Over two decades have past since the birth of (trve) black metal in Oslo Norway. Churches lit on fire, conspiracies of murder and then actual murders, recordings that had the sound quality of a toilet (in the name of Satan). It was a genre that began as something evil, hard to listen to and "evil" with all its anguish, darkness and a hatred towards Christianity - or at least organised religion.
When you hear the words "black metal" - typically it'll follow with Mayhem, Burzum, the black circle, . Yes, yes very scary. However, the noise spread in further parts of the earth and in this article we will explore just some of what noise the United Kingdom made in relation to the genre.
Origins of UK Black Metal
Meanwhile in the UK (with still a debate on the entry of black metal on our shores) we had Venom who paved the way of Satanic imagery and even an album titled 'Black Metal'. Venom inherently are thrash metal, let's be honest with ourselves here. However, the Anti-Christian theme in itself with black leather, spikes, studs, devilish themes and down right fast and heavy music puts Venom in the origin of black metal as a rule of thumb.
Fast Forward to the 90's
The first wave of black metal was in full swing in Scandinavia in the 90's and it's musical influences latched itself onto Britain. Three of the most first noticeably unique black metal artist's to let themselves be known were Suffolk band Cradle of Filth forming in 1991 although incorporating more diverse sounds throughout their career and labelling themselves purely as 'Extreme metal'. The English/Welsh band forming in 1993 - Hecate Enthroned who are still active to this day and are paid homage by the underground. In the late 90's came the sharp dressed Londoners Akercocke unveiling their debut album 'Rape of the bastard Nazarene'.
Another honourable mention from this era who have given darkness to light are Symphonic Black metal band from Sheffield Bal-Sagoth.
Early & Mid 2000's
Whilst the UK black metal scene doesn't have much of a history of murder and church burning, there are a number of artists that have emerged from the underground with quality black metal that has impacted the environment for the current generation of black metal bands and fanatics across the country. Underground record labels started to rise such as the household name Candlelight Records who have nurtured talent across the country and internationally. One of the most note-worthy and current black metal bands under Candlelight are Winterfylleth based in Manchester who started their career in 2006 and are now playing festivals and shows in and out of the UK and sharing festival stages with bands such as Emperor - one of the earliest bands to come from the genre.
One theme that sticks out in particular within the theme of UK black metal artists is their appetite for heritage/history and nature of British folklore as opposed to the continuous drum beat of eternal Satanic hails. Not that there are anything better or worse about any of those elements given the authenticity.
With a more manageable list of bands that are very much worth pointing out in the early and mid 2000's was a little tricky, but definitely worth it. Our list of a maximum of three UK black metal bands connecting the dots from then to now would be Old Corpse Road (middle) , Trivax (left) and Wodensthrone (right) .
Current & Rising UK Black Metal
With the rise in technological advancements and peoples love for the genre and all things metal - there has been a fairly big expansion of black metal being born in the motherland. There are that many to name and share love for here, so we will keep it to a maximum of four. There's now more of a collective in black metal in the UK now than there has been throughout time and it is growing.
When you think of Britain and our history you may often think about the black death - one of the deadliest plagues known to this Europe. You'd also imagine doctors in strange medicine masks. Well, here you have it all. The Infernal Sea fit a chilling aesthetic combined with genius song writing. These folks even sell their own tea! You may have even come across them online or onstage.
Based in the heart of Metal and formerly our home city of Birmingham comes The Suns Journey through the Night. An absolutely ghastly state of affairs from this project comes a mixture of ambient/atmospheric black metal that seems to be inspired from complex astral realms & cosmology. Another masked figure dominating the UK black metal underground.
Ante-Inferno from f*****g Scarborough? Well, just another indicator that the course of black metal reaches across the spectrum in this country as of recent. Ante-Inferno have been across the board with since they started. I don't think I have seen many black metal gigs in the past year without them on the bill! A band that will most likely keep growing & hopefully to see them cross the main stage thresholds at festivals.
Abduction are without doubt one of the best examples of rising black metal icons in the United Kingdom. Their latest release Black Blood was released under the might candlelight records and has been making a wave amongst those who enjoy the genre from home and abroad. A great example of strong musicianship and bringing black metal on the map for Britain.
UK Record Labels
More & more bands mean more labels are making their rounds and opening for business. These are just a few of multiple labels who work with a range of UK black metal artists around the country are Clobber records, Repose Records, Apocalyptic Witchcraft, UKEM & (be nice) MSH Music Group.
UK Black Metal Spotify Playlist
Take a moment to follow & enjoy our UK black metal playlist. Featuring multiple bands that are making up the UK black metal scene today. We update it monthly.