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Hi - if you're looking for reliable reviews on the unblack metal genre, and maybe some reminiscing about my days in the black metal scene and my thoughts on the black metal classics, you've come to the right profile.
I've been a black metal fan since April 2002, falling in love with the genre via some of the lighter classics such as Immortal's "Sons of Northern Darkness" and Cradle of Filth's "Dusk...and Her Embrace". It didn't take me too long to get into the harder stuff, and eventually my library was stocked with everything from the classic Darkthrone albums all the way to rare selections by Pest, Horna, Satanic Warmaster, Nortt, etc.
The last secular black metal album I ever purchased was Deathspell Omega's "Kenose", before I realized the hypocrisy of a lot of black metal bands. If they really meant what they were saying, they would stop talking about it and kill themselves for the devil, or whatever else they were ranting on about.
So I took a hiatus from BM for a long time, draining myself of all the poison. And then I discovered Christian black metal.
Back in the day, unblack or Christian black metal was a joke. Horde's "Hellig Usvart" was indeed a good-sounding album, but it seemed like a bit of a gimmick and nothing more. Then I heard Antestor, Slechtvalk, etc. and thought, well - these bands can definitely play (and Hellhammer's on one of their albums!?!).
Now, I find it's a limited genre that still has some of the best BM to offer, but with a message that doesn't require me to sacrifice my ideals (usually, anyways). I am becoming Catholic, so some of the bands aren't too friendly with Catholicism, and their understanding of theology, the Bible, and the like are pretty ignorant at times, but the message of hope is still there, and this means a lot to me. It means I can still listen to one of my favorite genres without having to feel wrong inside about it. As much as I would love to crank Darkthrone's "Panzerfaust" again, I remind myself that there are other bands with a better message, just waiting to be heard. And with that, I am doing my part to make sure they get some exposure, and that Christian black metallers can have a reviewer/scout out there to give them an idea as to what's good and what's not.
My reviews are roughly keyed as follows:
0-10%: Atrocious - avoid as though it were literally crawling with plague.
10 - 20%: Pretty bad - the band tried and failed.
20 - 30%: Very Disappointing - not terrible, but it just isn't working.
30 - 40%: Disappointing - nothing to write home about.
40 - 50%: Mediocre - it's got its moments, may be an acquired taste.
50 - 60%: Fair - not bad album, nothing amazing, but OK.
60 - 70%: Good - a decent album, worth checking out at least.
70 - 80%: Very Good - a solid album.
80 - 90%: Great - a worthy release, excellent.
90 - 100%: Classic - a must-have album, absolutely killer.
Favorite Unblack Metal bands are:
Lo-Ruhamah, Vaakevandring, Fire Throne, Horde, Frost Like Ashes, Verdelger, Beeroth
Top Ten Unblack Metal records:
1. Lo-Ruhamah - Self-titled EP
2. Fire Throne - "Day of Darkness...and Blackness"
3. Verdelger - "Verdelger" (re-issue)
4. Vaakevandring - Self-titled EP
5. Horde - "Hellig Usvart"
6. Frost Like Ashes - "Tophet"
7. Beeroth - "Total Annihilation of Leviathan Legions"
8. Admonish - "Insnarjd"
9. Antestor - "The Forsaken"
10. Frosthardr - "Necrodisaster" EP
Favorite Black Metal bands were:
Satyricon, Ulver, Darkthrone, Immortal, Judas Iscariot, Craft, Nortt, Dissection, Mayhem
Top Ten Black Metal records:
1. Immortal - "Sons of Northern Darkness"
2. Darkthrone - "A Blaze in the Northern Sky"
3. Bathory - "Blood Fire Death"
4. Dissection - "Storm of the Light's Bane"
5. Satyricon - "The Shadowthrone"
6. Satyricon - "Dark Medieval Times"
7. Woods of Ypres - "Against the Seasons"
8. Borknagar - Self-titled
9. Agalloch - "The Mantle"
10. Ulver - "Kveldsjanger"
Thanks for reading! Pax Christi,