Everyone loves top 10 lists so here we are in the top 10 of the top 50 Black Metal Albums of All Time. Most of these are ranked in accordance to how much I have listened to them, sometimes this has been altered if say one band influenced another then they would typically have to be ranked higher. Though black metal may be hard and fast, there are not hard and fast rules in how these are ranked, sometimes I had to make tough calls, but that is why I get paid the big bucks , to be the gatekeeper of black at least in this little corner of the inner webs, there is the chance you do not see your favorite album on this list, if that is the case I suggest killing yourself. It is the most black metal option.
Varg needed the 11 year break to bring new sense of sonic depth. It has more of a throb than his earlier work. Still very black metal it sheds the bulk of the blast beats. This is an album I can leave on and let play all afternoon. Yes, another from the 2010 club.
9 Mayhem - "Deathcrush"
This one was tough, this 1987 ep was the first recording from what become the Norwegian black metal scene. If I was doing more than one album by each artist I would have liked an Atilla album on here , since I think he is a better vocalist than the spastic Dead, but it is what it is and wanted to get this done rather than torture myself in this debate.
8- Gorgoroth - "Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam "
This is their 7th album which was released in 2006, so they had shit dialed in and this is the sound of a band at the top of their game. I like all of their stuff but really need Gaahl to be fronting the band for it to feel like Gorgoroth to me. I think this album captures both excellent songwriting and the fiery anger that embodies black metal.
7-Dimmu Borgir- "In Sorte Diaboli"
Production Value stepped up while this could fight with the other ICS Vortex albums for the top spot in their discography, I think these songs hook you in more. This in many ways feels like an angrier album than they have had since "Stormblast". Hell Hammer's drumming is the shit on this and it would also be in the top 50 metal albums of all time not just the top 50 black metal albums , though I guess that could be said about all the albums in the top ten.
6-Agalloch-"Ashes Against the Grain"
The post-rock elements begin to edge out their older folk influence on this, but the songs are their best. Sonically powerful with all the metal punches in the right places. The mix of clean vocals to harsh vocals is the right balance.Pretty much you name it and they got it right on their 2006 album.
5-Watain "Lawless Darkness"
Sure by this point these guys were still carrying a major torch for Dissection. However some a song writing perspective these tight anthems are so well written this fact almost becomes a mute point. Of all their albums I have gotten heavier play time out of this one that really found them coming into their own as song writers thus allowing on further releases their overall sound to expand from there. Yet another member of the 2010 club.
4-Dissection-"Storm of the Lights Bane"
This 1995 album was way ahead of it's time. Sure bands like Mayhem were already doing their thing in Norway. But Jon and the boys took the classic metal / thrash sound and amped it up into these mean anthems to primordial darkness and black dragons swallowing the universe.Jon would later go on to prove how seriously passionate he was about his beliefs as a further reminder that they were never playing around and you can hear that in these songs.
3-Darkthrone- "the Cult is Alive "
While the earlier blast beaten albums are great, I enjoyed hearing this band's evolution. They go down a rawer punk road for this album and at the end of the day the songs benefited from it as they hold a more rock n roll structure rather than just being interchangeable drones. Another 2006 album which is looking to be another big year for black metal.
2-Emperor- "Anthems to the Welkin At Dusk"
A beautiful album that is as well recorded , performed and orchestrated as any Iron Maiden album. These guys are a helluva lot angrier and darker than Maiden owing more to King Diamond in the romantic cinematic mood this album carries. They prove black metal can be played by musicians with chops that hold up against any other bands.
1- Mercyful Fate- "Don't Break the Oath"
The first real satanist I became aware of as a kid.I think this is important as the conviction in ones beliefs is what sometimes drives an artist to a more isolationist. This creates the spirit of black metal. King Diamond shaped black metal in more ways than his corpse paint and there will be few black metal bands who won't claim his profound impact on the genre and those who do are too young to know what they hell they are talking about. This came out in 1984, so if you want to hear what black metal sounded like in 1984 this is the answer.This might also be in the 1 spot for greatest metal albums of all time as it stands next to 'Number of the Beast" and "Reign in Blood".