Enlarge By Storeulv Foto / Slagmaur.

Celebrate Norwegian Constitution Day with These 17 Black Metal National Treasures


This Wednesday, Norway will celebrate its Constitution Day, otherwise known as Syttende Mai, Grunnlovsdagen, and Nasjonaldagen. With so much in the way of national pride on call for the Nordic country, now is a great time to honor all those black metal bands who have done their country, as well as the international community, proud. After all, black metal could be considered Norway’s biggest export since Munch and Grieg.

Some black, folk, and/or Viking recommendations to blast this Constitution Day include: Nordjevel’s “Norges Sorte Himmel”; Tsjuder’s “Norge”; Kampfar’s “Norse”; Ragnarok’s “Hammerens slag”; Carpathian Forest’s “The Frostbitten Woodlands of Norway”; Darkthrone’s “Norway in September,” Isengard’s “Landet og havet”; Storm’s lone full-length, Nordavind (1995); Bak de Syv Fjell’s EP, From Haavardstun (1997); and everything by Enslaved. If you want to branch out a bit, the rock/metal stalwarts Black Debbath have a ton of amusing yet suitable songs like “Bunad (The National Costume).”

While we’ll take a look at currently active Norwegian groups this time, we also salute disbanded greats like Slavia, Celestial Bloodshed, Kaosritual, Skuggeheim, Windir, Ildjarn, and others. The following list is only a small sampler of top-notch BM outfits. We could have easily included 117 bands!


Mare is a paragon of excellence — a crown jewel of the Trondheim-based movement Nidrosian Black Metal. This fabled band includes four of Norway’s greatest black metal musicians, who can be credited in so many other top projects: Luctus, ⷚ, Nosophoros, and HBM Azazil. In an interview with Bardo Methology, Nosophoros stated: “To paraphrase a wise brother in MARE: true art is the persistent drive to create something by sacrificing everything to gain nothing.” This kind of mentality, combined with Devil-given talent, is exactly why their music is so sublime. Thus far, the 20-year-old Mare’s only full-length album is Ebony Tower (2018), but it’s nothing short of a musical achievement.

RUÏM (International)

The Norwegian Grammy-winning Blasphemer is not only the crowned king of black metal guitarists and composers, despite his work in other genres, but he is also one of the most inspiring artists of today. As a teenager, this visionary brought Mayhem back to life with his perfectionism and relentless drive to create. During his time at the helm of Mayhem, Blasphemer crafted three of the best BM albums and arguably the best EP. For roughly two decades, this Norwegian native has lived in Portugal. Thus, his new project, RUÏM, features lyrics in Portuguese, English and Norwegian.

Conceived in 2020, RUÏM was inspired by the discovery of Mayhem-era riffs sent by the none other than the force behind everything good in the black metal world — leading music authority Finn Håkon Rødland. Blasphemer quickly recruited French-born drummer CSR. The pair immediately established the kind of chemistry that usually only comes about after decades.

Watch out for the duo’s debut album and first part of a trilogy, Black Royal Spiritism – I – O Sino Da Igreja, which will envelop you in its black wings on May 26. In RUÏM, Blasphemer not only reclaims his triumphant past with Mayhem, but he goes beyond it.

The Many Bands of Vicotnik

Ever since his early days with Askim’s Manes, Vicotnik has proven his talent as a black metal musician. In Oslo, Vicotnik co-founded the pioneering avant-garde act Ved Buens Ende with Czral. He then formed Dødheimsgard shortly after with Aldrahn before convincing an initially reluctant Fenriz to join.

Dødheimsgard is arguably the most consistently amazing black metal outfit of the past 30 years. Last month, Dødheimsgard released their sixth studio album, Black Medium Current. Not only is this record a highlight in many respects, it might be my favorite of all time. If Black Medium Current can make a psychopath like me weep, it should be able to touch anyone.

