A genre of the Heavy Metal category derived from Thrash Metal through such bands as Venom, the main early defining differences between it and its father-genre being tremelo picking and 'blast-beats'; drum beats played about twice the speed as the traditional trash metal base beats (32nds as opposed to 16ths).

Taking major influence from Bathory and Venom, the ganre became largely associated with Norway through the work of Mayhem, Burzum and Dark Throne, many of the later bands categorised into the black metal genre being influenced by these three bands, and many of these bands being from Norway themselves.

Spawning from thrash metal as black and death metal did, they ran parallel. Eventually the two genres became commonly associated since they both implemented tremelo picking, blast beats, and invariably screamed vocals much of the time. This was taken into influence by some bands and the genres eventually interweaved with some projects such as Dark Throne, Profanatica, and late Emperor.

Other movements of the genre since its rising in the Norwegian metal scene have been melodic/symphonic projects such as Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir, and more underground movements such as the Black Legions, which as a collective are as yet universally nameless.
Bathory, Abigor, Immortal and Burzum could be described as Black Metal bands.
by Aston Clulow January 16, 2004
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One of the rarest forms of metal, found in the mountains of Norway. Discovered and first forged by the blacksmith Burzum.
That armor is made from black metal. Only the most evil can wear it.
by thundaaaa January 19, 2009
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A subgenre of heavy metal. Characteristics of black metal include typically high-pitched screaming vocals, tremolo picked guitars lacking bass and emphasising treble, and blastbeats (quadruple time drum beats). Unlike its sibling, the more thrash-based death metal, black metal concentrates more on mood and melodies (primal as they may be) instead of riffs and heaviness. The line between death and black metal can often be hazy, which is why categorizations are not really that important.
"Hmm, do I want to be mindless MTV-watching retard and buy a 50 Cent album, or a person who listens to good, well-composed, uncompromising music and buy a Dark Funeral CD."
by SuomiFinlandPerkele February 16, 2004
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There are many variations of Black Metal. Some examples:
First Wave of Black Metal (aka Old School): A lot of similarities with Thrash Metal, but the Black Metal is obvious.
Second Wave of Black Metal: Modern-sounding BM.
Black Metal: There is no point in redefining it, since virtually every definition above this, has been dealing with that particular style of BM.
Raw Black Metal: usually very monotonous, unmelodic, with very bad production, and cheaply printed releases.
NSBM: Stands for Nationalist Socialist Black Metal. Is defined by the lyrics, as opposed to music. Lyrics usually deal with various forms of nationalism, racial supremacy, and hate. Often also incorporates such themes as paganism, and the war against Judeo-Christianity.
Folk Black Metal: Any Black Metal with folk melodies or instruments used. Sometimes deals with the same concepts as NSBM.
Viking Black Metal: Any Black Metal with lyrics about vikings. Sometimes uses folk elements.
Symphonic Black Metal: This form of BM is very far from the origins of the genre, often sounding like extreme metal (as opposed to BM), it is uncommon for bands in this category to use an orchestra, or separate orchestral instruments.
Un-Black Metal: Any Black Metal dealing with Christianity (in a positive manner).
Death/Black: There is no uniform definition of that, but basically anything that uses elements of death and black metal together.

