12 Songs for Black Metal Fans to Blast This Spring
Walking through a field of butterflies while playing Odium’s “Winterpath” or Ragnarok’s “The Norse Winter Demon” is probably not the mood those artists intended. Nevertheless, as flowers of evil bloom and fruits of knowledge begin to grow this season, you can still celebrate with black metal. Thus, we have prepared a perfect soundtrack for spring, a time of both fire and ice. Please note that although all the artists below are known for their contributions to the movement, some of these tracks consist of a blend of genres and one is only black in spirit.
Before we dive into our main picks, here are some options that we would like to name up front: Nocte Obducta’s “Frühling: Des schwarzen Flieders Wiegenlied,” Katechon’s “Spring of Man,” Ofdrykkja’s “Mother Earth, Devour Me,” ColdWorld’s “Весна,” Oranssi Pazuzu’s “Kevät,” Drudkh’s “Його двадцять четверта весна (His Twenty-Fourth Spring),” and Solefald’s truly bizarre “Dionysify This Night of Spring.” The oddly arousing Shining EP of cover songs, Lots of Girls Gonna Get Hurt (2012), is another wonderful go-to for mating season. The reissue was released digitally on March 8 in honor of International Women’s Day.
Although we clearly embrace the beautiful and the experimental, we have excluded some possibilities that sound wimpy. Without further ado, we present our varied selection of killer songs to add to your April playlist!
Forgotten Tomb — “Springtime Depression”
Lifelover brought you “Höstdepressioner,” or “Autumn Depressions,” in 2007, but the Italian legends Forgotten Tomb first released “Springtime Depression” in 2003. “Springtime Depression” is the instrumental title track on Forgotten Tomb’s highly enjoyable 2003 sophomore album. Over the years, Forgotten Tomb has gone through various phases: their first three albums are considered depressive BM, the next three were more progressive, and the trilogy that followed was different still. Forgotten Tomb’s most recent album, Nihilistic Estrangement (2020), delivers something unique while also combining elements from the band’s past. Thus, it felt like a new spring for Forgotten Tomb.
Nocturnal Depression — “Spring”
Ironically, you can always rely on the French band Nocturnal Depression to lift your mood. Nocturnal Depression’s “Spring” somehow manages to serve as a refreshing little delight: “My memory still lives and you bleed. You can try to destroy me; it won’t kill me but only you.” “Spring” first appeared on the demo Four Seasons to a Depression (2006), on which it serves as the opening song. It can also be found on other releases, including the album Deathcade (2017). Nocturnal Depression has covered the pick above on the demo Soundtrack for a Suicide (2005), so check that out as well.
Nargaroth — “Frühling”
The brilliant “Frühling,” or “Spring,” is the second song on Nargaroth’s sixth record, Jahreszeiten (2009), or “Seasons.” This 10-and-a-half-minute track features beautiful yet hauntingly poetic lyrics. As always, René “Ash” Wagner’s savage vocals are exactly what this piece needs. Ash made the controversial, though amazing, decision to incorporate a Bessarabian folk melody in the intro of “Frühling” as a tribute to his ancestors. In the addendum to Jahreszeiten’s booklet, Ash writes the following of the offering:
“This album is not a Black Metal album and, therefore, cannot be regarded with the same criteria. It is the attempt to reflect, musically and in the lyrics, the characteristics of the four seasons as well as the sensations of the (‘mental illness’) love in a classical notion and its changes.”
The truth, however, is that Jahreszeiten is Über-Black Metal.
Manes — “My Blackhearted Flower”
Askim’s Manes consisted of Yusaf “Vicotnik” Parvez, credited here as Yusaf Vickotnick; Gunnar Håkonsen, a.k.a. “Thamuz”; and Jan Anders Dahl, a.k.a. “Morgaine.” “My Blackhearted Flower” is the third and final song on Promotape 1993. It is grim, lo-fi bliss that proves that the legendary Vicotnik, who is known as the co-founder of Ved Buens Ende and Dødheimsgard, was always a genius, as Manes was one of his very first bands.
Manes also released the two-song Metamorphosis Sessions 1993 Rehearsal and a split compilation with Trondheim’s Manes. To the latter effort, Askim’s Manes, a.k.a. Manes 1811, contributed their five old tracks and one new one. Both Manes bands are at the top of my playlist, and I suggest that you add them to yours as well. Vicotnik’s latest album, Dødheimsgard’s Black Medium Current, dropped this past Friday. Thus, we urge you to experience that as well without any preconceptions.
Ildjarn-Nidhogg — “Spring”
Hardangervidda part 2 (2002) is an ambient EP of bright and pleasing instrumental tracks by retired black metal legends Ildjarn and Nidhogg. Whereas other bands have ventured into such territory and come across as weaklings, Ildjarn-Nidhogg conquer as kings. This EP was released a couple months after the full-length album Hardangervidda (2002). Both of these offerings were recorded in 1997.
