Green Eggs and Slam



Since the dawn of time over 9,000 years ago, man has achieved progress only by questioning himself, putting even his most basic assumptions to the test of rigorous, unforgiving critical analysis. Once upon a time, we believed that the sun revolved around the earth, all matter was made of four basic elements, and that Brujeria really were Mexican drug traffickers, but thanks to the tireless efforts of great thinkers like Galileo, Hobbes, and Hume, now we know better. In the same spirit of fearless intellectual honesty, I ask the readers of MetalSucks the following: which is the best, BLACK METAL or DEATH METAL???

In this post, I will describe each subgenre, focusing on comparing and contrasting the differences so that you, the reader, will have all the raw material you need to draw your own conclusions. My commentary will consist solely of objective fact, to avoid coloring the lively debate that is sure to follow. I will  conclude by opening the floor for discussion. Please share your thoughts, even if you are not that smart and/or you are wrong. Simply enter your comments in the “comments” field below, and when you are finished click “submit”!

Note: to save space, I will refer to black metal as ‘BM’ in this article. I do not mean ‘bowel movement‘ when I use that acronym.


Death metal is a highly respected, well-established form of extreme metal. It built upon the foundation of thrash metal, but got rid of the laughable, effeminate vocals, made the drumming faster, and created what is generally agreed upon as the most technically and artistically advanced form of metal.

There are a wide variety of subgenres within the larger umbrella of death metal, all of which are acknowledged by musical scholars as valid, significant contributions to the global sonic landscape. Whether it is the semi-industrial touches of Fear Factory, the slow, dark approach of Celtic Frost, or the so-called “guttural pit riffment” of Devourment, every death metal band brings something unique to the table and exhibits a great deal of talent. While some of death metal’s subgenres such as “tech-death” and progressive death metal are somewhat unfortunate developments, generally speaking the genre is nearly flawless.

A classic, archetypal death metal song. It combines technically skilled musicianship with a complex (yet accessible) arrangement, and delicately balances brutality with melody and hooks. Note the contrast between death metal’s advanced, highly-polished songwriting and production and the comparatively sloppy, unrefined, unskilled nature of BM.

The appeal of death metal lies not just in the music, but in the approachable nature of the musicians. Despite their considerable talent, most death metal musicians do not derive significant income from their band, and possess limited intelligence and job skills. They often earn their living in blue-collar, deadend jobs like washing cars, installing carpet, or shift supervisor at Jiffy Lube, and dress accordingly: mesh shorts, sneakers, and a band shirt stained with paint and/or Taco Bell bean burrito drippings.


On the other hand, we have BLACK METAL. I don’t know a lot about the history of the genre except that it was apparently created by a bunch of Europeans from some of the wealthier, Scandinavian nations in the 1980s, which might explain why it is so weird and unappealing to normal Americans. They may seem like similar genres to outsiders, but black metal and death metal actually share very little in common.

First of all, death metal has many different subgenres, each of which has its own distinct identity. The result is that death metal is a rich, diverse collection of bands that share some common ground, but all sound different. On the other hand, BM bands basically all sound the same.

Typical black metal song, according to my research

In fact, as far as I can tell the music itself is not actually that important to black metal fans. It is almost like an afterthought: most BM consists of dissonant, nearly unintelligible guitars that sound like wasps buzzing around in an empty cereal box, some amateurish banging on a drum set, and an interchangeable vocalist. Most black metal vocalists are unable to do the deep, masculine growls of death metal, and instead must resort to a higher-pitched screeching technique that is unpleasant to most listeners. In general, when compared to death metal, the level of musical talent and technical ability required to play black metal is very low.

Because the actual music is of relatively poor quality, the appeal of black metal comes primarily from the imagery and larger-than-life personas of the band members. Fans are drawn to the bands within the genre whose mythos is most frequently discussed on the internet, make the most controversial statements, and have the most highly-developed visual brand identity (eg, Darkthrone’s iconic cover art). They are more or less like boy bands for outcasts, overweight basement shut-ins, and other people who feel disenfranchised by society, and seek to retreat into a fantasy land of trolls, witches, vikings, monsters and other obvious, clumsy symbols for the real-life people who have tormented, ignored and rejected them. They often further overcompensate for feelings of inferiority by sharing their unsolicited, excessively strong opinions on internet forums, although such actions only reinforce their status as beta or omega males (the weakest, least respected/sexually-desired members of a social community who have great difficulty mating with females).


Which do u think is better? Which is more important to you, style or substance?? Why are death metal bands so much more skilled and talented than BM musicians???? Does BM appeal to you because it makes you feel like you are the mighty king of a castle, not a social pariah with Asperger’s and a big butt?

-Sergeant D.

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