Blackened death metal (also known as black death metal) is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal that fuses elements of black metal and death metal.[1][2]

The genre emerged in early 1990s when black metal bands began incorporating elements of death metal and vice versa. The genre typically employs death growls, tremolo picking, blast beats, and Satanic lyrics and imagery. Bands of the genre typically employ corpse paint, which was adapted from black metal.


Orion, bassist of Behemoth performing 2009.

The genre is commonly death metal that incorporates musical, lyrical or ideological elements of black metal, such as an increased use of tremolo picking, anti-Christian or Satanic lyrical themes and chord progressions similar to those used in black metal.[3] Blackened death metal bands are also more likely to wear corpse paint and suits of armour, than bands from other styles of death metal.[4] Lower range guitar tunings, death growls and abrupt tempo changes are common in the genre.[5] Some blackened death metal bands, such as Goatwhore and Angelcorpse, even take significant influence from thrash metal.[5]


Both black metal and death metal evolved out of the same crop of early extreme metal bands such as Dark Angel, Possessed, Kreator, Sodom, Venom, Celtic Frost and Bathory,[6][7][8] leading to common elements between the genres being in place. Early death metal groups possessing certain elements in common with black metal include early Sepultura, Morbid Angel, and Deicide. John McEntee, guitarist and vocalist of death metal band Incantation, has noted that he and his band draw influence from black metal.[5] Seminal black metal band Darkthrone began playing death metal before evolving into the style they would primarily become known for.[9]

Blasphemy crossed death metal and black metal on their debut album Fallen Angel of Doom, giving way to the development of war metal.[9] Dissection evolved out of the Gothenburg melodic death metal scene, embracing black metal influences into their music and helping create melodic black-death thanks to their 1993 album The Somberlain.[10]

The year 1998 saw the release of Behemoth's album Pandemonic Incantations, striking a stylistic change in the sound of the band's output from a traditional black metal style with generally pagan lyrical themes into a more death metal influenced sound with lyrics about the occult and Satan.[11] After continuing this style, their 2000 album Thelema.6 peaked at number 31 on the Polish Albums Charts.[12] Many of Behemoth's subsequent albums would continue to chart, with Demigod peaking at number 15,[13] The Apostasy at number 9,[14] and Evangelion and The Satanist both at number one,[15][16] with multiple albums charting worldwide.[17][18][19][20] American band Skeletonwitch's third, fourth and fifth albums peaked at numbers 151, 153 and 62, respectively, on the Billboard 200 charts.[21]

Thy Art Is Murder, a band which previously played deathcore, moved into a style more similar to blackened death metal on their fourth album Dear Desolation,[22][23] charting in eight different territories, including a peak at number five on the Australian Albums Charts and number seven on the New Zealand Heatseekers Albums.[24][25] Similarly, New Jersey's Lorna Shore also began to tread into blackened death metal territory with their sophomore album "Flesh Coffin".[26]

Stylistic divisions

Melodic black-death

Melodic black-death[27] (also known as blackened melodic death metal or melodic blackened death metal)[10] is a genre of extreme metal that describes the style created when melodic death metal bands began being inspired by black metal and European romanticism. However, unlike most other black metal, this take on the genre would incorporate an increased sense of melody and narrative.[10] Some bands who have played this style include Dissection,[10][27][28] Sacramentum,[10][27] Naglfar,[10] Dawn,[10] Unanimated,[10] Thulcandra,[27][10] Skeletonwitch,[29] and Cardinal Sin.[27]

Sweden's Dissection evolved alongside melodic death metal bands such as At the Gates and In Flames, by building upon the musical foundation laid by death metal and incorporating guitar melodies and harmonies amongst the standard brutality of the genre. However, unlike the other bands, Dissection began incorporating influences from black metal into their music,[30] which lead to their debut album The Somberlain influencing a plethora of subsequent bands and Metal Injection dubbing them "one of the most important extreme metal bands of all time".[10] Sacramentum's debut and second albums Far Away from the Sun and The Coming of Chaos would then continue Dissection's style of black metal-infused melodic death metal, based around middle of the neck guitar riffing and howling vocals, while Vinterland would lean even more upon their black metal predecessors like Norway's Emperor.[10] Naglfar would base their sound primarily within that of Gothenburg metal bands like In Flames and Dark Tranquility, by taking a brighter and thrashier take on the style.[10]