In a 2002 interview, Idjarn stated the following of the album: “It’s just a stream of landscapes in musical form, created by years of spending time in Norwegian nature. It has got no ideology, it’s an escape from all relating to man.” The EP has the same spirit. Although Hardangervidda part 2’s “Spring” may not initially sound very black, it is “black metal” once you position yourself within the minds of Ildjarn and Nidhogg.
Glädjekällor — “Älska din nästa”
There are so many depressive black love-hate songs that are perfect accompaniments to the lust awakened by spring. Yet, “Älska din nästa” by the genre-bending Glädjekällor, the project of C.L., is an especially irresistible option about dousing your love interest in gasoline. The additional female guest vocals add a nice touch. “Älska din nästa” appears on the split Historier från ingenstans (2013), which includes a track dedicated to Lifelover’s late co-founder Jonas “B” Bergqvist, a.k.a. “Nattdal.” Ex-Lifelover’s 1853 has lent his involvement to Glädjekällor at a couple of points. (C.L. and 1853 actually formed a duo called Eskapi in 2013, and they both played in Vanhelga.) It is also worth noting that ex-Shining’s Christian Larsson mastered Glädjekällor’s sophomore album, Jesuskomplex (2020).
Kringa — “Gardens in Bloom”
“Gardens in Bloom” is a fresh pick with a truly eccentric flare. This track by the Austrian band Kringa begins: “The egg crackles, the webs are torn, the skins burst, all in bloom.” Yet, “the crops are already rotting” in this nightmarish, hallucinatory trip of a song. “Gardens in Bloom” hails from Kringa’s second full-length album — All Stillborn Fires, Lick my Heart! — which premiered at the end of last year via Terratur Possessions.
Nagelfar — “Kapitel eins (der Frühling): Als die Tore sich öffnen…”
“Kapitel eins, der Frühling: Als die Tore sich öffnen…” is the opening song on Nagelfar’s sophomore album, Srontgorrth (Die Macht erfasste das Meine wie die Angst das Blut der Anderen) (1999). This sprawling, epic monster of a track was partially inspired by Enslaved’s “Slaget i skogen bortenfor” and features surprising electronic components. Srontgorrth provides an oddly liberating yet disturbing experience.
Barathrum — “Nailday”
“Nailday” is a black metal Easter song by the Finnish stalwarts Barathrum from Anno Aspera: 2003 Years After Bastard’s Birth (2005): “Golgotha — Easter feast. Spear of Longinus penetrating the chest of Jesus Christ. Wonderful, yeah. Drying in the sun just like raisin…” I have to say that I agree with Shining’s Niklas Kvarforth on the matter of Jesus Christ: Niklas has stated that, though he personally obeys the Devil, Jesus is still his hero because he suffered and died for his beliefs. It seems obvious that Jesus, the biggest rebel of them all, deserves more respect than Barathrum and other black metal bands have given him. Nevertheless, “Nailday” remains a fun playlist choice for April.
Kall — “Rise”
Kall rose from the ashes of Lifelover. This saxophone-infused outfit mixes black metal with so many other elements without ever losing their strength. Kall focuses on healing, overcoming angst and past hardships, and courageously confronting suffering. Prophecy Productions describes Kall’s sophomore album Brand as “a paean to self-empowerment and rigorous individualism.” Yet, it’s about so much more than even that and is guaranteed to awaken the most varied emotions and memories. Vocalist Kim Carlsson is a legend who never ceases to prove that he’s one of the greatest artists in extreme metal with his breathtakingly honest performances. If you’ve been in a state of spiritual hibernation this past winter, the sublime “Rise,” which opens Brand, is the perfect remedy.
Negator — “Free Bird”
Formed in 2003 and disbanded in 2021, Hamburg’s Negator was a rare gem of a band that brought incredible energy. As the sparrows begin chirping, Negator’s free bird is a great way to drown them out. “Free Bird” is the second song on Negator’s unforgettable debut album, Old Black (2004). It captivates you with its epic feel, black majesty, and strength. These are some of the words toward the end:
“I have reached the total wisdom
(wo Angst ist, ist auch Hoffnung) [/where there is feat, there is also hope.]
Except the question what life is for
(wo Angst ist, ist auch Hoffnung)
There’s no reason to life
(ich habe keine Angst) [/I’m not afraid.]”
Carpathian Forest — “Start Up the Incinerator (Here Comes Another Useless Fool)”
This one is for a belated April Fools’ Day. Carpathian Forest’s amusing “Start Up the Incinerator (Here Comes Another Useless Fool)” hails from their most recent studio album, Fuck You All!!!! (Caput Tuum in Ano Est) (2006). We can’t wait for this naughty band’s next record, Likskue-Dødens arkitektur.