In 2009, Vicotnik joined the revered Strid — a band that’s only released three songs, but has performed newer material live. Around 2016, Dold Vorde Ens Navn was born when Cerberus went over to Haavard’s home to write a song. Vicotnik and Myrvoll soon came aboard as well. This supergroup of friends has unleashed two stellar works: the EP Gjengangere i hjertets mørke (2019) and the full-length Mørkere (2021). Vicotnik has started yet another project called Doedsmaghird, which also involves Camille Giraudeau and Olivier Côté.

In my book, the news of the emergence of Dmh and RUÏM were the best surprises of 2022. Last year, both bands appeared on Peaceville’s 35th-anniversary compilation, Dark Side of the Sacred Star.


Djevel pays tribute to the glory of Norway with songs such as “Norges land og rike” from Saa raa og kald (2015) and “Til mitt kjaere Norge” from Norske ritualer (2016). Like Blasphemer, Djevel has won a Spellemann Award / “Norwegian Grammy.” This ensemble currently features mastermind Trånn Ciekals; Kvitrim, a.k.a. HBM Azazil and E. Blix; and Faust — the Goethe of drummers. Djevel’s last two albums, the first with this lineup, surpass even many of the established classics.

We also suggest that you check out NettleCarrier — another band of Ciekals that is fronted by Koldbrann’s Mannevond. Although Mannevond is no longer a studio member of Djevel, he continues to perform live with the group.


“If Mayhem, Richard Wagner and Pink Floyd merged, and gave birth to a musical baby, then it just might be called Dødsengel.” ~ Kark to Bowels of Perdition

Dødsengel is one of the most enigmatic entities in the music world — a clear favorite of anyone with any black metal education. This spellbinding band is so inventive and one-of-a-kind that it’s actually confusing. Dødsengel’s intensity, charisma, versatility, and artistry never cease to shock.

Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Kark is one of the greatest frontmen of our time and drummer Malach Adonai’s lyrics likewise distinguish him as another one of the genre’s all-stars. The emotive music of these two masters appeals to your heart, fears, lust, philosophical, and theological inclinations. The duo crafts black metal so rewarding that it’s bound to leave you transfigured. Thanks to Kark, even the production is perfect. Kark has actually mastered an endless list of phenomenal releases and operates his own studio.


Snorre Ruch, of Thorns, is known as the co-architect of the black metal style of riffing along with the late Euronymous. Vicotnik said it best on The Thomas Eriksen Podcast: “I think… everybody in this genre today is inspired by Snorre in some way or another… Mayhem wanted to sound like Thorns. Immortal wanted to sound like Thorns. Everybody…”

Speaking of Mayhem, of course, some of Snorre’s riffs ended up on De Mysteriis Dom. Sathanas (1994) because, before he joined the band, Snorre generously gave them to Euronymous. Thorns’ only full-length album to date is their self-titled 2001 masterpiece. Its nuances of industrial and experimental genius continue to astonish us. At present, fans eagerly await the upcoming Thorns record. Stay tuned for further details! We are also excited that Finn Håkon Rødland is working on the box set for Thorns’ insanely influential and historic 1991 Grymyrk demo for Peaceville Records. 


The True Fosen Black Metal powerhouse Slagmaur has been called the most terrifying band in the genre as well as the darkest. Yes, Slagmaur’s artwork and performances rank among the very best. The same applies to their music, which bayonets you with its steely might. A nightmare from which you can’t arise, the psycho-psychedlic horror of Slagmaur just might be the death of you. This monstrous band indulges in the ritualistic pursuit of evil with a theatrical refinement, sophistication, and charm. The result is pure bestial majesty.

These elite hooligans have been known to conspire with Snorre Ruch because great minds think alike! Thus, we can expect to hear his musical contributions on new Slagmaur material. (Note: He just might be one of the characters in the image below.) Beware: new atrocities loom on the horizon! We can say for sure that the next single that you will hear from this group will be a highlight of 2023. In the meantime, you can continue to experience the timeless brilliance of Slagmaur’s already released material. Also, remember to pick up a copy of Josh Brown’s Ancient Black Art: Nidrosian Black Metal, which features photographs by Slagmaur’s founder, General Gribbsphiiser. It seems that he snapped some of the included images as well. The General, by the way, is an unbelievable photographer and director.


