sort of doom
!J.O.O.E.! - 30.11.2013 at 23:14  
Written by mz on 30.11.2013 at 22:37

I haven't heard many bands similar to them. For me, the closest thing to BJ (!=blow job ) is Velvet Cacoon feat virus . Needles to say that this combination does not result in any sort of doom

Xasthur featuring Virus to my ears. Then again VC aren't that far off Xasthur.
mz - 01.12.2013 at 10:06  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 30.11.2013 at 23:14

Xasthur featuring Virus to my ears. Then again VC aren't that far off Xasthur.


well I haven' heard Xasthur yet
!J.O.O.E.! - 01.12.2013 at 14:28  
Written by mz on 01.12.2013 at 10:06

well I haven' heard Xasthur yet

To Violate The Oblivious. Get on it, now
mz - 01.12.2013 at 14:58  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 01.12.2013 at 14:28

To Violate The Oblivious. Get on it, now


I've been extremely busy these days and hardly had time for music. Also, I just have 2GB space on my HDD and thus, would not download anything new. Still almost 1500 albums on my hard which I have not checked they yet but unfortunately, I don't have any Xasthur. They are on the top of my check list for new download phase.

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