It’s no secret, lists create controversy. Like our Top 100 Black Metal Albums of All Time Special Issue (available HERE just in time for Christmas). It’s also not a secret that metalheads are a contentious, shit-talking, and unnecessarily protective lot, claiming personal ownership of bands, albums, and, surprisingly enough, entire scenes when, in fact, they had no part in any of it. That’s why they’re called fans, I suppose. To be fair, I was once part of Clan Proprietary, so it stands to reason what’s on display here is merely generational versions of myself. But factor in the Internet, anonymity, and that most black metal fans probably weren’t around in 1993, I find it particularly humorous that people, like on this Top 5, lay claim to black metal, marginal bands, and what black metal itself means when, in fact, there is no definition outside of “Satanic metal.” Well, maybe these people think differently.
#5: From Decibel’s official Facebook page
Inquisition are a great band. From the Immortal-isms to aping “Carol of the Bells” riffs for black metal, they do nifty, anti-cosmic things. But this level of comment hyperbole is awesome! What if Inquisition weren’t on the list at all? Would the list be instantly credited. I’d like to think so.
#4: From Blabbermouth.net.
Black metal isn’t intended for massive coverage in hipster magazines, eh? Maybe you missed Kerrang!‘s near-tabloid coverage of black metal in the ’90s. Or, Spin‘s massive spread on black metal in ’96. Or, maybe that little tome of yellow journalism that was/is Lords of Chaos? Black metal is one of the most successful forms–marketing and sales–of heavy metal ever made. It wasn’t intended for commercial stardom, but that didn’t stop you, me, and thousands of others from buying record numbers of black metal records that happen to be on our Top 100 list.
#3: From Nuclear War Now!’s forum.
This guy’s obviously a Pole. Graveland and pre-Pandemonic Incantations Behemoth could’ve been on our list, but the Poles were largely subservient to the Norwegians and Swedes. Compare the Polish bands to the Czechs or, singularly, the Hungarians, and they occupy a third position of importance as far as black metal is concerned. And that’s largely to the credit of Pagan Records.
#2: From Metalsucks.
“If you can’t hear the hatred, you just can’t hear it,” says Metalsucks user Max on black metal. Well, it’s hard to hear so-called hate through black metal’s ultra-limited distribution. I kid. Actually, I don’t. Black metal was never about turning people away. Black metal has always been about sales and revenue generation–following in the fine footsteps of KISS and Alice Cooper–and the bands limiting their music to self-released cassettes or whatever are only doing it to drive interest and the collector’s market. If black metal bands were so misanthropic or nihilistic they wouldn’t release music at all on formats largely popularized by mega-corporations like Sony and TDK and Panasonic. According to Quorthon’s father, Bathory’s sold over 2 million records worldwide. That’s what I call “Northern Exposure.”
#1: From SMNNews forums.
Well, this guy’s figured us out real quick. In fact, I wonder if someone on the staff leaked the email thread from Albert to the world. I mean, the thought process is oddly familiar to a conversation that’s in my inbox. Actually, none of the staff responsible for compiling the list has heard a single note from any of these records. We paid hilariously large sums of money to “black metal experts” and consultants to compile our list. We suggested Kvist and were turned down… What do we know, right? Inquisition? Who are they? A side project of Cyclone Temple?