Uncharted: Music and Mayhem in the Music Industry, episode 010: Black Metal, Death Metal

Metal is one of the most extreme forms of music ever invented. Once you’re inside this tent, you quickly realize that the deeper you go, the more intense the music becomes as people compete to see who can make the heaviest music in the universe.

There are genres with names like power metal, speed metal, thrash, pirate metal, gothic metal, industrial metal, and metalcore.

Soon you encounter death metal, an American invention of the mid-80s that features distorted guitars tuned down low and drums that sound like machine guns. Vocalists growl, time signatures abruptly change, and if you can make out the lyrics, you’ll hear themes of religion, philosophy, sci-fi, and more.

There are offshoots, too, each with their own spin on things. There’s blackened death- doom, deathgrind, goregrind, pornogrind, and even melodic back death war metal.”

Death metal has a Scandinavian cousin: black metal. It’s also played fast and often doesn’t follow conventional song structure. Vocalists shriek. Recordings may be lo-fi. Members tend to adopt pseudonyms and use make-up onstage.

And again, if you can make out the lyrics, you’ll hear tales of paganism, satanist praise, references to the occult, and anti-Christian rage. And unlike other metal genres, followers of black metal have been known to engage in acts of violence, most infamously the burning of churches,

At the heart of the black metal legend is a true tale of suicide, murder, and possibly even cannibalism. What you’re about to hear may be impossible to believe, but it happened. Man, have I got a story for you…

This is Uncharted: Crime and Mayhem in the Music Industry, episode 12. I call it Black Metal/Death Metal.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38035 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Uncharted: Music and Mayhem in the Music Industry, episode 010: Black Metal, Death Metal

  • The whole black metal scene is just wild to me. I find it incredibly fascinating.

    There’s a really excellent documentary called “Until The Light Take Us” that explores the scene.


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