"some music was meant to stay underground..."


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.

Honorable Mentions

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.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur splits his time between writing dark fiction, spreading the word about underground metal bands, and bringing you the latest gaming news. His sci-fi, grimdark fantasy, and horror novels can be found at Amazon.

What's Next?

Please share this article if you found it interesting.

10 Comments on "Unearthing The 'Black Metal' Underground"

Post your comments and discuss the article below! (no login required)

Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

1. Diamond Oz writes:

I've actually been meaning to do a Sunday Old School on Black Death for a while but it's hard to find as much information as I'd like. Fantastic article man!

# Feb 28, 2011 @ 6:34 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
americanpatriot1's avatar


2. americanpatriot1 writes:

"Deranged Psychopath" has a very Benediction feel to it. Pretty good riffs from those guys. Vocally not my thing, but an overall good effort. "Fate was well done.

# Feb 28, 2011 @ 11:54 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
sonictherapy's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

3. sonictherapy writes:

I used to have that Black Death record! Aside from that, it is great to hear the African take on metal.

# Mar 1, 2011 @ 12:21 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
4. saturnword writes:

Bone Ritual and Witchtomb from Boston.

# Mar 1, 2011 @ 2:23 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Rayze's avatar


5. Rayze writes:

Finally, I've been wondering about African metal for so long, surprised they don't have more polyrhythms.

# Mar 1, 2011 @ 5:46 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
brandedcfh420's avatar


6. brandedcfh420 writes:

black metal sucks!!! waste of time.

# Mar 1, 2011 @ 7:29 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. Marny writes:

Theres A black Metal act out of Jamaica Called Orisha Shakpana. One out of Barbados called Conrad.

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 6:06 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
RTB's avatar


8. RTB writes:

F@ckin branded lol
i enjoy all the international pieces the MU does, this was an intresting crop..
Eagerly waiting a piece from indonesia...

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 7:14 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
9. musicologist writes:

The Bayarea's "A Band Called Pain or AB/CP" rock pretty hard.
Thanx Marny for the heads up on Orisha Shakpana!
f*** racism, branded loves trivium

# Mar 2, 2011 @ 8:52 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
10. Kenyan-MetalHead writes:

You should also check out Seismic and Last Years Tragedy on Facebook. Last Years Tragedy may not be straight up metal (they have punk and hardcore inluences as well as metal) but they have paved the way for other metal bands here such as In Oath and Absence of Light.
Seismic is another pioneer who ply their trade in melodic metal with some hardcore influences and they have a song entitled , 'Your Grace' for free download on Reverbnation and their Facebook page.
Glad to see you guys paying attention to metal and hard music from Africa. Not many people know that we have bands here.

# Mar 17, 2011 @ 10:03 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

To minimize comment spam/abuse, you cannot post comments on articles over a month old. Please check the sidebar to the right or the related band pages for recent related news articles.