Unearthing The Metal Underground: The "Black Metal" Scene
Besides being black history month, February also happens to be black metal history month at Metalundergound, and we’ve already taken looks at bands like Emperor and Immortal. Each week with Unearthing the Metal Underground we look at several quality acts that haven’t managed to make it big yet. To get the month back to its originally intended purpose, we’ll know delve into a series of underground metal bands composed primarily or even entirely of black members.
Heavy metal, of any sub-genre or style, is a worldwide musical phenomenon that easily crosses racial and ethnic boundaries. While it would seem that many metal bands are composed entirely of lanky white dudes with long hair, that’s by no means the only type of group to be found among the metal hordes. Sepultura, Killswitch Engage, God Forbid, and Suffocation are some of the most well known acts to feature black musicians.
Rather than rehash bands you already know and love, instead we’ll unearth several acts that haven’t had a chance to be exposed to the wider metal world.
To start off our look at metal bands composed of black members, we’ll head over to Botswana, Africa to be pummeled to pieces by the death metal act Crackdust. Hailing from a country that hasn’t exactly made it on the musical radar yet, Crackdust still has a well developed and crushing sound that deserves a mosh pit full of metal heads. Details on the band can be found here, or you can check out the songs “Fate,” “Ruptured,” and “Deranged Psychopath” in the clips below.
Traveling from Botswana to Uganda, our next band is heavy metal act Threatening. The act is nearly the polar opposite of Crackdust, heading more towards power metal territory and utilizing a much more melodic and polished sound with a more noticeable bass presence. You can check out brief sample clips from three Threatening tracks in the widget below, or listen to the full songs through the band’s MySpace page.
Returning to Botswana again we find Skinflint, which is a band that is more traditional metal, although it doesn’t necessarily fit into one specific genre. Skinflint is definitely more melodic than Crackdust, but it’s also more old school and thrash oriented than Threatening. The odd vocals, not quite harsh and not quite clean, have a strange appeal to them as they match the music well. Check out the song “Army of the Dead” below and decide for yourself what Skinflint sounds like and if you dig the vocal work.
The track “Iron Pierced King” can also be heard below, which has more of an Iron Maiden feel and slightly cleaner vocals.
There are many bands out there with primarily black members, so there are a few “honorable mentions” worth checking out that have made an impact in the musical world. Brazil’s Mystifier isn’t the best metal band to be found, but the act has made a splash in the underground by supplying a song for the cult film “Gummo.” For anyone who’s not willing to brave the movie (or the infamous bath tub spaghetti scene), you can check out the track “Give the Human Devil His Due” in the player below.
Black Death also deserves a nod, as it is perhaps the earliest all-black metal act. You can check out this deliciously over the top band at this location, or listen to “Night of the Living Death” below. Although the band’s drummer Phil Bullard passed away in 2008 the band began stirring again the next year and announced plans to continue on with new material in the future.
Certainly there are more all-black metal bands to be found in the underground worth checking out, so be sure to leave your comments below if you’d like to recommend a group. Check back next week as we continue to unearth more bands in the underground metal scene.
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