Regarding the sound of black metal, there are two conflicting groups within the genre: "those that stay true to the genre's roots, and those that introduce progressive elements".The former believe that the music should always be minimalist—performed only with the standard guitar-bass-drums setup and recorded in a low fidelity style. One supporter of this train of thought is Blake Judd of Nachtmystium, who has rejected labeling his band black metal for its departure from the genre's typical sound.Snorre Ruch of Thorns, on the other hand, has said that modern black metal is "too narrow" and believes that this was "not the idea at the beginning".
Since the 1990s, different styles of black metal have emerged and some have melded Norwegian-style black metal with other genres:
Ambient black metal:Ambient black metal is a style of black metal which relies on heavy incorporation of atmospheric, sometimes dreamy textures, and is therefore less aggressive. It often features synthesizers or classical instrumentation, typically for melody or ethereal "shimmering" over the wall of sound provided by the guitars. The music is usually slow to mid paced with rare blast beat usage, without any abrupt changes and generally features slowly developing, sometimes repetitive melodies and riffs, which separate it from other black metal styles. Subject matter usually concerns nature, folklore, mythology, and personal introspection. Artists include Agalloch and Wolves in the Throne Room.
Black-doom:Black-doom, also known as blackened doom, is a style that combines the slowness and thicker, bassier sound of doom metal with the shrieking vocals and heavily distorted guitar sound of black metal.Black-doom bands maintain the Satanic ideology associated with black metal, while melding it with moodier themes more related to doom metal, like depression, nihilism and nature. They also use the slower pace of doom metal in order to emphasize the harsh atmosphere present in black metal. Examples of black-doom bands include Barathrum,Forgotten Tomb, Woods of Ypres, Deinonychus,Shining,Nortt,Bethlehem, early Katatonia. Tiamat, Dolorian,and October Tide.
Depressive suicidal black metal:Pioneered by black-doom bands like Opthalamia, Katatonia, Bethlehem, Forgotten Tomb and Shining, depressive suicidal black metal, also known as suicidal black metal, depressive black metal or DSBM, is a style that melds the second wave-style of black metal with doom metal, with lyrics revolving around themes such as depression, self-harm, misanthropy, suicide and death. DSBM bands draws the lo-fi recording and highly distorted guitars of black metal, while employing the usage of acoustic instruments and non-distorted electric guitar's timbres present in doom metal, interchanging the slower, doom-like, sections with faster tremolo picking.Vocals are usually high-pitched like in black metal, but lacking of energy, simulating feelings like hopelessness, desperation and plea.The presence of one-man bands is more prominent in this genre compared to others. Examples of bands include Xasthur, Leviathan, Strid, Silencer, Make a Change… Kill Yourself,and I Shalt Become.
Black 'n' roll:Black 'n' roll is a style of black metal that incorporates elements from 1970s hard rock and rock and roll music.Examples of black 'n' roll bands include Kvelertak, Vreid, and Khold.Bands such as Satyricon,Darkthrone,Nachtmystium, Nidingr,Craft, and Sarke also experimented with the genre.
Blackened crust:Crust punk groups, such as Antisect, Sacrilege and Anti System took some influence from early black metal bands like Venom, Hellhammer, and Celtic Frost, while Amebix's lead vocalist and guitarist sent his band's early demo tape to Cronos of Venom, who replied by saying "We’ll rip you off." Similarly, Bathory was initially inspired by crust punk as well as heavy metal. Crust punk was affected by a second wave of black metal in the 1990s, with some bands emphasizing these black metal elements. Iskra are probably the most obvious example of second wave black metal-influenced crust punk; Iskra coined their own phrase "blackened crust" to describe their new style. The Japanese group Gallhammer also fused crust punk with black metal while the English band Fukpig has been said to have elements of crust punk, black metal, and grindcore.North Carolina's Young and in the Way have been playing blackened crust since their formation in 2009. In addition, Norwegian band Darkthrone have incorporated crust punk traits in their more recent material. As Daniel Ekeroth wrote in 2008,
In a very ironic paradox, black metal and crust punk have recently started to embrace one another. Members of Darkthrone and Satyricon have lately claimed that they love punk, while among crusties, black metal is the latest fashion. In fact, the latest album by crust punk band Skitsystem sounds very black metal--while the latest black metal opus by Darkthrone sounds very punk! This would have been unimaginable in the early 90s.
Blackened death-doom:Blackened death-doom is a genre that combines the slow tempos and monolithic drumming of doom metal, the complex and loud riffage of death metal and the shrieking vocals of black metal.Examples of blackened death-doom bands include Morast, Faustcoven, The Ruins of Beverast, Bolzer, Necros Christos,Harvest Gulgaltha, Dragged Into Sunlight,Hands of Thieves, and Soulburn.
