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South Africa's Demogoroth Satanum. Image: Youtube.

10 Black Metal Bands You Should Check Out

And, yes, we're aware of the double meaning here.

It would be an understatement to say that metal can be overwhelmingly white. After all, a quick google search for "black metal bands" bring more results for the Scandinavian-born sub-genre of metal than for bands featuring black members. A common misconception is that black people don't like metal music, hence the fact that they are not there. That's of course untrue. If anything, this list is here to prove it.

Read ahead for 10 black metal bands you should check out.


Demogoroth Satanum

South Africa's most famous metal band couldn't be any more black metal if they wanted to—from the members to the music). Hailing from Soweto, Demogoroth Satanum are adamant that they want to bring more black people to the metal scene and break barriers. Formed in 2009, they've released 3 EPs since, their most recent one Becoming in 2018. They are inspired by bands like Ragnarok, Negator and Batushka. In 2017, a documentary retracing their rise to local stardom was made by the magazine Uproxx.


Mystifier

Legendary Brazilian metal band Mystifier was formed in Salvador, Bahia in 1989. The band is a pillar of underground metal and their impact on many metal bands is undeniable. Mystifier has fought against racism and capitalism from the beginning. They are also not afraid of using violence against racist skinheads if necessary. Another black metal band with black members, Mystifier released their new album Protogoni Mavri Magiki Dynasteia in 2019 after an 18 years hiatus. Through their music, the band approaches philosophy, nihilism, and anti-religious feelings with the goal of opening the minds of their public.

ANIMALS AS LEADERS - Physical Education (Official Music Video)

The American progressive metal band Animals As Leaders was formed in 2007. Their music is entirely instrumental. In a scene where the more piercing a singer's voice and screams are, the more popular their band is, this group stands out. Bands such as Yes, Styx or Rush are among their many inspirations. They are lead by guitarist Tosin Abadesi, one of the most popular contemporary guitar players at the moment. In 2014, their third album, The Joy of Motion, became their highest selling album to date, reaching number 23 of the American Billboard 200 chart. Their last album, The madness of many, was released in 2016.

Wrust

Hailing from Botswana, Wrust are considered the first death metal band from a country that is known for his thriving rock scene. Formed in 2000, the band is led by singer and guitarist Stux Daemon. Inspired by Cannibal Corpse, Carcass and Killswitch Engage, they released their first EP, Soulless Machine, in 2007; Their second album, Intellectual Metamorphosis, followed in 2013. Through their music, they want to inspire their audience to challenge the status quo and question the impact government and religion has.

Sasamaso

The oldest thrash metal band from the island of Madagascar is also the first female fronted one. Sasamaso means "Clean your eyes." The groundbreaking band writes their lyrics in malagasy and don't shy away from violent, morbid themes. Inspired by Sepultura and Obituary, as well as traditional sounds from Madagascar, they are led by the singer RaSah. The band comes from the notoriously violent 67ha neighborhood and openly talk about the effect it had on them. They were first formed in 2002, before disbanding in 2013. They, then reformed in 2017 and have been active since. They're signed on the French label Legion of Death records and are currently touring Madagascar.

Body Count

The legendary thrash rap metal band American was formed by rapper Ice-T in 1989 with his friends from high school. Inspired by Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, Body Count released their self titled debut album in 1992 with the song "Cop Killer" featured as a single. The controversy around it was so big that death threats were sent to the band and record label, and President George H. W. Bush publicly condemned the song. Under pressure, Ice-T removed it from the album. Their lyrics tackle many themes, from gang crime, police violence, and America's imperialist military policies to political issues. Despite three of the original members dying (D-Rock, Mooseman and Beatmaster V) as well as Ice-T successful career as a rapper and actor, the band still goes on. Their latest album, Bloodlust, was released in 2017 and they are currently working on a new album.

Zeal & Ardor

The Swiss Black metal band Zeal & Ardor was formed in 2013 and is lead by Swiss-American singer and guitarist Manuel Gagneux. Their music is a mix of gospel, soul and black metal and draws inspiration from African-American culture, leading some metal fans to accuse the band of cultural appropriation. Accusations that might feel silly when you take into account the fact that black metal, although coming from Norway, is inspired by legions of fans and musicians all over the world. Zeal & Ardor's music delves into satanism, which is a gamble given their obvious gospel references. The band released their last album, Stranger Fruit, inspired by the Billie Holiday song.

