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Unearthing The Metal Underground: The Unblack Metal Scene

Each week with Unearthing the Metal Underground we take a look at quality underground bands in an attempt to spread the word of lesser known acts. This week we're diving into a divisive and controversial subject: Christian "unblack" metal. Also known as "white metal" or "holy unblack metal," the genre twists the standard Satanic or anti-religious themes and instead presents a pro-Christian worldview.

Say the phrase "Christian black metal" to the average metal head and you're likely to be met with a confused giggle or a baffled comparison to Jewish Nazi metal bands, but believe it or not there is a thriving religious black metal scene. While many of the black metal legions may see Christian lyrical themes as an irreconcilable contradiction, there are quite a few unblack bands with music every bit as dark and menacing as anything from the likes of Mayhem or Dimmu Borgir.

As a companion to this look into three unblack metal bands, we also have an editorial dealing with the subject of Christianity in black metal.

Renascent

Destroying any preconceived notions of unblack metal lacking the force of an anti-religious band, Finland’s Renascent is a thrash-influenced symphonic black metal power house that equals or exceeds many secular bands. The level of fury present in the music is pretty astonishing, and the band doesn’t slouch in the melody department either. It’s a shame the band isn’t better known in the extreme metal community, as the aggressive symphonic tones are sure to please fans of acts like Dimmu Borgir or Dragonlord. Several Renascent tracks are available for streaming through the band’s MySpace page, with “In Hell” and “Exodus” being the most potent examples of crushing brutality mixed with keyboards. The songs “Scenes of a Tragedy” and “Through Darkness” can also be found in the video clips below.

Fearscape

Australia’s Fearscape drops nearly all of the symphonic elements heard in Renascent, instead opting to exude the freezing cold blackness found in plenty of Scandinavian black metal acts. While not exactly a “progressive” metal group, Fearscape does have a knack for including melody in the song structures, and defies black metal norms with decent production and an active bass presence. The band released the “Scent of Divine Blood” album (reviewed here) in 2007, and has recently announced a hiatus as the various members work on other projects in different musical directions.

Songs from the album are available for streaming here and live clips of the band performing “Abaddon Destroyer,” “Nightmare Hymn,” and “Sleeping in Light” can be viewed below. Anti-religious metal fans may get a chuckle out of seeing a chubby guy covered in fake blood screaming about God defeating Satan, but honestly black metal isn’t a stranger to on-stage shenanigans that seem silly to outside viewers. Whether it’s the infamous pictures of the Taake front man accidentally exposing himself during a live set, the over-the-top corpse paint utilized by many bands, or the weird faces Dani Filth is known for, metal is adept at showing that what seems ridiculous to one person can have serious significance for someone else.

Frost Like Ashes

Heading more into the raw side of black metal, Missouri based band Frost Like Ashes wouldn’t even be recognized as a Christian band at first glance. Corpse paint covered band members, songs about dashing babies to pieces and women being raped, and names like “Qoheleth” and “Adonijah” don’t exactly scream “religion.” But then a closer look is taken, and we realize the black metal style names are all taken from the Bible, and the lyrics are about what will happen to unbelievers who turn their backs on the Christian deity. Frost Like Ashes tracks can be heard here, and the song “Lord of Darkness” can be found at this location.

“Born to Pieces” is a particular interesting look at what happens when metal meets religion, with the typical trappings of black metal being used to tackle the subject of abortion.

Certainly there are more quality underground unblack metal bands to be found. If you'd like to recommend bands from the Christian black metal scene, please feel free to discuss them in the comments below. As a companion to this entry of Unearthing the Underground, we will also be posting an editorial soon delving into Christian black metal and the role religion can play in a style known primarily for its anti-religious themes.

Check back every Monday as we delve into a different scene or genre to unearth some new underground metal bands.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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20 Comments on "Unearthing The Unblack Metal Underground"

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Anonymous Reader
1. Unblack writes:

There are a lot of Christian Unblack bands, in my opinion much better then some of the ones shown here. Bands like Horde, that really helped start the genre, Antestor, Crimson Moonlight, Slechtvalk, Sorrowstorm, Vardøger, Fire Throne to name a few.

# Dec 27, 2010 @ 6:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

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2. hellrat writes:

hell, some of that sh!t is better than a lot of the 'real' black out there...some of the more popular 'black' metal band are pure fvcking garbage

the oz dudes had some crap vocals, but the other two bands were pretty damn good

in any case, i think the whole idea works out just perfect....after all christianity IS evil, is it not? ;)

# Dec 27, 2010 @ 6:59 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
3. mental writes:

wow. i gotta say. after lstening to some of these bands they're quite incredible

# Dec 27, 2010 @ 8:33 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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4. americanpatriot1 writes:

A fair assesment of the scene from a stone cold atheist. Props!

# Dec 28, 2010 @ 1:39 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
5. Thunderworks writes:

Check Out This Band Theogonia from Connecticut if You Like Black Metal! Our bassist is in the band!

# Dec 28, 2010 @ 10:52 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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6. EsotericSurgery writes:

Renascent was actually pretty good...Fearscape I thought sounded terrible...and the fat guy covered in blood just made it hard to watch...and I actually burst out laughing when I heard Frost Like Ashes and read the lyrics. All in all very interesting post Ty I enjoyed it!

