Enlarge Brothers HaaN and HansFyrste of Svarttjern. Picture via HansFyrste's Instagram.

Brothers in Arms: 12 Bands with Black Metal Siblings


Who can you rely on to fuel your general hatred toward humanity? Family. There’s no better way to guarantee a thoroughly nihilistic “depressive-suicidal” mood than time miserably spent with relatives. Siblings in particular are useful for cultivating bestial rage — the ideal state of mind for a black metal musician, especially when it comes to recording vocals.

Of course, we’re being ever-so-slightly sarcastic. There are plenty of black metal musicians who have proven that familial relationships can actually be built upon love and mutual respect. The most important example remains the collaboration between one of the genre’s greatest pioneers, Bathory’s late Quorthon, and his sadly deceased father, Börje “The Boss” Forsberg, who produced his son’s albums.

Enjoy our list of great bands that either currently feature black metal brothers or have previously boasted a pair of siblings. Let these musicians inspire you through their music, exemplary family values, and teamwork! All children may be special, but all BMers certainly are not; thus, please keep in mind that we have prudently avoided including artistically inferior bands.


The legendary Nifelheim was formed in 1990 by identical twins — bassist Erik “Tyrant” Gustavsson and vocalist Per “Hellbutcher” Gustavsson. Known for their intense worship of Iron Maiden as well as their incredible talent, Tyrant and Hellbutcher are two of the most exciting figures in black metal. Unfortunately, however, these amusing brothers have not always been given the serious treatment that they deserve. Over the years, Nifelheim has worked with many other great musicians, including the late Jon Nödtveidt of Dissection. Although Nifelheim’s current situation is a bit unclear, we hope they’ll keep making amazing music.


Norway has two bands called Vemod — one is active and plans to release a new album this year, and the other is long dead. The latter group was the brainchild of brothers Chagrin and Saargh. That Vemod only unleashed a 1998 demo, but it is magnificent! The great news is that Inscripted Mist Creations and Nuclear War Now! Productions are actually planning to release the demo’s first vinyl pressing, which we can expect this summer! That’s proof that exceptional work, no matter how obscure, is never forgotten by the BM community.


Archgoat was one of the earliest Finnish BM bands to emerge. This group, which currently functions as a trio, was founded in 1989 by twins Ritual Butcherer and Lord Angelslayer — the hell-sent embodiment of the supreme virtues of “Desecration & Sodomy.” Their thoroughly blasphemous brand of “Sado-Magical” black/death metal demonstrates that perversion sounds better when its various manifestations are enacted as a joint effort by members of the same flesh and blood: “I’ll ride the Flesh of the Whore… Crushing the Petals of Sacredness, pounded into Oblivion again and again. Each strike of My Phallic Hammer sinks the Heavenliness to Lust.”


Formed in 2000, Wurdulak was a gory black metal supergroup that was fronted by now ex-Mayhem’s Maniac and the late Necrophagia founder, Killjoy. The pair were brothers in a figurative sense, given their special bond. In addition, Fug and Frediablo, are actually biological brothers, so this entry still counts. They both joined Necrophagia during their time in Wurdulak. Ex-Immortal’s Iscariah was yet another member of Wurdulak who joined Necrophagia. Wurdulak also included Ragnarok’s Ihizahg. We highly recommend Wurdulak’s two superb albums, Ceremony in Flames (2001) and Severed Eyes of Possession (2002). With Frediablo’s killer one-man death metal project Gorelord, Wurdulak also released two splits and one split video.


Deathcult is a “Cruel Black Metal Band” that features brothers Thurzur and Skagg. Before Deathcult, both men worked with Gaahl in projects like Sigfader and Gaahlskagg. Deathcult was formed after Skagg moved to Bergen in 2005 and decided to rename an old project. The group released their first demo in 2006 and has been spreading their gospel of fraternal hate ever since. Deathcult is still fronted their original vocalist, Hoest. Ex-Aeternus’ Lava is the band’s newest addition, while past members include the Carpathian Forest icon Daniel Vrangsinn. Deathcult’s next album, Cult of the Dog, seems to have already been recorded with Pytten — black metal’s greatest producer — who engineered and mixed their last album.

Fortunately, Deathcult is one of the rare few groups who knows what black metal truly means and refuses to compromise. As Skagg told This Is Black Metal: “All I care about is the enormous amount of negative energy I put down in every song I create.” That’s the right attitude!


Svarttjern was founded in 2003 as a two-man project by brothers HansFyrste and HaaN. How cute! Although HansFyrste and HaaN soon decided to bring more musicians into the fold, the former has remained on vocals and the latter still plays lead guitars in Svarttjern. Honestly, knowing that these two shared the same womb gives new meaning to songs like “Raped by Svarttjern,” “Ultimatum, Necrophilia,” and “Shame Is Just a Word.”

After co-founding Svarttjern, HansFyrste fronted Ragnarok for a while. According to HansFyrste’s Instagram account, he is going to announce a new solo project, so stay tuned! In 2017, HaaN became a member of Carpathian Forest. Svarttjern’s drummer Grimmdun, who you might know from Magister Templi, and bassist Malphas are likewise current members of Carpathian Forest. An integral part of Edezzma, Hagl, Vulture Lord as well, Malphas is a black metal musician that you need to know. Svarttjern’s current lineup is completed by guitarist Fjellnord, who also plays beside Grimmdun in Magister Templi.


