The Very Best of Italian Rock 6 : Black Metal Bands (with videos)
The Best of Italian Rock 6 : Black Metal Bands
Welcome to the dark side of Italian Rock and Metal where this netherworld of the black arts of musicology lurks beneath the surface.
This is where screams shatter the silent gloom and the rasp of devilish guitar tears through the foetid air.
The Italian Black Metal underground is the perfect antidote to the suave cantatore and the soprano with its deliciously malevolent sound gathering the masses to the altar. The scene in Italy is strong and thriving with a faithful domestic fan-base as well as drawing admirers from beyond its borders.
Not for lovers of clean living and clear singing and certainly none of these tunes will ever be top of the Vatican hit parade.
A Symphonic Black Metal band from Bruneck who had Goth beginnings when they were formed in 1992.
They have a distinct contrast within their music with high-pitched growls by vocalist Stefan Fiori counterbalancing a lush keyboard-enhanced Black Metal sound. They also utilise orchestral strings for that epic feel.
Among their standout tracks are the grandeur of 'Demonic' Dreams', 'Bloodwork', 'A Dreaming Beauty' and 'Fragile Side'.
They have also recorded some interesting and varied cover versions of REM's 'Losing My Religion', Iron Maiden's 'Fear of the Dark' and Bonnie Tyler's 'Holding Out For a Hero'. Diverse indeed.
Corpse-painted in white make-up with heavy black eye-liner and dark lips as would be your typical Black Metal band.
But Evol usually play with a mid-tempo sound overlaid with the exotic voice of female vocalist Suspiria.
They are definitely from the cooler side of Hades without the diabolically manic guitar and screaming vocals normally associated with the genre.
Top tracks to listen to are 'Waiting For His Coming', 'Chant of the Witch', 'Il Castello Evitato' and 'Sad Doom of a Dark Soul'.
Spawned from Alessandria in the darkest recesses of the Piedmont way back in 1986.
Mortuary Drape were influenced by their contemporaries in the Scandinavian Black Metal scene at that time.
There are shades of Mercyful Fate in their sound but also Swiss metallers Celtic Frost with deep-throated vocals and punchy guitar.
Top songs are 'Astral Bewitchment', 'Into the Catacomba', 'Primordial', 'Madness' and Tregenda'.
Originally called Ghostrider this band were formed in Liguria in 1984.
They quickly caught the Black Metal bug after seeing the trailblazers of the genre Venom in concert.
It was short-lived though as they broke up in 1989 after only two album releases. However they reformed in 1998.
Influenced by the likes of Slayer, Kreator and Celtic Frost their best tunes are 'Forever Slaves', the mid-tempo 'Process of Violation', 'Mater Tenebrarum', 'Iconoclast' and the downbeat 'Draculea'.
A Symphonic Black Metal band from the Verona area they were founded in 1999.
Their name means 'The Lady's River' and actually comes from a famous Romanian river associated with the legend of Vlad the Impaler.
They may appeal to fans of Cradle of Filth and their ilk.
With magnificent sounding song titles their best tunes include 'Siege Dawn to the Pillars of Heaven', 'Les Contes du Graal', 'Progenies of the Great ... & Lepers Among Us' and 'Forgiveness Asleep at the Tyrant's Palace'.
Also worth checking out is a bizarre cover version of 'Toxic' originally by Britney Spears of all people.
Founded in the epochal millenial year of 2000 this outfit come from Parma.
They sing mostly about war, religion and perverted nuns among other exoitc topics that will appeal to the faithful.
They have been very prolific since then with both several studio recordings and live albums amongst their catalogue.
Their best tracks include 'Rituale di Morte', 'A Scudo Delle Ninfe', 'Black Metal Knights' and 'Double Array Creation'.
Formed as far back as 1988 Opera IX are described as a 'Pagan Symphonic Black Metal band' which covers a lot of ground.
They come from the town of Biella and were founded by Ossian their guitarist.