# Dec 28, 2010 @ 12:41 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. Ugh writes:

They need to find their own kind of self expression. Pretty sad these xstian types cannot come up with something more original. I think going "deathcore-emo-gospel-hip hop" would be more believable. Makes no sense to have an image totally contrary to your true belief. These bands may "sound good" but are posers at heart. I will stick to "trve bands" thank you very much. What are they trying to do, convert non-believers or something? Lame...Keep God's missionary work out of my metal and in Church where it belongs.

# Dec 29, 2010 @ 12:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
grim_frost's avatar

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8. grim_frost writes:

agreed ugh
they are poser
music it self is not bad at all
but they are poser with corpse paint and the lyrics about defeating satan and religion

# Dec 30, 2010 @ 4:30 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

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9. hellrat writes:

anyone that takes black metal too seriously has some major fvcking psychological disorder....not so different from the moronic dolts who take fvcking religion seriously

now then, of course, there's EMPEROR...

INNO A SATANA

now go listen to yer goddamned 'true' muppets....Cradle of Borgir, or whatever the fvck ya call that TRUE carnival soundtrack dogsh!t

fvck ALL your weak idols, Sheep....sacred or secular

sanguine et honore

# Dec 30, 2010 @ 11:19 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
NW_MetalHead's avatar

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10. NW_MetalHead writes:

Hellrat has some truth in what he says, I think it is stupid to not like these bands because they are religious. Those haters even said that they liked the music! I can understand people not liking a band because they spew out Nazi lyrics or other such hateful lyrics because those people want to do harm to specific people.

But in general, people need to lighten up a little, its just music.

Putting the lyrics aside, I really liked these bands, they could be put alongside most other regular BM bands

# Dec 30, 2010 @ 2:53 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

11. deathbringer writes:

I can understand the position of those who despise unblack metal for many of the reasons above, but I don't agree with it. I don't agree with binding beliefs and content to a style of music to the point calling anyone else who tries to play the style without the message posers. It's like railing against a new thrash band that doesn't scream of war and sociopolitical commentary or wear denim jackets. Sure, some people will not like the perceived lack of authenticity, but I don't agree with it. Times and music evolve and change scares a lot of people. Just like a lot of the tr00 black metal bands sh**ting on the new breed of symphonic black metal... The music is ultimately what I care about. That said, I am not PART of the black metal movement, who would of course have stronger feelings about it.

# Dec 30, 2010 @ 3:34 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
12. Raju writes:

Just like 'Nu-metal', This is the next f***ing abomination that the world ov metal is getting swept..There are certain things that just dont work right even if you try to fuse them standing up-side-down..can't this so called 'children of the god' be blessed with some creativity in spreading the message of god without bashing my f***ing daily dose of black metal??? To hell with this organic bullsh**!! Black metal ist kreig!!!

# Dec 31, 2010 @ 12:48 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
EsotericSurgery's avatar

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13. EsotericSurgery writes:

HR, leave Dimmu Borgir out of this. :D

# Dec 31, 2010 @ 3:19 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

14. hellrat writes:

ha! ya sorry, brother ES---didn't mean to catch ya in the crossfire there

ah hell! i still think they're cheesy goofballs....might be good on broadway though ;)

NP---She's Country---Jason Aldean

# Dec 31, 2010 @ 11:28 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
15. Sven writes:

Hellrat. I love your opinion on comercial black metal. Is that even possible? If you look at true black metal and what black metal is today they are two entirely differnt things. with true black metal the message of Satan is more important than the music itself. People that take black metal too seriously are messed up. Unblack metal is underground and they sing what they want to sing about. True black metal is so messsed up in their idealoligies that they need a little unblack to stir them up I reckon. Give the metalheads a chance to listen to some extreme music where they dont sing about satanism yet maintain strong themes.

# Jan 1, 2011 @ 2:03 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
xFiruath's avatar

Content Manager

16. xFiruath writes:

Heheh, I'd like to think I'm a warm and fuzzy atheist AP1 :)

Thanks for the comments everyone! We'll be posting an editorial on Christian black metal and it's place in the underground shortly. I wanted to get as much perspective on the subject as possible, so I'm just waiting on a few more Christian bands to send back answers to an interview on the subject before posting.

For anybody who dug these bands, we'll definitely have another "Unearthing" on more Unblack metal bands down the line.

# Jan 7, 2011 @ 9:11 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
17. b.bristowe writes:

Everyone in this post is t00 kvlt for moi. i'm siding with post 7.

# Jan 8, 2011 @ 2:27 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
americanpatriot1's avatar

Member

18. americanpatriot1 writes:

X: Warm and fuzzy...gotcha. I guess I got the cold thing from you being from Montana and all. Ma bad!

# Jan 9, 2011 @ 11:58 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
19. ZMA writes:

First band was good. Other too not so much.

# Jan 17, 2011 @ 2:07 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
20. Sadfa writes:

@hellrat your a dumbass dude

# Jan 19, 2011 @ 2:53 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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