The Dark Ethereal Metal trio Vemod consists of J. E. Åsli, E. Blix, and E. Kalstad. There is so much scholarly wisdom in this band that shines through like the aurora borealis. Vemod has only released one full-length album to date, Venter på stormene (2012) — a true gem. We are confident that their next record, which should be released later this year by Prophecy Productions, will be just as breathtaking.

Whoredom Rife

Founded in 2014, the remarkable Whoredom Rife makes almost all other bands look like pretenders. Every aspect of their work is highly professional to the core. Whoredom Rife never misses their mark. Even their album art is outstanding; Whoredom Rife collaborates with the Peru-based, Berlin-born artist and scholar Jose Gabriel Alegría Sabogal. The Whoredom Rife duo consists of vocalist K.R and instrumentalist and composer V. Einride, a.k.a. Vyl. Unfortunately, WR’s fourth full-length album might not come out this year as planned. To be honest, we still need time to process the awesomeness of Winds of Wrath (2021). However, whatever happens, Whoredom Rife will delight us with some great festival shows as we wait — they have worked with incredible live members.

K.R is providing vocals for a new project called Parfaxitas. This group also features J. from Suffering Hour on bass, N. from Oculus and Merihem on guitars, and B.E. from Sinmara and Almyrkvi on drums. Their miraculous first single is the quickest way to drive us mad. Watch out for a stunning album later this year.


Manes began as a highly influential black metal band and became an experimental wonder after the release of their full-length debut, Under ein blodraud maane (1999), which followed some important demos. Whereas “neo”-Manes continues making art by boiling components of diverse genres in their witch’s cauldron, Manii represents the reunion of Manes’ Tor-Helge “Cernunnus” Skei with his original partner in crime, Sargatanas. In the magnificent Manii, they create old-school black metal. Manii’s current drummer is V. Einride. Manii has released two full-length albums and an EP. Their next opus will be a 40-minute mammoth that will be released sometime this year.


The awe-inspiring Syning consists of V. Einride, Cernunnus, and Levinger of bands like the highly recommended Knokkelklang and Askeregn. That’s clearly a stellar lineup — everything these artists touch is gold. To date, Syning has only put out one release, their self-titled full-length debut. It is one of the most authentic and worthy yet underrated black metal records of this century.


This February, Tulus astonished us with their seventh album, Fandens kall. In advance of this triumph, a documentary about its making, 3 Decades of Uncompromising Black Metal, premiered at the end of 2022. Tulus functions as a trio featuring Thomas Bergli, a.k.a “Sarke”; Sverre Stockland, “Blodstrup” / “Gard”; and “Crowbel,” Stian Myhre Kråbøl. The band was actually formed in 1991 because Sarke witnessed Darkthrone rehearsing for A Blaze in the Northern Sky and thus became inspired to start a black metal band. Sarke actually occupied Fenriz’s seat on drums for a while in a band called Valhall and appeared alongside Fenriz on the Opera / Operio demo The Eyes of Uranus (1991).

Of course, Tulus’ lyrics are penned by the band’s “fourth” member Hilde “Hildr” Nymoen — the wife of Blodstrup. I consider her to be the greatest woman in black metal. She also writes for Khold, which initially began as Tulus with a name change and a slightly more straight-forward, no-frills style intended to aid the ease of live performances. Bergli also has a solo project called Sarke, which features Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto on vocals.

The sublime and mysterious entity known as Misotheist has released two stellar albums: Misotheist (2018) and For the Glory of Your Redeemer (2021). Misotheist proves that Trondheim is still the capital of black metal, even though many of the pioneers of the tragedy-afflicted Nidrosian BM scene disbanded long ago. Misotheist is so pure, so black, so true to the genre yet so far away from all of those who shamelessly copy the heroes of black metal’s second wave. Misotheist’s next record, Vessels by Which the Devil Is Made Flesh, features a guest appearance from IX of Urfaust. It’s a nearly 40-minute mammoth of an album.