They have gone through three singers in their time from Cadaveria, Madras to the intriguingly named 'M the Bard' but are still going strong.
Many of their songs are long in length and dark in content. Check out 'Born in the Grave', 'Musica Gotica', 'The Oak', 'The Red Death' and 'Beyond the Black Diamond Gates'
Singer Cadaveria left Opera IX to form her new group in 2001 with guitarist Marcelo Santos who had also been in the old band.
As you would expect the music is very Gothic and dark in nature although more concise than the epics of Opera IX.
With a mix of light and shade their top tunes are 'Spell','Irreverent Elegy' the intense 'AnagraM', a melodic power ballad 'The Dream' and a slow version of Blondie's 'Call Me'.
From the Lazio area of Rome, Malfeitor entered the after-life of Metal in 2006 and released their first album 'Unio Mystica Maxima' the following year.
Not to be confused with the Swedish band of the same name Malfeitor have a brutal sound and often play at an aggressively fast speed.
Tunes to check out are 'Dungeon', 'Rex Bestia Fera', 'Bahomet' and the provocatively sounding 'Jesus Christ to the Lions'. Needless to say they are described as anti-Christian in their style of music and choice of lyrics.
This band are from Liguria where they were formed in 2004 and are named after the Roman God of beginnings and traditions.
They use the Latin spelling 'JANVS' in their logo and the letter 'v' turns up in a lot of their songs titles too.
Although they have a dark sound with death growl vocals they also introduce melodic segments and solos to lighten up proceedings.
Best songs among their catalogue are perhaps 'Mediterraneo', 'Torri di Vetro', 'Pivme D'Arcangelo', 'Fvgvres', 'Vega' and 'Saphire'.
Their name is Latin for "Image of Death" in keeping with the style.
It's something with which we have become accustomed to with Black Metal bands.
Imago Mortis is also the name of a Brazilian band just to add confusion.
However the Italian version come from Bergamo in North-Western Italy and were formed in 1994.
Best tracks are 'Una Foresta Dimenticata', 'Luna Rosso Sangue', 'La terra degli Immortali' and 'Ars Obscura'.
Black Metal band with inspiration from the Progressive school of rock plus a "highly theatrical sense of burlesque" as described by one reviewer.
They were formed in 1997 in Rimini but split up 10 years later after recording 4 albums.
Their demise was marked by a greatest hits box set collection which was released in 1998.
Best songs are 'Bible Black', 'Enter', 'Souls of the Cold Wind', 'Springtime Deaths' and 'Across the Sea of Pain.
Founded in 1998 in Imer di Primiero in the Trento region, Beatrik are a Black Doom band singing about themes of depression, loneliness and death.
In case you are wondering where the name comes from it was an abominable hunter with infernal dogs who scoured woodlands in search of humans to kill.
The band are actually just a duo, the intriguingly entitled singer/guitarist Frozen Glare Smara with Vidharr on drums and they have conjured up memorable riffs and tortured vocals.
Stand out tunes are 'Eternal Rest', 'Last Dawn', 'Requiem of December', 'Journey Through the End of Life' and Spell of Destruction'.
The ancient Roman and Greek word for 'owl' is where Strix get their name.
More specifically a screech-owl which is highly appropriate of course especially since it was a vampire that fed on human flesh.
They come from Belluno in the Veneto region and began their nocturnal flight in 2007.
Among their top numbers are such elongated titles as 'Sepolto all'Ombra della Luna', '...E Fi Il Destino di un'Anima Mortale', 'Il Trionfo della Nera Fiamma' as well as the brief and eponymous 'Strix'. All the songs are from their E.P released in 2008.
Tenebrae in Perpetuum
Another band from Imer di Premiero this time formed in 2001 although they split up in 2010.
They sang about esoteric themes of the occult and mysticism as well as death
Their name is Latin for 'Darkness Forever' which their singer Atratus explained linked with the "obscure and ancestral sensations" that Black Metal engenders.