Sarke is a blend of various elements, including black metal. It is the “solo” project of True Norwegian BM legend Thomas “Sarke” Bergli. Sarke is fronted by Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto. In the past, Stian Kråbøl handled guitar in Sarke, and his brother Terje Kråbøl served as the band’s drummer. Stian, sometimes known as “Crowbel,” is the bassist in two other powerhouses co-founded by Bergli, Tulus and Khold. He also provides guitar for the funeral doom pioneers Funeral and the progressive Minas, which began as Minas Tirith and initially played avant-garde BM. Terje acts as the current drummer in the unique outfit known as Katechon and the death metal group Killing for Company. He has formerly belonged to Faustcoven, Minas, Bethzaida, etc. Terje even appeared on Thorns’ historic Trøndertun (1992) demo.

In the Woods…

Ex-In the Woods… members Christopher and Christian Botteri, who actually co-founded the effort in 1991, are in fact brothers. In the Woods actually rose from the ashes of Green Carnation, a death metal band in which they both played and with which they would reunite for a time. In the Woods… performed a farewell concert in 2000 that was released as the 2003 release Live at the Caledonien Hall. Although In the Woods… returned in 2014, Christopher and Christian eventually left in 2016. In the Woods… are currently best described as a progressive metal band, but their black roots still show through. Over the years, they have embarked on all kinds of experimental adventures. Yet, they never stop challenging listeners.

You can now find the Botteri brothers in Nattehimmel, an “Astral Black Metal” band that formed in 2022. Nattehimmel released their first demo last year and will be unveiling their debut album, Mourningstar, this May. The Botteris also play in the progressive band Strange New Dawn.

Rotting Christ

Rotting Christ was actually born in 1984 as Black Church, the band of Jim Mutilator. Jim soon asked brothers Themis and Sakis Tolis to join. In 1987, they changed their name to Rotting Christ. The group’s shift toward black metal actually occurred in 1989. This highly influential Greek outfit currently functions as a duo composed of the two brothers, though several other musicians have passed through Rotting Christ’s ranks.


The journey of the Swiss band Samael began in 1987. Although Vorphalack, currently known as Vorph, first began jamming with drummer Pat de Novaré de Navarre, it wasn’t until his brother Xytraguptor, now Xy, came into the picture in 1988 that things truly clicked. Vorph and Xytras have been creating music together ever since. Samael would become more of an industrial/electronic metal band, but you can still hear their black influence. The band currently operates as a quartet.


We can fight about whether Venom should be considered a black metal act, but the debate seems a bit silly. Frontman Cronos has clarified what we all know if we are being intellectually honest: “… we [Venom] are black metal, death metal, power metal, thrash metal…” So many of the greatest members of the second-wave of black metal point to Venom as their first-wave pioneering heroes. Venom emerged in the late ’70s in Newcastle, England. Antton, the younger brother of Cronos, was involved in the band for a significant amount of time. He played drums on Resurrection (2000). He also provided drums and backing vocals on Metal Black (2006) and contributed drums and guitars to Hell (2008).


Eduardo, or “D.D. Crazy,” and Zéder, or “Butcher,” respectively played drums and guitars on Sarcófago’s debut album, I.N.R.I. (1987). This record would have a huge impact on the second wave of black metal. Although the brothers appeared on other Sarcófago recordings, this was their only full-length studio album with the band, seeing as they would leave pretty quickly. D.D. Crazy would go on to co-found the death/thrash group Sextrash. Meanwhile, Sarcófago’s style would begin to shift pretty quickly.

Also, from Brazil we should mention Max and Igor Cavalera of Sepultura, even though it may initially seem a bit odd. Sepultura’s original vocalist, Wagner Lamounier, who left before participating in any studio recordings, would go on to front Sarcófago.

Other Pairs of Musical Siblings

Emil Nödtveidt, the little brother of the late Jon Nödtveidt of Dissection, may be a co-founding member of the death-glam group Deathstars, but he used to play black metal as well. Surprisingly, Emil appears on bass on Dissection’s Live Legacy (2003), which was recorded in 1997. Fans can actually hear Jon and Emil performing together as children in a rock group called Thunder in 1987/88.

Although the legendary Windir broke up after the death of mastermind Valfar in 2004, surviving members got together to mark what would have been Valfar’s 26th birthday later that year. During this performance, which was recorded for the DVD Sognametal (2005), Valfar’s brother Vegard Bakken made a guest appearance on vocals.

Brothers Kjell Arne Hubred, or “Hudbreider,” and Stein Åge Hubred, a.k.a. “Carnivor” and “Fjelldverg,” are both black metal musicians. Kjell Arne’s voice has appeared in the background on different Darkthrone releases. In fact, Darkthrone used to practice in his basement. On Thomas Eriksen of Mork’s podcast, Kjell Arne stated that he believes that Hate Them (2003) was the first record that Darkthrone rehearsed there; Darkthrone’s albums from The Cult Is Alive (2006) to The Underground Resistance (2013) were all recorded at his place. Kjell Arne and Stein Åge each contributed to Nocturno Culto’s heavy metal solo EP Receive (2013), which was released under the moniker Gift of Gods. The awesome Mork song “Hudbreiderens Revir,” which features Nocturno, was written as a tribute to Kjell Arne.

Angst Skvadron was a trippy and wholly original project by the late genius Trondr Nefas. Trondr dedicated Angst Skvadron’s two full-length albums to his brother Thomas Bråthen, who wrote the lyrics to “A Song to the Sky” from the first of these efforts, Flukt (2008). Two EPs and a split also followed.

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