I'd been meaning to put together a short list of a few bands that I considered were underrated in one way or another for some time. Thanks to the Internet, many of these bands are already known, even prominent in Black Metal circles, but taking into consideration their consistent output of great material over the years, I still think they don't get the credit or recognition that they genuinely deserve, so here they are, in no particular order:
Black Metal from Athens, Greece - Formed in 2007, Acherontas have been putting out album after album of high quality music, with an emphasis on eastern-themed mysticism and occultism that really shines through each track, and enhanced through their excellent use of instrumental interludes.
Atmospheric Black Metal from Bavaria, Germany - Founded in 2011, but split up in 2019. Pretty much a one-man band, again with some heavy emphasis on mysticism and philosophy, Gratzug is capable of crafting some truly magnificent atmospheres with a unique feel.
Pagan Black Metal from Brittany, France - Belenos has been around as far back as 1995, and has put out a steady and consistent flow of fairly straightforward celtic-themed Black Metal over the years, but with some nice vocal work, heavy riffs, and other subtleties that make it stand out from the pack.
Pagan Black Metal from North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany - Another one-man band, this guy really knows how to craft some awe-inspiring and occasionally melancholic atmospheres, delivering riff after riff that could rival Hoest in terms of prolific guitarwork, and with a somewhat unique vocal approach to boot.
Black Metal from Saxony, Germany - Formed in 2002, Camulos are definitely one of the lesser-known names in this list. They only have three full-length albums to date, and not all of their material is immediately available online, however definitely check out whatever is available in order to experience a distinctly German blend of melody and brutality.
Atmospheric Black Metal from Thuringia, Germany - Mosaic has been around since 2005, however I only became aware of them a couple of years ago, and it was perhaps my most pleasant discovery in recent years. A very magical experience, atmosphere so thick you could cut it with a knife. Master-artisans of Atmospheric Black Metal, words can't really do it justice.
Cultes des Ghoules
Black Metal from Kielce, Poland - At present it seems the likes of Mgła and perhaps Batushka(s) are the most prominent names in the Polish Black Metal scene, but I definitely think that wherever Mgła is named, Cultes des Ghoules deserves to be named also, though not quite the same flavour of Black Metal. Cultes des Ghoules provides a much heavier, occult-driven offering, drenched in witchcraft and mysticism.
Symphonic Black Metal from Jyväskylä, Finland - Definitely on the better-known end of the spectrum of bands on this list, yet still criminally underrated in my opinion, all the more so considering they split up in 2018. Really capable of delivering some epic, catchy, mesmerizing riffs while balancing the usage of keyboards perfectly.
Black Metal from North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany - For me Zarathustra fall safely in the "hidden gem" category, as they split up in 2006 and were fated to remain mostly in obscurity through the passage of time. Not unlike their somewhat better-known compatriots Nagelfar, they left behind a total of just three really solid full-length albums.
Symphonic Black Metal from Washington state, USA - Not unlike Alghazanth, Ceremonial Castings are relatively well known in Black Metal, but still deserve more praise in my view. Solid artistic consistency spanning several decades, a guaranteed enjoyable listen. After splitting up in 2016, they recently announced their reunion, and should hopefully be putting out a new album in the next couple of years.
Pagan Black Metal from Thuringia, Germany - Underground veterans of the German Black Metal scene, definitely deserving of making the list. Odal have been around since 1999, and offer a fine mix of second-wave aggression fused with pagan worship. I still need to check out their last couple of albums.
Melodic Black Metal from Bavaria, Germany - Dark Fortress have been around since 1994, and have put out nothing but insanely catchy melodies, with tremendous guitar tones and quite a unique vocal approach. Highly memorable and enjoyable.
Black Metal / Thrash from Götaland, Sweden - Defintely the most old school band on the list by a safe margin, Nifelheim have been pumping out Blackened thrashy goodness since 1990, yet somehow are still reluctant to appear on many people's lists of Black / Thrash recommendations. The balls-to-the-wall leather-and-spikes metal combined with the über-raspy vocals make Nifelheim one of my favourite acts, and definitely an underrated one at that.
Black / Death Metal from Berlin, Germany - I am feeling slightly guilty for not having included any Black / Death Metal on the list so far, and even guiltier for adding the likes of Necros Christos as an afterthought, as my original list didn't include any. Everyone knows a solid Black / Death Metal album is the perfect medicine for purifying the mind and soul of all useless distractions, and while there are many bands that are capable of providing this, Necros Christos stands out from the pack for me thanks to their excellent use of Eastern-themed biblical mysticism and wide array of instrumental tracks to set the mood. Unfortunately they split up last year, so it would only be right for you to give one of their albums a spin out of respect.
Black / Death Metal from Zürich, Switzerland - I was initially hesitant to add Bölzer to the list, as thanks to their prolific touring and distinguished aesthetics and personas, they have become rather well-known in recent years, however just in case you missed the memo, this two-man band offers a really invigorating style of Black / Death Metal, with plenty of greco-roman aesthetics that hit all the right spots.
Well, that marks the end of the list (that's all I could be bothered to type). There are of course plenty of other bands worthy of mention, but they will have to wait for another occasion.
Last edited by Imperator on 15th January, 2022 @ 20:42 UTC
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