Enlarge (L-R) Haavard, Cerberus, and Vicotnik of Dold Vorde Ens Navn.

13 Must-Hear Black Metal Singles of the Past Five Years


The last five years in black metal have been plentiful. During this time, we’ve gotten amazing full-length debuts by Umoral, Rital Death, Syning, Ene, Tragediens Trone, Funeral Harvest, Mortem, and many more. The now disbanded One Tail, One Head’s first and only studio album, Worlds Open, Worlds Collide (2018) was a definite highlight. Meanwhile a ton of other exceptional records were released by bands like Craft, Askeregn, Shining, Manii, Svarttjern, Nordjevel, Kall, Darvaza, and Ragnarok.

On the downside, perhaps one of the saddest developments in recent memory was when the beloved one-man Swedish band Arckanum called it quits in 2018. The German band Negator later split up in 2021.

In order to celebrate the achievements of the past demi-decade, we will be revisiting 13 of the most memorable singles. The following picks represent black metal at its finest.

Djevel — “I daudens dimme natt”

Formed in 2009, Djevel is the band you need to know. Djevel currently features Kvitrim on harsh vocals and bass; the project’s mastermind and songwriter, Trånn Ciekals, on clean vocals, chants, and guitars; and Faust on drums. Djevel’s past two albums, Tanker som rir natten (2021) and Naa skrider natten sort (2022), constitute the beginning and middle of a trilogy that is still unfolding. These masterpieces are among the greatest ever made. Although Tanker som rir natten won a Spellemann, or Norwegian Grammy Award, no honor could do justice to the greatness of Djevel. Naa skrider natten sort’s second single, “I daudens dimme natt,” premiered on November 10, 2022. It is the ideal black metal song.

Dold Vorde Ens Navn’s trinity of singles for Mørkere (2021)

Dold Vorde Ens Navn’s magnificent debut album, the eight-song Mørkere (2021), followed their stellar first EP, the four-song Gjengangere i hjertets mørke (2019). DVEN is a supergroup composed of friends: Dødheimsgard’s Vicotnik on vocals, ex-Ulver’s Haavard on guitars, ex-Dødheimsgard’s Cerberus on bass, and Myrvoll of Dødheimsgard and Nidingr on drums.

The gorgeous Mørkere also includes viola, violin, and cello performed by a couple of guests and arranged by Petter Stubberud Tysland. The record’s three singles are “Syke hjerter,” “Løgnens abstinenser,” and “Er det måneskinn?” Each of these songs is a bit like a self-contained world, though they fit flawlessly into the greater whole. Sophisticated, refined, varied, magical, and often theatrical, Mørkere is an album so elite that it belongs on a shelf with Tchaikovsky.

Vulture Lord — “Stillborn Messiah”

The Vulture Lord crew are the veteran kings of “black deathrashing metal.” Vulture Lord’s outrageous “Stillborn Messiah” was the second single from their second full-length album, Desecration Rite (2021). “Stillborn Messiah” premiered on May 28, 2021 — what would have been the birthday of the band’s late guitarist, the immortal and prolific Mr. Trondr Nefas (1977-2012). (You might know that Trondr was a member of a variety of other bands like Urgehal and Beastcraft.) Desecration Rite’s first single, “Bloodbound Militia,” was the last song that Trondr composed for Vulture Lord. Trondr actually wrote most of Desecration Rite. However, the final track, “Perverting the Bible,” was written by Diabolus, who returned to perform in on lead and rhythm guitars as a guest. Trondr can be heard on vocals on “Bloodstained Ritualknives” from Vulture Lord’s side of the wicked split Deathiah Manifesto, which dropped last year, though that track first appeared on a 2014 compilation.

Mare — “Blood Across the Firmament”

Mare was founded in 2003 but they wouldn’t release their first full-length record, Ebony Tower, until 2018. In fact, Mare did not originally intend to make a complete album when they began working on Ebony Tower. Rather, the material took shape on its own, as they told Bardo Methodology. The result rises to the level of the classics. Ebony Tower showcases many of Trondheim’s most important musicians: HBM Azazil, a.k.a. Kvitrim, on vocals and guitars; Nosophoros on guitars; Luctus, a.k.a. Wraath and Afgrundsprofet, on bass; and ⷚ, a.k.a. Sundli on drums. The single “Blood Across the Firmament” is Ebony Tower’s second song.

Dødheimsgard — “Abyss Perihelion Transit”

After their third album, 666 International, Dødheimsgard started an accidental tradition of releasing a record every eight years. Thus, Supervillain Outcast dropped in 2007, and A Umbra Omega was unleashed in 2015. Now, fans eagerly await Black Medium Current, which will offer you the journey of a lifetime on April 14. All words become futile when attempting to describe the genius of “Abyss Perihelion Transit,” the record’s epic penultimate song. “Abyss Perihelion Transit” certainly feels like the greatest single I’ve heard for many reasons. It opens up new mental pathways and offers an immersive experience unlike any other. This philosophical track awakens such core-rattling doubt that it’s absolutely devastating. Yet, this confrontation with the abyss in the pursuit of truth ultimately proves beneficial. As Vicontik told Chronicles of Chaos: “DHG focuses on being the best you can be.” The stunning video below was created by Costin Chioreanu. Turn the volume up and give the art that follows your full attention.

