If we like to discover the top 10 Norwegian black metal albums of all time, let us go back to the 1980s when black metal originated in Europe. What sets it apart from the other genre is its low-fi production, the shriek or scream, and the blast-beat drums. Many describe the British heavy metal band Venom, the pioneer of black metal, due to their 1982 album Black Metal.
In the early black metal scene known as the first wave, we see the rise of the Swedish band like Bathory, Dissection, Swiss bands like Celtic Frost, Hellhammer, Samael, Denmark’s Mercyful Fate, Canadian band Blasphemy, and many more.
The second wave that ravel during the early ’90s got more extreme with the Satanism theme, paint corpse, and opposite Christianity beliefs. After Mayhem’s vocalist Dead (Per Yngve Ohlin’s) suicide in 1991, people became more aware of the black metal scene, says Mayhem guitarist Necrobutcher in his interview with The True Mayhem.
Moreover, the Norwegian black metal scene attracted mass media attention due to church arson, murders, and satanism. It took no time for the underground scene to reach the public after Burzum’s Varg Vikernes murdered Mayhem’s Eurynomous in August 1993.
Norwegian black metal albums will blow up your mind with their low-fi sound, raspy vocal, speedy drums, and heavily distorted guitars with their own signature style.
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Top 10 Norwegian Black Metal Albums
10) The Shadowthrone (Satyricon)
Released on 12 September 1994, The Shadowthrone album by Satyricon features seven tracks. It is the second studio album after Dark Medieval Times. Just listen to its atmospheric grim, blast beats, and distortions and enjoy the Nordic touch. Founding member of Satyricon, Satyr wrote all the tracks himself. Darkthrone’s Fenriz once jokingly suggested the track Hvite Krists Død be the Norwegian Black Metal national anthem.
9) In The Nightside Eclipse (Emperor)
The first studio album by Emperor, In The Nightside Eclipse, contains nine-track which influenced the symphonic black metal scene. It was initially released on 21 February 1994 under the record label Candlelight Records. The fast tremolo guitar and the symphonic lo-fi sound on the original release give a deep melancholic vibe. The album was reissued in 1999 that featured the covers of Bathory’s A Fine Day to Die and Mercyful Fate’s Gypsy.
8) Pentagram (Gorgoroth)
The debut album by Gorgoroth, Embassy Productions released the album in October 1994. It consists of eight tracks in which Emperor’s Samoth played bass guitar. The immense riffs with subtle high pitch vocals of Hat and grinding march sounds has a full melodic tremolo with fast and vicious blast beats. The album which consists of the pure Norwegian black metal sound was reissued eight times in 1996 (two times), 1999, 2005 (two times), 2006, 2007, and 2016.
7) Pure Holocaust (Immortal)
Immortal’s Pure Holocaust, released via Osmose Productions in November 1993, features Abbath’s Olve Eikemo on drums. This album consisting of eight tracks is the second album of Immortal. The track on this album appears to unleash an ice-cold storm with the lyrics based on ice and snow landscapes. The cold and fast riffs are way more brutal and give the cold atmospheric feeling. Easily, it’s one of the best stuff released by Immortal to this date.
6) Transilvanian Hunger (Darkthrone)
One of the classic and best albums by Darkthrone, Transilvanian Hunger is not for the faint heart. It features pitch black and atmospheric lo-fi sound that is even colder. Released in February 1994 via Peaceville Records, Fenriz and Nocturno Culto record the eight tracks following Zephyrous’s departure from Darkthrone. Described as the minimalistic pure black metal sound, yet a true masterpiece, Burzum’s Varg Vikernes contribute to the lyrics in the four tracks.
5) Hvis Lyset Tar Oss (Burzum)
Recorded in September 1992 by Varg Vikernes, Hvis Lyset Tar Oss is the third album of Burzum released in April 1994. The four tracks dedicated to Darkthrone’s Fenriz and Immortal’s Demonaz blends with the dark ambiance and minimalistic sounds. Considered as the first atmospheric black metal, Hvis Lyset Tar Oss (translated as If the Light Takes Us) sounds grimmer. Ironically, it renders the unique sound that amplifies the cold ambiance build within the tracks.
4) Under a Funeral Moon (Darkthrone)
Yet another album by Darkthrone, Under a Funeral Moon, features Zephyrous on guitar for the tracks Unholy Black Metal and Inn i de dype skogers favn. The album released in June 1993 and rereleased in 2003 by Peaceville Records contains eight tracks. Inspired by the ’80s, the uncanny organic sound is the war against the modern sound, as noted by Fenriz in his MySpace interview. The cold riffs and the perfect atmosphere is quite minimalistic, which Fenriz and Nocturno Culto cemented through their aesthetics.
3) De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (Mayhem)
One of the most influential Norwegian black metal albums ever, De Mysterris Dom Sathanas, was released in May 1994 via Deathlike Silence Productions. It features Varg Vikernes on bass guitar, Attila Csihar on vocals, while Dead contributed to the lyrics. The aesthetics of the production is quite commendable, and this album brings Norwegian black metal into the spotlight. De Mysterris Dom Sathanas is one of the classic black metal and controversial albums, impossible to discuss without mentioning church arson, murder, and suicide.
2) Filosofem (Burzum)
Released in January 1996 by Burzum, the album Filosofem is one of the unique albums black metal has ever produced. Varg Vikernes recorded this album in bad conditions to retain extreme lo-fi sounds. Varg recorded the vocals with the worst microphone. It consists of six tracks which contain the only video by Burzum, Dunkelheit. The repetitive ambient piece is quite hypnotic and chaotic and is built across the densely atmospheric soundscapes. It falls on #2 of the top 10 Norwegian black metal albums of all time.
1) A Blaze In The Northern Sky (Darkthrone)
One of the greatest black metal albums of all time, A Blaze In The Northern Sky, is the second studio album by Darkthrone released by Peaceville Records in February 1992. It easily falls on the #1 of the top 10 Norwegian black metal albums list due to its menacing riff and grim raspy vocals. Peaceville initially refused to release this album due to Darkthrone’s sudden transition from death metal to black metal. Eventually, Peaceville agreed after the band threatened to release A Blaze In The Northern Sky under Deathlike Silence Productions.