Easily the darkest of all metal sub-genres, black metal grew out of many of the same roots as death metal, influenced by bands like Venom, Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, and taking the obsession with death and the occult to a whole new level.
Black metal is less rhythmically rigid than thrash. It also strays away from verse/chorus/verse structures in favour of less predictable terrain. What sets it apart from other metal sub-genres is that it often embraces raw, lo-fidelity production values.
Following a spate of Norwegian church burnings in the early '90s, black metal became infamous, but the scene is very much alive and kicking - there are probably more black metal bands now than ever!
Key band: Mayhem
Pioneers of the Norwegian black metal scene, Mayhem have been surrounded by controversy and death since they started in the mid-'80s.
Key album: Darkthrone - Transylvannian Hunger (1994)
Ice cold minimalism and lo-fi simplicity characterise this milestone black metal album.
Key track: Burzum - War (1995)
Burzum is one of the most controversial figures in black metal and this heart-pounding track is a sound introduction to the sub-genre. Tread carefully.
A black metal documentary