Living Colour

The American band was formed in 1984 by guitarist and vocalist Vernon Reid. They released their debut album, VIVID, in 1988 and won a Grammy Award and multiple MTV Music Video Awards for their song "Cult of Personality" in 1990. Their music is a fusion of heavy metal, funk, hip-hop. Their lyrics tackle many themes that are still relevant today, from racism in America to gun violence. After a five year hiatus and multiple line-up changes, they returned in 2000 with a fourth studio album Collideøscope. Their latest album, Shade, was released in 2017.

Bad Wolves

Formed in 2017, the heavy metal superband Bad Wolves is formed of guitarist Doc Coyle, former guitarist of the band God Forbid, Tommy Vext (former singer of Snot), John Boecklin ( from DevilDriver), Chris Cain ( from For the Fallen Dreams) and Kyle Konkiel ( from In This Moment). Because the members were already veterans in the metal scene, their rise to the top has been quick. They released their first album Disobey in 2018 and their cover of The Cranberries' "Zombie" topped the American Billboard charts. They released their new album N.A.T.I.O.N. in October 2019.

Skinflint 

Another band from Botswana's capital Gaborone, Skinflint were formed in 2006. They are inspired by African spirituality, mythology and mythology, as well as bands like Metallica and Black Sabbath. What makes their music so unique is that they mix elements of their culture, such as kwasa kwasa, with traditional heavy metal elements. They have toured internationally and their last self-titled album was released in 2018.

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TCIYF (South Africa). Photo courtesy of the band.

20 Black Punk Bands You Need To Listen To

Punk's not dead, and these 20 black punk bands from North America, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Mozambique, Brazil & more prove it.

40 years ago, punk rock spread around the world with bands like The Clash and The Ramones gathering a cult following and creating a scene in which kids who didn't fit in found a community.

Punk rock started in the U.K. and the States as a movement against the establishment—a way for working class kids to fight back through music and culture, no matter their lack of technical skills or financial means. Today, most of the remains of that period can be found in museums and it seems like most people have forgotten what the movement was all about.

Black punks stand out like a sore throat and their presence can be questioned. But, in reality, they've been present from punk's heyday with artists like Bad Brains, National Wake and Poly Styrene making history.

Black punks, if anything, are some of the last vanguards of a punk movement that's been co-opted by the mainstream. They fight two battles: to create their own space inside their punk communities, as well as inside black culture.

Black punks have to reconcile these cultures, and are thus more authentic, rebellious, bold and not afraid to be involved politically.

Punk's not dead, and these 10 black punk bands show it.

Listen to our Black Punk playlists on Apple Music.

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BLXPLTN's New York Facist Week cover.

The Black Indie Artist You Need to Listen to This Month: BLXPLTN

You need to hear black punk group BLXPLTN.

This new series will feature the most exciting independent and alternative artists from Africa and its diaspora. Black artists are complex and multidisciplinary. Twice a month, we'll introduce the hottest, boldest musicians out there that you need to listen to.BLXPLTN

Austin-based punk band BLXPLTN's latest album, New York Fascist Week, features a cover art of Donald Trump snorting the pain of others. Even by punk standards, it's difficult to be any more political than that.

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Miss South Africa Wants Men to Write Love Letters to Women to Fight Against Gender-Based Violence

Unfortunately, there's nothing stopping abusive men from writing these love letters too.

South Africa's newly crowned Miss SA Zozibini "Zozi" Tunzi has launched a "HeForShe" campaign which aims to tackle the alarming rates of femicide and gender-based violence in the country. The campaign, which is in partnership with the South African arm of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), wants South African men to step up and join the collective fight against abuse. However, the campaign has been criticized by many because of the way in which it wants men to step—by writing love letters to women. The campaign has divided South Africans, particularly those on social media.

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Former Gambian Beauty Queen Fatou Jallow's Movement Against Sexual Assault Gains Traction

After publicly accusing former President Yahya Jammeh of rape, young women under the #IamToufah banner are standing against sexual assault in the country.

A few months ago, former Gambian beauty queen Fatou 'Toufah' Jallow publicly accused former President Yahya Jammeh of rape. The 23-year-old alleged that Jammeh had raped her following her refusal of his marriage proposal during his time in office back in 2015. Under the leadership of current President Adama Barrow, The Gambian government established the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) which is now investigating human rights violations during Jammeh's tenure. Jallow, who is testifying at the commission, has spurred a movement where young women are taking a stand against sexual assault in the country under the #IamToufah banner.

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