From the early 90’s to this day, black metal artists have always managed to leverage the intensity of the genre. Be it the blasphemous image, the controversy mainly related to church burnings or worship of the Devil. Chaos and destruction always lie at the burning core of this current! There is however, a bunch of musicians who stood out with a very specific vocal approach that makes the music itself feel more dangerous than ever.
In this sense, I’d like to present a selection of 10 underground bands/albums wherein the vocals sound outright demented and wicked. I’ve got some help from fellow users on Metal-Archives in the quest of collecting the suggestions below. By the way, feel free to post your picks in the comment section in case you don’t see your favourites included.
Note: Bethlehem, Silencer and Shining have been purposely excluded as they already have a pretty major fan base with tens if not even hundreds of thousands views.
Note 2: Due to the fact that 90% of the albums are not available from the bands themselves or their record labels for free streaming, I took the liberty to link videos uploaded by random users. Enjoy and share the madness!
1. Weakling – Dead as Dreams | Follow | Buy CD
Weakling is an American band that existed between 1997-1999. Their work consists of a handful of releases including 2 demos and a full-length, namely “Dead as Dreams“. Regardless, the band left an incredibly valuable legacy that’s worth experiencing repeatedly. Incredible sound arrangements and plain insane vocals darkening the light of day (and reason).
Vocalist: John Gossard
Deinonychus is a Dutch entity that was conceived back in 1992. It started out as a black metal project but later evolved into more of a blackened doom offering nothing short but what this genre is all about – total misery and distress in tunes. “The Silence of December” depicts hopelessness is such a vivid fashion that one could question if this album has been recorded in a psychiatric hospital.
Vocalist: Maurice Swinkels | Secondary vocalist: Marco Kehren
Although, Luror’s existence leads back to 1994, it appears that the band is still quite unpopular despite the large amount of works put out there. The sole mastermind, namely Unhold, is also the proprietor of infamous German record label World Terror Committee. “The Iron Hand of Blackest Terror” is the grand debut full-length of Luror whose fundamental ingredients making it be, come down to overwhelming spitefulness and terror beyond comprehension. Just look at the cover artwork that is strikingly accurate as to reflecting what you are about to hear.
Vocalist: Sven Zimper
4. Tha-Norr – Wolfenzeitalter | Buy the album via the Bandcamp player below
Nobody really knows when German act Tha-Norr ceased to exist. It emerged in 1990, released a demo and the debut “Wolfenzeitalter” and then vanished into the colourless void without any trace whatsoever. Still, what’s left brings a huge impact especially if you are on the look for raw, dirty and plain evil sounding material that borders insanity. “Wolfenzeitalter” delivers over an hour of true black metal strictly bound to the roots of the genre.
Vocalist: Marko Sklenarz
5. In the Woods… – Isle of Men | Follow
I believe there will be some people who are not aware of what In the Woods… used to represent. The band drastically changed their play style over the years and sound nothing like their first ever demo “Isle of Men“, for instance. The difference is stunningly evident not necessarily because those guys jammed straightforward black metal but also the vocal approach being incorporated was atypical back then. Regardless, In the Woods… have nothing to do with satanic ideology, death worship or the occult in general, their “pagan legacy” as stated, sounds totally deranged. “Isle of Man” is the darkest side of their work you are about to face, so buckle up for it’s going to be a rough journey!
Vocalist: Jan Transeth
Tevana 3 might not be necessarily labelled as a pure black metal act in the first place, but it certainly draws a large portion of inspiration from it. Founded in 2010 in Finland, the trio differentiate themselves from the rest extreme artists by replacing the guitar and putting an electric kantele as their main instrument. Surprisingly, the output is not just beautiful but highly addictive. Take as an example, the track “Kipusi” below. It is an emotional vortex of slow-paced and heartbreaking passages and mentally tormented vocals that carry so much pain that one could almost experience himself.
Vocalist: Juha Jyrkäs
7. Ayat – Six Years of Dormant Hatred | Buy CD
Ayat is an entity located in Lebanon whose work is an embodiment of a complete and utter denial of religion and human existence. The band was assembled in 2000 as a duo and has continued to grow so to this day. Their debut “Six Years of Dormant Hatred” is an epitome of total disgust and scorching hatred breaking to pieces what’s largely considered evil and blasphemous. These guys go beyond that conception and the end result is a bursting vortex of destructive anger and madness at large.
Vocalist: Reverend Filthy Fuck
Dark Tribe is a German collective that used to be active in the span of 1997 – 2015. Throughout that period, they left a fairly rich discography including 3 demos and full-lengths. I’ve chosen their sophomore full album “In Jeraspunta – Die Rückkehr der tollwütigen Bestie” to begin with as it contains quite a disturbing yet massively potent material. The compositional work itself is chaotic, brutal and could be hard to digest. Moreover, the vocals are so intense that I could imagine an apocalyptic phophet channeling forces older than time to wipe off human existence once and for all. Very wicked piece of work that is certainly not meant to go viral.
9. Malvery – Mortal Entrenchment in Requiem | Buy CD
Between 1993 – 1999, Canadians Malvery were in active mode, though their work doesn’t stretch more than a demo and a full-length, namely “Mortal Entrenchment in Requiem“. The trio disbanded due to their vocalist’s suicide in 1999, making it frighteningly clear that their suicidal mindset was in fact a way of living. Musically speaking, the arrangements run at a furious pace sounding nothing like a traditional DSBM whose influence inclines towards doom metal. Instead, the instrumental compositions are harrowing to such an extend that could challenge even a very experienced fan. Adding on top the vocals, the overall outcome tripples as to intensity.
Vocalist: Mario Milette
In conclusion, I’ve decided that it is just about time to pay homage to Nocte Obducta’s highly underrated debut album “Lethe (Gottvereckte Finsternis)“, which brings us back to 1999 again. I believe, you’ve already realized that Germany was a central hub for some of the most extreme albums in the 90s. Nocte Obducta did have their fair share in this, though their style is by far the most melodious and atmospheric example unlike the previous selections.
Vocalist: Torsten Hirsch