The amazingly talented B. Kråbøl has a voice that will incinerate you instantly, and this is what you will hear in his astoundingly awesome band Enevelde, whose next record, En Gildere Død, will feature his highly accomplished father, Katechon’s Terje, on drums. Terje and Terje’s brother Stian, whom we just named in the pick above, appear with B. on the new family project Kråbøl. (Terje and Stian have played with so many great groups that it’s a bit ridiculous.) Another relative, M. Kråbøl, contributed trumpet to two tracks on Kråbøl’s forthcoming album, Never. Kråbøl seems to have infinite potential. You can experience their 10/10 debut track here.

Vulture Lord

The venerable Vulture Lord continues to bring the underground spirit of the ‘90s into their music today. This Black Deathrashing Metal band has one of the most distinctive voices in the genre. Despite the nostalgia engendered by their art, their outrageous and unapologetic inclination toward blasphemy is ever-refreshing. Vulture Lord’s members and ex-members have participated in a ton of other great bands that are also worth checking out.

Of course, everyone should know Urgehal. The band is only partially alive — they reunited last year for their “Dødsmarsj / Death March for Nefas,” which is ongoing. Trondr Nefas was their genius of a guitarist, who tragically passed away from a stroke at 34 in 2012. For today’s purposes, remember Trondr’s contributions to his country with “Norwegian Blood and Crystal Lakes” — a posthumously completed song from Aeons in Sodom (2016) that features his guitars and the last lyrics he ever wrote. His friend, Shining’s Niklas Kvarforth, who has Trondr’s name tattooed on his arm, provided vocals.


Define eccentric brilliance? Fleurety! Formed in 1991, this avant-garde duo continues to amaze, trouble, and confound us. Fleurety consists of the great talents of Svein Egil Hatlevik, a.k.a. Zweizz, and Alexander Nordgaren. Apparently, Nordgaren permanently damaged his vocals recording early Fleurety material. Hence, vocal responsibility shifted to Svein Egil, though Fleurety functions as a revolving door of guest vocalists and instrumentalists. In this respect, Fleurety has never shied away from incorporating femme power.


Kvist emerged in Hønefoss in the early ‘90s. The late Urgehal genius Trondr Nefas actually appeared on their first demo. Kvist’s sole album, For kunsten maa vi evig vike (1996), features bassist and vocalist Tom Hagen; guitarist and keyboardist Hallvard Wennersberg Hagen, a.k.a. “Vergrimm”; and drummer Endre Bjotveit. On The Thomas Eriksen Podcast, Morten Shax explained that after hearing this now underground classic record, Emperor called Endre to ask him to join. However, the latter was still in school and declined.

Sadly, the prodigy suffered from inflammation in his arms that hindered his ability to continue pursuing his craft, and Kvist came to a premature end. After over 25 years, no one could have possibly expected that the band would reunite in 2022. You can find their latest track on Dark Side of the Sacred Star. We can‘t wait to hear what Kvist will do next.


Mork is the one-man project of Thomas Eriksen. Formed in 2004, Mork has taken the black metal world by storm and conquered international audiences. Eriksen has been a great representative of his country in so many ways. In his music, Eriksen has paid tribute to the artist Theodor Kittelsen; his home turf of Halden and its fortress, Fredriksten festning; Norwegian nature; other great musicians from his nation; etc. Mork’s debut album, Isebakke, which was named after the place in Halden where Eriksen grew up, turns 10 this year. Eriksen has spoken about the possibility of a concert to mark the occasion. Remarkably, the cover of Mork’s EP Pesta (2020) is currently on display at the National Library of Norway in Oslo as part of the exhibition “Dårlig Stemning” / “Bad Vibes.”

As you might have assumed from a couple of our quotes, the eloquent Mork mastermind has captured the incredible stories of many of Norway’s other greatest artists on The Thomas Eriksen Podcast — the source for the best live BM interviews. Although Eriksen is taking a bit of a break from the podcast, we trust that he will create more episodes when the right time comes.

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