Top 10 Bands (morbidly out-of-date)

List as of the end of 2007….

This page is dedicated to the top ten bands worthy of my praise. This list is the product of nearly 3 years into metal, and my journey is still well underway. This list may be updated once or twice a year, depending if any blockade runners make a push for the top. So let’s begin at #1.


Borknagar was my first Black Metal band, which I discovered in Fall of 2005 thanks to a Wikipedia article that mentioned the band because it contained members of Arcturus, who I discovered through the Kovenant, the first band I actually bought an CD from. I bought Quintessence and The Archaic Course on the first of my many CD shopping rituals. Those two albums remain among my favorites of all time from any artist. Borknagar at its core is Norwegian Black Metal, but added to this formula are elements of folk, epic songwriting, and progressive nuances. The band has gone through three vocalists in its history, each combining a rough vocal attack with epic clean singing styles. While no longer with the band, ICS Vortex remains my favorite vocalist of all time, and he serves as my role model. It’s been over two years since I’ve started listening to this band, and it remains at the top of my list to this day.


Limbonic Art

Limbonic Art took me a while to get into. This Norwegian twosome play symphonic black metal with aggressive guitars overlayed with orchestral synthesizers, demonic vocals, and a relentless drum machine attack. Their mid-era opus, Ad Noctum: Dynasty of Death is ranked high on my all-time list, a merciless fusion of all-out power and symphonic majesty. Despite disbanding in 2003, they rose again from the ashes four years later with their latest work, Legacy of Evil, which I will review very soon for this blog.


Emperor needs no introduction to any of you metalheads out there. Not only have these Norwegians purveyed symphonic black metal, they took Black Metal to a whole new level with Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk, which I consider to be objectively the greatest metal album ever written. Later albums by the band saw them progressing into the realms beyond the black metal blueprint, to the point where they now epitomize “extreme symphonic metal”. The band split up in 2001 but have recently reunited to play concerts, one of which I hope to get to before they call it quits for good!


Behemoth was introduced to me through Nick Adams, and since then his interest in them has waned while my appreciation for this band continued to grow. This Polish force of fury boasts quite an evolutionary span, from raw pagan black metal of the mid 90’s, into the turbulence of blackened death, and into the technical, yet murderously melodic brand of death metal that they play today. What impresses me about this band is how they incorporate eastern themes into all their phases of musical development, serving as a refreshing alternative to the Norwegian scene.


Swedish melodic death metallers Hypocrisy is an experience I share with Nick Adams, as it was the band that got us both into extreme metal. Before hearing this band I assumed all death metal to be garbage like Cannibal Corpse. Hypocrisy proved to me that this genre goes way beyond the stereotypes, both musically and lyrically (Hypocrisy’s lyrics are sci-fi based). While they have been dropped a few pegs on my top bands list as I got deeper into metal, they remain nostalgic of my initiation into my life’s passion.


Black Metal meets Industrial/Electronica/Techno and what not in the perfect fusion of styles: an Italian project called Aborym. They are the first band to take the honors for the best album for my first full year into metal, 2006’s Generator. Be sure to check out my review for this album on


Arcturus is a curious way to get into metal. Their avant-garde approach to metal maps a journey from symphonic black metal, to the dark carnival of La Masquerade Infernale, to the brand of “space metal” they coined with their last two efforts. I also owe to this band my discovery of Borknagar, in which Arcturus’ two past vocalists have also sung.


Satyricon, the infamous duo known for founding medieval metal and later redefining “black n’ roll”, have been among my favorites simply for their consistent output of quality albums, from Dark Medieval Times to Now, Diabolical, these guys combine mastery of the guitar and drum kit into every phase of their stylistic evolution.


From Switzerland, Samael are yet another Black Metal band that pushed the envelope and forged unique styles. Beginning as a thrashy underground startup, they adopted industrial themes and created a sound that encompasses the listener and doesn’t let him or her go. At present they can hardly be called Black Metal past the vocals, but the heart of their discography breathes the success of a genre hybrid.


I’m not Lord of the Rings fan, but Summoning is all about LotR, and serve as the Black Metal alternative to bands such as Blind Guardian. These two Austrians blend minimalistic guitar lines with a rich sense of atmosphere dominated by keyboards and samples that place the listener into the land of Middle Earth.


2 Responses to “Top 10 Bands (morbidly out-of-date)”

  1. […] Top 10 Bands – a list of my 10 favorite metal bands with some commentary on each. […]

  2. Nice list. Couldn’t agree more with the Emperor comment… and Borknagar fuckin’ rules.

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