music The Greatest Black Metal Bands

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List Rules Upvote your favorite black metal groups.

Known for fast tempos, shrieking vocals, distorted guitars and lo-fi recordings, black metal has emerged as one of the top heavy metal genres. Similarly to avant garde metal bands, black metal bands also feature unconventional song structures and lyrical emphasis on atmosphere. What does make black metal bands different than every other heavy metal band is that the band often will appear in corpse paint that looks like blood. A lot of the best black metal bands emerged in the first wave of black metal bands are still among the most beloved and most popular black metal bands. The genre originated in the 1980s and became associated with satanism and anti-religion lyrics.

So, what are the best black metal bands? Well for starters, any black metal bands list has to include the likes of Mayhem, Darkthrone, Burzum, Marduk and Deafheaven. Mixing black metal bands old and new, this list of black metal bands includes every great black metal band to have ever played. These are widely considered some of the top black metal bands. 

That said, it's up to you to decide what are the best black metal bands. If you notice a black metal band that isn't on this list, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best black metal bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest black metal musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular black metal bands that you might've heard of (259 items)

1
+ - 189 63
Darkthrone is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Darkthrone Crossover thrash, Black metal Crust punk

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2
+ - 170 68
Bathory is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Bathory Thrash metal, Viking metal Black metal

3
+ - 175 71
Mayhem is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Mayhem Black metal, Heavy metal

4
+ - 180 72
Immortal is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Immortal Thrash metal, Black metal Heavy metal

5
+ - 164 77
Gorgoroth is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Gorgoroth Black metal, Heavy metal

6
+ - 186 92
Behemoth is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Behemoth Thrash metal, Technical death metal Black metal

7
+ - 153 68
Emperor is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Emperor Progressive metal, Symphonic black metal Black metal

8
+ - 177 85
Burzum is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Burzum Dark ambient, Black ambient Black metal

9
+ - 141 55
Dark Funeral is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Dark Funeral Thrash metal, Black metal Heavy metal

10
+ - 133 58
Marduk is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Marduk Black metal, Heavy metal Blackened death metal

11
+ - 126 63
Satyricon is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Satyricon Medieval music, Medieval metal Thrash metal

12
+ - 119 54
Celtic Frost is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Celtic Frost Doom metal, Glam metal Thrash metal

13
+ - 105 57
Venom is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Venom New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal Black metal

14
+ - 43 20
Dimmu Borgir is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Dimmu Borgir Symphonic black metal, Gothic metal Black metal

15
+ - 100 57
1349 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
1349 Black metal, Heavy metal

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16
+ - 108 60
Enslaved is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Enslaved Progressive metal, Viking metal Black metal

17
+ - 84 47
Taake is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Taake Viking metal, Black metal Heavy metal

18
+ - 60 34
Dissection is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Dissection Melodic death metal, Black metal Heavy metal

19
+ - 89 59
Watain is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Watain Thrash metal, Black metal Heavy metal

20
+ - 72 46
Rotting Christ is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Rotting Christ Gothic metal, Black metal Heavy metal

21
+ - 62 39
Ulver is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Ulver Folk music, Electronic music Gothic metal

22
+ - 64 41
Carpathian Forest is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Carpathian Forest Black metal, Heavy metal

23
+ - 71 43
Old Man's Child is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Old Man's Child Symphonic black metal, Black metal Heavy metal

24
+ - 51 31
Windir is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Windir Viking metal, Black metal Heavy metal

25
+ - 46 28
Cradle of Filth is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Cradle of Filth Gothic metal, Heavy metal Extreme metal

26
+ - 30 14
Borknagar is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Borknagar Progressive metal, Viking metal Black metal

27
+ - 51 34
Ancient is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Ancient Black metal, Heavy metal Melodic black metal

28
+ - 40 28
Helhammer is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands

29
+ - 36 21
Arcturus is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Arcturus Progressive metal, Symphonic black metal Black metal

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30
+ - 59 48
Belphegor is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Belphegor Black metal, Blackened death metal Death metal

31
+ - 43 30
Anaal Nathrakh is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Anaal Nathrakh Industrial metal, Technical death metal Black metal

32
+ - 36 24
Leviathan is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Leviathan Dark ambient, Black metal Heavy metal

33
+ - 56 44
Agalloch is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Agalloch Doom metal, Post-metal Dark ambient

34
+ - 34 23
Mgła is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Mgła Black metal

35
+ - 79 72
Mercyful Fate is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Mercyful Fate Doom metal, Thrash metal Progressive metal

36
+ - 34 19
Naglfar is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Naglfar Black metal, Heavy metal Blackened death metal

37
+ - 42 34
Xasthur is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Xasthur Dark ambient, Black ambient Black metal

38
+ - 32 19
Hecate Enthroned is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Hecate Enthroned Symphonic black metal, Black metal Heavy metal

39
+ - 76 74
King Diamond is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
King Diamond Thrash metal, Progressive metal Black metal

40
+ - 25 13
Ragnarok is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Ragnarok Black metal

41
+ - 18 14
Katatonia is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Katatonia Doom metal, Death-doom Gothic rock

42
+ - 42 40
Samael is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Samael Symphonic black metal, Industrial metal Electronic music

43
+ - 35 29
Shining is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Shining Black metal, Heavy metal

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44
+ - 33 22
Behexen is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Behexen Black metal

45
+ - 39 28
Summoning is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Summoning Black metal, Heavy metal Symphonic metal

46
+ - 44 39
Wolves in the Throne Room is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Wolves in the Throne Room Doom metal, Dark ambient Black metal

47
+ - 32 28
Enthroned is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Enthroned Black metal

48
+ - 33 25
Nargaroth is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Nargaroth Black metal

49
+ - 31 23
Tsjuder is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Tsjuder Black metal, Heavy metal

50
+ - 37 35
Drudkh is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Metal Bands
Drudkh Doom metal, Black metal Heavy metal