There are various less-widespread forms of Black Metal, such as a mixing BM with other styles (Doom, Power, Speed, etc), but it would take too much time to go into such details.
First Wave of Black Metal: (early) Bathory
Second Wave of BM: Darkthrone, Burzum
Black Metal: Darkthrone, Nargaroth
Raw Black Metal: ...Aaaarrghh...,Hate Forest
NSBM: Lutomysl, Absurd (Ger)
Folk BM: Nokturnal Mortum, Finntroll, (late) Isengard (nor).
Viking BM: Ensiferum, (late) Bathory, (late) Isengard (nor).
Symphonic BM: Dimmu Borgir
Un-Black Metal: Antestor
Death/Black Metal: Belphegor, (early) Naglfar (Swe)
by Velvokai May 22, 2005
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black metal is said to derive from Venom, but Venom's "Black metal" has hardly something in common with bm. Black metal is also said to be the darkest and heaviest metal style. The real point is that black metal doesn't really aim to be heavy ( black metal and death metal is surprisingly very often mistakenly defined ) and dark. Bm is one of these metal styles that contain so many substyles that it should be divided into seperate sorts. ex.g. - Finntroll and Darkthrone are put together into the bm family, but there are as different to each other as for example old Anathema and new Anathema. The comprehension of the black metal "generally" style is a matter of knowledge of that sort of music. It's not always quick, primitive riffs playing in 100 repeats, it's not only quick drums with the snare drum on the foreground, and the vocal is not only screech. Black metal is a set of many substyles, and the style is, imo, in the big family of metal the only that can't be really defined. Black metal can be quick, and if it is quick, it's quicker than Thrash/Speed metal. It can be wild, and if it is wild it's wilder than dodecaphony . It can be massive, and if it is, it's heavier, more gloomy, more overwhelming than Death or Doom. The bm style is a quintessence of freedom in the metal music. The only thing that is characteristic from that style is that it has really no special characteristics.
And one thing more: the subject of the lyrics and so-called philosophy that many bm albums contain. It can be pagan, satanistic, socialist, neonazi, thelemic, atheistic etc. etc. But don't look and that, you don't need to be pagan to listen pagan. I'm a christian, and i hate nazizm or socialism, but i love most Drudkh, Hate Forest and Burzum. Don't be too true! Be yourself. Be like black metal - authentic
black metal: Nokturnal Mortum, Immortal, Mayhem, Darkthrone, Gehenna, Menhir
by Soja(Solvavoroth) March 7, 2006
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Black Metal is definitely NOT faggoth hot-topic Cradle of Filth or a band like Dimmu Borgir, whose live shows consist of smoke machines and girls in bondage dancing around. That is called GOTHIC METAL and is for disturbed high schoolers. Please get it right.

Black Metal IS a harsh, noisy offshoot of Thrash Metal based around Satanic ideals and Norse Mythology that came into being in the early 80's in Norway. Black Metal can be dissociated from Thrash Metal by its high-pitched unnatural screams made to sound demonic, its use of Blast Beats (32nd-note snare hits), syncopation, and costume (Corpse Paint, which is black and white make-up used to further enhance the demonic quality and hide the identity of the wearer). Band members also go by fabricated names.

The reason Black Metal revolves around these things is because it opposes the early Norwegian invasion of Christianity (which was brought by their own King Olaf in early A.D., not by missionaries as some think). Black Metal uses a pseudo-Grotesque method to offend society in their live shows, while simultaneously attracting listeners to the cause, with their use of Corpse Paint, blood and gore, and mock crucifixions that some bands put on during live concerts. Some of its scene members have burned churches. It is not a joke, except to some, who would like to pass it off as harmless. This is the REAL difference between a true Black Metaller and a poser.

Black Metal bands use terrible production in their records on purpose, veering away from the direction of society, and ALSO because many bands spend nearly their entire recording budget on cover art and have to do their own recording with inexpensive equipment.

There were a few waves of Black Metal bands, the first including Mayhem and Venom. Mayhem was the most central band to the original Black Metal movement, and a member of Mayhem had the first Black Metal record label based out of a small record store called "Helvete" (Hell). They also established the Inner Circle, a group of Black Metal bands who would organize against Christianity. Within this group, there were power struggles for "who was the most evil" that resulted in several murders of key Black Metallers.

There are a variety of Black Metal subgenres:

- Symphonic Black Metal (Limbonic Art, Sirius, etc)
- Troll Metal (Mortiis, Troll, etc)
- Melodic Black Metal
- Norsecore (Marduk, etc)
- Viking Metal

See Wikipedia if you want an in-depth definition of these genres and their related bands.

While Black Metal had a growing movement in the 90's, after about a decade of popularity, their movement has seriously declined.
Black Metal is Satan, Vikings, Burned Churches, Animal Parts, Crucifixions, Blast Beats, Forests, Trolls, Demons, Noisy Minor Chords, Screaming, you get the idea.
by j. jamz April 23, 2006
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An impressive but pretentious sub-genre of heavy metal, invariably revolving around hackneyed themes of satanism and/or Nordic mythology.
The lyrics are silly, the music is majestic!
by Killing Kittens June 24, 2004
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