The ten best Norwegian metal bands
Dimmu Borgir, circa 2001.
Sweden is to death metal what Norway is to black metal. Norway's sixth sense for finding black metal with the right amount of heavy guitar distortion, banshee shrieking vocals and an unrefined recording quality gives them a black flame kick that fuels the fire of many metal fans. Keep reading for the ten best Norwegian metal bands.
See also: The ten best Swedish metal bands
It's hard to believe that one of the leading Norwegian black metal bands in the '90s such as Darkthrone actually got its start in death metal, but it did, and the band didn't make the change because they sucked at it. Quite the contrary. The outfit could've succeeded in either subgenre. Darkthrone has a much more lo-fi sound than the average black metal band, which goes hand in hand with its evil vicious shrieks.
Enslaved started out as a very traditional black metal band, gradually adopting a more progressive and even innovative sound while striving to be grand and atmospheric. The act's lyrics have always charted new lands full of Norse mythology with some lyrics even in Icelandic and Old Norse languages -- though today, the band primarily write lyrics in English. Enslaved's newer progressive sound can throw off those who seek consistent aggression, but the group balances harsh and clean vocals better than most.
Just like its name may suggest, Funeral is a pioneer of the subgenre funeral doom metal, which creates an atmosphere deep in the depths of despair with decomposing slow tempos, dark, ambient synth sounds and chants mixed in with Cookie Monster vocals. Funeral's eptiaph should read: "Twas one of the first bands to incorporate orchestration and female vocals. Here lies the beloved forefathers of funeral doom metal."
Instead of a drastic change, Immortal grew slowly as musicians while keeping their black metal raw and heavy. With faces painted like most black metal bands -- more than the goth kid in high school and less than a Halloween costume -- Immortal strayed from its subgenre's propensity for satanic lyrics and church burnings. In its place, the band capitalized on the emotion and isolation of barren Norway with a mythical world of its own, "Blashyrkh," full of icy-cold death, demons and warfare.