Blackened death metal:Blackened death metal is commonly death metal that incorporates musical, lyrical or ideological elements of black metal, such as an increased use of tremolo picking, anti-Christian or Satanic lyrical themes and chord progressions similar to those used in black metal.Blackened death metal bands are also more likely to wear corpse paint and suits of armour, than bands from other styles of death metal.Lower range guitar tunings, death growls and abrupt tempo changes are common in the genre.Examples of blackened death metal bands are Belphegor, Behemoth, Akercocke, and Sacramentum.
Melodic black-death:Melodic black-death (also known as blackened melodic death metal or melodic blackened death metal) is a genre of extreme metal that describes the style created when melodic death metal bands began being inspired by black metal and European romanticism. However, unlike most other black metal, this take on the genre would incorporate an increased sense of melody and narrative. Some bands who have played this style include Dissection, Sacramentum, Embraced, Naglfar,Satariel,Throes of Dawn,Obscurity,Dawn, Cries of the Past-era Underoath, Catamenia,Midvinter,Twin Obscenity, Nokturnal Mortum, Unanimated, Epoch of Unlight, This Ending,Suidakra, Oathean, Thulcandra, Skeletonwitch, and Cardinal Sin.
War metal:War metal (also known as war black metal or bestial black metal) is an aggressive, cacophonous, and chaotic subgenre of blackened death metal,described by Rock Hard journalist Wolf-Rüdiger Mühlmann as "rabid" and "hammering".Important influences include early black and death metal bands, such as Sodom,Possessed,Autopsy,Sarcófago, and the first two Sepultura releases, as well as seminal grindcore acts like Repulsion. War metal bands include Blasphemy,Archgoat, Impiety,In Battle, Beherit, Crimson Thorn,Bestial Warlust, and Zyklon-B.
Blackened grindcore:Blackened grindcore is a fusion genre that combines elements of black metal and grindcore.Notable bands include Vomit Fist, Dendritic Arbor, Sunlight's Bane,Scumpulse,Malevich, Absvrdist, and early Rotting Christ.
Blackened thrash metal:Blackened thrash metal, also known as black-thrash, is a fusion genre that combines elements of black metal and thrash metal. Being considered as one of the first fusions of extreme metal, it was inspired by bands such as Venom, Sodom, and Sarcófago.Notable bands include Aura Noir, Witchery,Black Fast, Sathanas, and Deströyer 666.
Folk black metal, pagan metal, and Viking metal:Folk black metal, pagan metal and Viking metal are styles that incorporates elements of folk music, with pagan metal bands focusing on pagan lyrics and imagery,and Viking metal bands giving thematic focus on Norse mythology, Norse paganism, and the Viking Age, more influenced by Nordic folk music. While not focused on Satanism, the bands' use of ancient folklore and mythologies still express anti-Christian views, with folk black metal doing it as part of a "rebellion to the status quo", that developed concurrently along with the rise of folk metal in Europe in the 1990s,Notable artist include Negură Bunget, Windir,Primordial,In the Woods..., Cruachan, and Bathory.
Industrial black metal:Industrial black metal is a style of black metal that incorporates elements of industrial music. Mysticum, formed in 1991, was the first of these groups. DHG (Dødheimsgard), Thorns from Norway and Blut Aus Nord, N.K.V.D. and Blacklodge from France, have been acclaimed for their incorporation of industrial elements.Other industrial black metal musicians include Samael,The Axis of Perdition, Aborym,and ...And Oceans. In addition, The Kovenant,Mortiis and Ulver emerged from the Norwegian black metal scene, but later chose to experiment with industrial music.
Post-black metal:Post-black metal is an umbrella term for genres that experiments beyond black metal's conventions and broadened their sounds, evolving past the genre's limits.Notable bands include Myrkur,Alcest, Bosse-de-Nage, and Wildernessking.
Blackgaze :Blackgaze incorporates common black metal and post-black metal elements such as blast beat drumming and high-pitched screamed vocals with the melodic and heavily distorted guitar styles typically associated with shoegazing.It is associated with bands such as Deafheaven, Alcest, Vaura, Amesoeurs, Bosse-de-Nage,Oathbreaker, and Fen.
Psychedelic black metal:Psychedelic black metal is a subgenre of black metal which employs the usage of psychedelic elements.Notable acts include Oranssi Pazuzu, Nachtmystium,Deafheaven,Woe, Amesoeurs, and In the Woods....
Symphonic black meatl:Symphonic black metal is a style of black metal that incorporates symphonic and orchestral elements. This may include the usage of instruments found in symphony orchestras (piano, violin, cello, flute and keyboards), "clean" or operatic vocals and guitars with less distortion.