- Words by Necronautical
NECRONAUTICAL PRESENT THEIR TOP FIVE CLASSIC BLACK METAL ALBUMS
We were asked to select five black metal albums that proved to be a major influence on our sound, as well as having pushed the evolution of the genre itself. For us, what sets black metal apart from other genres is that from its very beginnings no two bands wanted to sound the same, and whilst it has its sonic staples, it was born more of an ethos than of musical motifs, and consequentially the genre has become extremely broad. We look at it more as being formed from the mentality from whence the music came, as opposed to the music that comes out. There have been countless influential bands that have emerged since the genre’s inception that have been pivotal in stretching the musical boundaries of the genre, such as Deathspell Omega, Leviathan or Blut aus Nord, amongst others. But as we are restricted to only five selections, we have chosen five classic black metal albums that have proved hugely influential on us since our youth, and that we feel honed a certain niche within the genre that has continued to expand to the present day.
1. EMPEROR – ANTHEMS TO THE WELKIN AT DUSK
Emperor are an obvious and fundamental influence for Necronautical. Their technical and layered approach to black metal music never sacrificed an ounce of dark atmosphere from their sound. ‘Anthems…’ to us is the apex of their work; a chaotic, cinematic and darkly beautiful manifestation of their vision. It is bombastic and grandiose, yet at the same time very sincere. The ambition and purity of their musical vision for this album is absolutely awe-inspiring, and the bleak romanticism of the lyrics in combination with the artwork also make strong contributions to this. No matter how many times we hear this record, its epic moments never fail to send shivers up our spines, whilst its descents into cold, calculated chaos remain to be some of the most evil and uncompromising musical moments that we know of. Over twenty years since its release and this album still sounds fresh and innovative. ‘Anthems…’ has often been imitated, and yet never surpassed.
2. DISSECTION - STORM OF THE LIGHT'S BANE
Dissection were a hugely important band for us growing up, and probably our gateway into the wider genre. Naut was lucky enough to have seen them live in 2004 as his first experience of a black metal concert. Their use of dark and yet catchy guitar melodies interspersed with cold, blasting black metal has been a fundamental influence on the way we construct our riffs and songs since our beginnings as a band. Tracks such as ‘Night’s Blood’, ‘Where Dead Angels Lie’ and ‘Thorns of Crimson Death’ are timeless heavy metal masterpieces that transcend the black metal genre, and yet were written and performed with such sinister satanic conviction that they could never be anything but. In our opinion, the songwriting and structuring on display throughout Dissection’s work is second to none. Their use of dark, melodic hooks, guitar harmonies and an untouchable vocal delivery from Jon Nordveit create a beautifully grandiose depiction of otherworldly darkness that remains untouchable to the present day. It is incredible that Jon composed songs like this at such a young age.
3. BURZUM - HVIS LYSET TAR OSS
Burzum is such an important band for us, as well as for the black metal genre at large, being a pivotal influence on the DSBM sound, as well pagan and atmospheric black metal subgenres. The music is cold and hateful, but also brings in a despairing and melancholic atmosphere. The use of long, repeated sections and driving monotonous drumming and riffs create a trance-like effect on the listener. Although his classic albums were intentionally very lo-fi, the summing effect of the dissonant guitar playing, pained vocals and dark keyboard melodies creates an enormous sense of space. Burzum’s music is intentionally transportative, being both abrasive and meditative at the same time. We're also particularly fond of Varg's ambient works, both as stand-alone pieces and when integrated with his distinct approach to black metal music. The simplistic, yet dark and epic intro to album opener ‘Det Som Engang Var’ is to us the purest example of the epic and depressive aspects of Burzum’s music that we love and are inspired by.
4. OPETH - MY ARMS, YOUR HEARSE
It could be justifiably argued that Opeth are not a black metal band, but their influence upon us as a band is so great that it would be wrong not to include them. Besides, the atmospheres and melodies created on their earlier albums, particularly ‘My Arms, Your Hearse’ are certainly in-keeping with the sound and imagery of the genre. We are absolutely fans of a progressive approach to songwriting, however many bands occupying the genre unfortunately forgo emotional content for the sake of instrumental showmanship, but this is absolutely not the case for Opeth. The mournfully beautiful melodies they create are completely distinct, and few bands have been able to intertwine musical ferocity with moments of calm and beauty as successfully as they have. The melodies in classics such as ‘April Ethereal’, ‘When’ and ‘Demon of the Fall’ are both sombre and euphoric, which is absolutely an effect we intend for parts of our music to have.
5. IMMORTAL - AT THE HEART OF WINTER
Immortal has been a fundamental influence on Necronautical since our beginnings. The fantastical icy imagery that permeates their music is, in our opinion, very well achieved, and never better than on their classic ‘At the Heart of Winter’ album. As well as their strong use of fantastical imagery, we are big fans of the rock ’n' roll sensibilities that beat at the heart of Immortal’s music, the driving pace of the drumming perfectly paces the freezing atmosphere of the riffs, and gives the band a certain swagger and sense of fun that is rarely found in the genre. ‘At the Heart of Winter’ is chock full of awesome catchy riffs that perfectly serve the atmosphere of the band, a particular favourite is that which comes in three minutes into their classic ‘Withstand the Fall of Time’.
Necronautical's 'Apotheosis' is out 30th August via Candlelight Records. Pre-order your copy HERE