Order — “Descend”

Formed in 2013, the supergroup Order showcases some of the movement’s most important voices: Kjetil Manheim, who was an original member of Mayhem, on drums; Cadaver’s Anders Odden on guitars; and ex-Gluecifer’s Stu Manx on bass. In addition, Mayhem’s legendary first vocalist, Billy Messiah, delivers a phenomenal performance. Order’s original bassist, ex-Cadaver’s René Jansen, tragically passed away of cancer in 2014, yet he should also be remembered. The Gospel (2021), Order’s sophomore album, is a spectacular and intensely meaningful masterpiece. Hence, we bring you the single “Descend.” On April 1, Order released the new digital two-song EP Void.

Khold — “Apostel”

“Apostel” is the opening track on Khold’s Svartsyn, which is currently nominated for a Spellemann Award. Khold arose in 2000 after Tulus signed with Satyr’s now defunct label Moonfog Productions and was asked to change their name. With that, they also altered their style a bit to make their music more conducive to live performances. Eventually, however, Tulus was resurrected.

Khold features all three present members of Tulus — Sarke on drums, Gard/Blodstrup on guitars and vocals, and Crowbel on bass — plus guitarist Rinn. The lyrics for both bands are penned by Hildr, whose touch definitely contributes to what sets “Apostel” apart. Consider Svartsyn’s other singles, “I demonens bok” and “Evig,” as well as Tulus’ singles of the past five years to be included on this list as well. This year, Tulus absolutely blew us away with Fandens kall.

Høstsol — “Det som en gång var (det kommer aldrig igen)”

Høstsol unleashed their utterly perfect debut this January, L​ä​nge leve dö​den. The album’s first single, the apocalyptic “Din skördetid är nu kommen,” was released last summer. It was even included on a split vinyl release with Shining’s “Ugly and Cold.” Premiering in November 2022, the miraculous “Det som en gång var (det kommer aldrig igen)” was the second single from Länge leve döden to amaze us. Høstsol boasts an international, Nordic all-star lineup: Shining’s Niklas Kvarforth on vocals, Manes’ Cernunnus on guitars, Ajattara’s Rainer Tuomikanto on drums, and Ajattara’s Kalmos on bass. The opening track, “As Seen Through the Eyes of a Prophet,” begins, ”A human life is worth less than nothing…” yet this misanthropic album provides reason for existence.

Doedsvangr — “Black Dragon Phoenix”

Doedsvangr currently features musicians from Norway, Finland, and France. The band is fronted by Doedsadmiral, who also belongs to Nordjevel, Horde of Hel, and Svartelder. “Black Dragon Phoenix” is a slice of madness from Doedsvangr’s unforgettable sophomore album, Serpents ov Old. On this record, Vicotnik also appears on “Imperialis” while Tsjuder’s Nag can be heard on “Flagelist.” Fans should also be aware that Doedsvangr released the EP Koinonia last year.

Dødsengel — “Ad Babalonis Amorem Do Dedico Omnia Nihilo”

Formed in 2007, the Dødsengel duo unveiled their mesmerizing fifth full-length album, Bab Al On, this past December. Bab Al On is every bit as confounding as when we first heard it because its experimental genius defies imagination; Dødsengel is one of the groups that most perfectly marries radical individualism and top-notch quality. “Ad Babalonis Amorem Do Dedico Omnia Nihilo” was the first single from Bab Al On to be released and serves as the opening track. Kark implements a variety of approaches on vocals, plays guitar, and handles bass. He also gave the album its exquisite production. Malach Adonai provides drums and acts as the band’s main lyricist.

Slagmaur — “Ritual Dogs”

“Ritual Dogs” is Slagmaur’s newest single. It unleashed its glorious fury in February 2022. In 2019, Slagmaur dropped the equally awesome single “Wildkatze.” Slagmaur’s next album will be released this year via Prophecy Productions. Formed in 1997 as Norske Synder, Slagmaur is a band that has surprised us time and time again with their ingenuity. Slagmaur currently features Lt. Wardr, General Gribbsphiiser, and Dr. Von Hellreich. These Nidrosian stalwarts constitute one of the greatest and most original black metal acts around. As their reputation continues to grow, we hope that more Americans will wake up and catch on. It was recently announced that Slagmaur will replace Gehenna on the first day of Metal Threat Fest 2023 in Illinois, where bands like Ved Buens Ende will also be playing. Slagmaur is known for their eccentric theatrical live performances and striking visual imagery, so try to catch them on April 13.

Whoredom Rife — “Curse of the Moon”

“Curse of the Moon” is the first song on Whoredom Rife’s third full-length album, Winds of Wrath (2021). This exceptional record features art by Whoredom Rife’s longtime collaborator José Gabriel Alegría Sabogal. Formed in 2014, Whoredom Rife consists of multi-instrumentalist V. Einride, a.k.a. Vyl, and vocalist K.R., a.k.a. Krell, in the studio. However, Whoredom Rife performs live with other top-notch musicians. Whoredom Rife’s next album should be released later this year via Terratur Possessions, who have a ton of other exciting releases planned by bands like Enevelde and Misotheist.

Sarkom — “Breathe” (The Prodigy Cover)

Let’s end on a playful note! In advance of the two-song EP, Svøpt i en dynge av dritt (2021), Sarkom released a wild little music video for their irresistible cover of The Prodigy’s “Breathe.” Vocalist and co-founder Erik Unsgaard is both a beast and brilliant artist. Sarkom’s energy is always incredible. Perhaps you are aware of the 2017 video for their 2016 song “Seen Through the Eyes of a Pedophile Priest”?! Sarkom has hit us with three great EPs in the last two years. The band recently announced that they have completed recording guitars for their fifth studio album. Sarkom also broke the news that they are now working with Dominator of amazing bands like Nordjevel, the supergroup The Wretched End, Odium, Horde of Hel, etc.

Show Comments
Metal Sucks Greatest Hits