Best songs are 'Mutilazioni Celesti', 'Verso L'Apocalisse', 'Oscure Presenze', 'L'Eterno Maligno Silenzio' and 'Nero Dominio'.
Handful of Hate
Extremely heavy band that will assault your eardrums with their ferocious Black Metal sound.
They began in 1993 and released their first album 'Qliphothic Supremacy' in 1997.
They had dificulties maintaining a stable line-up especially at the beginning and to date have a list of 13 former members of the group.
Top songs are 'Livid', 'Used to Discipline', 'Earthly and Crawling', 'You Will Bleed' and 'The Fault to Exist'.
Formed in 2002 from Chieti in Abruzzo but heavily inspired by Nordic culture.
Hence their moniker which refers to an undead creature or a ghost if you prefer.
In 2005 they formed the Vrasthema circle with other bands from their region to "show to all the world the beauty of this pagan land."
Their music therefore contains influences of traditional folk as well as metal and thrash.
Check out 'Furore Pagano', 'Nocturnal Pagan Supremacy', 'Spirit of the Past' and 'Inverno'.
Formerly know strangely by the German name 'Der Nacht' this band from Rome were founded in 1994.
They were begun by their drummer Regulus and were one of the first ever Black Metal bands to come out of Rome and even Italy itself.
Their name comes from the 'Star of the Night' and has links to Satanism as it is the counterpart to Lucifer.
Noctifer sing about hate and war in songs like 'Mars Ultor', 'Odium'. 'Revenge in Blood', 'Benighted KIngdom', '454' and 'Bloody Dawn'.
This is not a definitive list of Italian Black Metal bands and afficiandos may have their own favourites from the country.
If you want to plunge even deeper into the depths of darkness check out these other Italian Black Metal bands.
Abhor, Ater, Bard Faust, Black Flame, Cultus Sanguine, Exsecratum, Hiems, Kult, Opus Mortifer, Orcrist, Profezia, and Thy Winter Kingdom
Other links to Italian Rock Music Hubs by Shinkicker
- The Very Best of Italian Rock: Language No Barrier to Good Music
Here are some Italian musicians that I have enjoyed in the past year. Once you get past the language barrier you might find yourself tuning in to the melodies.
- The Very Best of Italian Rock 2 : Famous Male Solo Artists
Outside of their native land not many Italian Rock singers are that well known. This is unfortunate because there is plenty of good music to have come out of Italy over the years. So here is a selection of some of the best male solo.
- The Very Best of Italian Rock 3 : Famous Female Solo Artists
Here is a collection of famous female vocalists from the country who would come under a fairly broad definition of Rock music. Inclining more to the softer edge of the genre in the main part there are still plenty of electric guitars and raw attit
- The Very Best of Italian Rock 4 : Heavy Metal Artists
This is Rock music, soft or hard, light or heavy it displays the talented exponents of the electric guitar and the tradition of uncompromising Rock n' Roll of the modern era.
- The Very Best of Italian Rock 5 : Death Metal Bands
I bet you never guessed that there were so many Extreme Metal bands to have come out of Italy over the years. It certainly took me by surprise as did the quality of many of the acts.
- The Very Best of Italian Rock 7 : Doom Metal Bands
Here are some fine masters of the mirthless from Italy. A list of 12 bands that I would reckon are among the best that the country has to offer the Doom Metal scene.
- The Very Best of Italian Rock 8 : Indie Music Bands (with videos)
Presenting the lighter side of Italian guitar-fuelled rock. Nevertheless you will find lots of raw energy, passion and plenty of attitude among these bands. Here you will find a chaotic melange of Pop, Rock, Punk, Grunge, Garage and whatever else.
- The Very Best of Italian Rock 9 : Alternative Music Bands (with videos)
Some bands are hard to categorise in any country and in any language. The Italian music scene is no different and many groups will produce quite unique and idiosyncratic music that is difficult to define.