War metal

Pioneering war metal band Blasphemy performing in 2017

War metal[31][32][33] (also known as war black metal[32] or bestial black metal)[33] is an aggressive,[32] cacophonous[31] and chaotic[31][32] subgenre of blackened death metal,[34] described by Rock Hard journalist Wolf-Rüdiger Mühlmann as "rabid"[32] and "hammering".[32] Important influences include first wave black metal band Sodom,[31][32] first wave black metal/death metal band Possessed[32] as well as old grindcore, black and death metal bands like Repulsion,[31][32] Autopsy,[32] Sarcófago[31][32][33][35] and the first two Sepultura releases.[32][35] War metal bands include Blasphemy,[31][32][35] Archgoat,[32] Impiety,[32] In Battle,[36] Bestial Warlust[37] and Zyklon-B.[38]

See also


  1. ^ Henderson, Alex. "Ninewinged Serpent - Devian". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  2. ^ Bowar, Chad. "Hacavitz - Venganza Review". Archived from the original on 27 May 2006. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  3. ^ Unger, Matthew. Sound, Symbol, Sociality: The Aesthetic Experience of Extreme Metal Music. p. 27.
  4. ^ Gardner, Robert Owen. Studies in Symbolic Interaction. p. 119.
  5. ^ a b c Dunn, Sam; Deaville, Jason (2016). "Blackened Death Metal". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ Mudrian, Albert (2009). Precious Metal: Decibel Presents the Stories Behind 25 Extreme Metal Masterpieces. Hachette Books. ISBN 9780306818066.
  7. ^ McIver, Joel (2000). Extreme Metal II. Omnibus. ISBN 9780711980402.
  8. ^ Kahn-Harris, Keith. Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge.
  9. ^ a b Patterson, Dayal (20 July 2016). "20 of the best black metal albums from the 1990s". Metal Hammer. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l ANDREW, J (19 February 2015). "Blackened Melodic Death Metal: A History Lesson". Metal Injection. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  11. ^ "Behemoth". Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  12. ^ "sales in the period November 13, 2000 - November 26, 2000". OLiS. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  13. ^ "OLiS - sales for the period 11.10.2004 - 17.10.2004". Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  14. ^ "sales for the period 02.07.2007 - 08.07.2007". Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  15. ^ "sales for the period 10.08.2009 - 16.08.2009". Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  16. ^ "sales for the period 03.02.2014 - 09.02.2014". Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  17. ^ "BEHEMOTH - EVANGELION (ALBUM)". Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  18. ^ "BEHEMOTH - EVANGELION". Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  19. ^ "Official Rock & Metal Albums Chart Top 40". Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  20. ^ "Chart History". Billboard. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  21. ^ "Chart History". Billboard 200. Archived from the original on 10 August 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  22. ^ Senior, Nicholas (15 August 2017). "Album Review: Thy Art Is Murder – Dear Desolation". Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  23. ^ Redmond, Josh. "REVIEWSREVIEW: Thy Art Is Murder – "Dear Desolation"". Archived from the original on 8 August 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  24. ^ "THY ART IS MURDER - DEAR DESOLATION (ALBUM)". Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  25. ^ "OFFICIAL TOP 40 ALBUMS". Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  26. ^ KENNELTY, GREG (16 November 2016). "LORNA SHORE Gets Blackened And Technical On Its New Song, "Denounce The Light"". Metal Injection. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  27. ^ a b c d e D, Chris. "Top 5 Dissection Clones". Decibel. Archived from the original on 25 March 2016. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  28. ^ Ekeroth 2008, p. 267.
  30. ^ Ekeroth, Daniel. Swedish Death Metal. p. 267.
  31. ^ a b c d e f g Robert Müller: Wollt Ihr den ewigen Krieg?. Der tote Winkel. In: Metal Hammer, November 2011.
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Wolf-Rüdiger Mühlmann: War Black Metal: Die Extremsten der Extremen. Was bleibt, ist Schutt und Asche. In: Rock Hard, no. 279, pp. 71-73.
  33. ^ a b c Wolf-Rüdiger Mühlmann: SARCOFAGO. I.N.R.I. In: Rock Hard, Nr. 304, September 2012, p. 73.
  34. ^ Katel, Jacob (11 October 2013). "Florida's Top Ten Black Metal Bands". Miami New Times.
  35. ^ a b c Wolf-Rüdiger Mühlmann: Impaled Nazarene. Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz. In: Rock Hard, no. 307, December 2012, p. 77.
  36. ^ Ekeroth, David (2008). Swedish Death Metal. Bazillion Points. p. 359. ISBN 978-0-9796163-1-0. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  37. ^ DISTEFANOl, ALEX (30 October 2017). "The 13 Most Satanic Metal Bands". LA Weekly. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  38. ^ Christe, Ian (17 February 2004). Sound of the beast: the complete headbanging history of heavy metal. HarperCollins. p. 281. ISBN 978-0-380-81127-4. Retrieved 13 March 2012.