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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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