Metal 101

 Black metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. Common traits include fast tempos, shrieked vocals, highly distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, blast beat drumming, raw recording and unconventional song structures.

During the 1980s, several thrash metal and death metal bands formed a prototype for black metal. This so-called "first wave" included bands such as Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer and Celtic Frost. A "second wave" arose in the early 1990s, spearheaded by Norwegian bands such as Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone, Immortal and Emperor. The early Norwegian black metal scene developed the style of their forebears into a distinct genre. Norwegian-inspired black metal scenes emerged throughout Europe and North America, although some other scenes developed their own styles independently.

Initially a synonym for "Satanic metal", black metal is often met with hostility from mainstream culture. Many artists express extreme anti-Christian and misanthropic views, and several of the genre's "second wave" pioneers have been convicted for church burnings and murder.

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