Hi-End for Black Metal?


I am 33 and come from Russia. My passion is heavy music, namely Black Metal. I find it fascinating. I feel like a hermit because those friends of mine which are audiophiles do not like black metal. And those friends which like black metal (actually, play it even in bands!) couldn't care less about high quality audio gear.

Are there any people like me who own hi-fi/hi-end equipment to listen to heavy metal genres?
Everybody loves ACDC - well maybe in moderation - but it is damn near impossible not to like the rockers from downunder - if that is what you mean?

What is "Black Metal"? Can you give some examples? There are plenty of Porcupine Tree and Metallica fans here. I went to see Paparoach, Motley Crue and a few other headbangers recently...but I would not call myself a heavy metal fan.

The bands you mention are found in the 'easy listening' section of the music store.
A lot of the black metal groups have names that are unpronounceable Such as;
Den Saakaldte,
Sorg Innkallelse

Lots of Black Metal bands from Scandinavian Countries.

Cradle of filth...............yer mother would not like it.
Death Metal maybe far to radical for most of the music lovers here (I would imagine).

Try this as a sample, only 9.06 seconds long. Can you
last the duration?.....lol
"Everybody loves ACDC"..."But it is damn near impossible to not like the rockers from downunder".The only thing entertainjng about this band is the schoolboy outfit.That's hilarious in a Benny Hill sort of way.

It was 9:06 minutes long. And no, I could not last the duration. I tried twice. Just couldn't do it.....


I have to go with Shadorne about AC/DC, Casey33.

For rockers, I think that they're one of the best, even the radio DJ's were questioning why it took so long for then to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame.

For musicians, when you really sit down and listen to the way Malcolm and Angus play off of each other, they're even more incredible.

Now that I'm 55, I've mellowed and listen to their older brother, George, a whole lot more than I do them. Is everyone familiar with George's group: "Flash and the Pan"?

Ironmine, I apologize and hope I don't take your thread down the wrong path. Type O Negative is about as hard as I ever went.
i will listen to a little black metal from time to time on my basement system ,ill listen to dimmu borgir,dissection,samael,emporer etc.

if im really in the mood for some metal i like to throw in some old school death metal like six feet under,deicide,cannibal corpse,obituary etc,i just have to be in the right mood for it

i must be getting older because i enjoy artists like lucinda williams,steve earle,hank 3,and emmmylou harris more so than most metal bands these days

I like both early/proto Black Metal and audio equipment but I know I'm in the minority here. I like just a tiny bit of the more well known and newer BM bands but I really love stuff like Venom, Bathory, Celtic Frost, Mercyful Fate, etc. There's a ton of great NWOBHM stuff you should check out to go back even a little further...Witchfynder General, etc.
Synthfreek, you've described my tastes exactly! I don't do much of the new stuff, but listen to the classics all the time. I managed to catch Celtic Frost on the Monotheist tour, just before the breakup. Absolutely stunning show and fantastic album - they were responsible for so much innovation in modern heavy music, the scene still hasn't absorbed all of it. Venom, Bathory, Mercyful Fate - all favorites as well. I am a real big fan of Destruction, Coroner and Bolt Thrower as well, in addition to many others. NWOBHM favorites: Praying Mantis, Samson, and anything Nicky Moore was in (from Tiger to Mammoth).

My system is also horn/tube: Klipsch La Scalas, Quicksilver Horn Monos, Cary SLP-2002, Rega Jupiter 2000, Michell Gyro SE/RB600/Goldring 1042, cabling mostly analysis plus + nordost. A balance of smoothness with enough detail and great dynamics - the combination works really well for metal.
Black Metal is much more extreme than AC/DC. I guess you have to be a certain kind of guy to like this music.

It's good to know that there are people like you who use their hi-end equipment to play heavy music.

I am not into heavy metal only, it's only 50% of what I listen to. But I cannot really understand people who listen to, for example, jazz or blues only. It seems to me boring to always demand from music one type of emotion only. To me, music is like a rainbow and there are many colors (emotions) in it. I need them all - from anger and aggression to love and sadness. One or two colors do not satisfy me.

Most of all, I like complex, dark, symphonic, multi-layered, mysterious, emotionally inhomogeneous Black Metal. Bands like Lunar Aurora, Limbonic Art, Arckanum, Graveworm, etc. Right now I am listening to Watain. This music is like a fog, it comes out of your speakers, engulfs you. It's a touch of the Dark.

And what about Viking Metal? How is it possible not to appreciate the poetics of war, battle fury and nostalgia for ancient times? I cannot understand how you can be a man and not to respond to the message this Music brings...
The link to YouTube is not a typical example of black metal.
Back in the days I was heavily into heavy metal (of all kinds - started with unning Wild and Metallica and Finished with Napalm Death, Deicide, Sepultura, Pantera etc) and now I´m rediscovering in some ways couple of them (e.g just bpught all newly released Metallica). Anyways, if you´re also into nordic folk metal, I have a reference to you - Estonian band Metsatöll. They have also released all albums on vinyl and it all sounds pretty well to my ears (it would qualify as Viking Metal in a way as well, even though Vikings were present only on Estonian islands and not mainland back in the days):

Black Metal is much more extreme than AC/DC. I guess you have to be a certain kind of guy to like this music.

YEah I realized I can't realy help you in your genre - BTO "Not Fragile" is about as far as I ever went - wimpy stuff I know.

FWIW - a good contrast to dark angry music is funk. Funk is happy music - try some and you may be surprised to find your feet tapping, although, it takes a while to sink in or catch the bug. Try some repetition of Maceo Parker Roots and Grooves Live for something exciting and interesting - without the anger.
Ironmine I also listen to some of those bands you like and I have found that revealing speakers, like Thiel are great for listneing into the depths of what are usually highly compressed recordings of that genre. Also, bass is usually relegated to the mid to upper bass levels, with the bass drum carrying most of the bottom and for that solid state amps that are quick work well. Having said that I recently listed to Lamb Of God with my tube system and I was pleased with the sound. All in all, a revealing system is what you want for metal, speed, hardcore, black and death.
I never realized that there was such a thing as "black metal", but sure enough, it appears to be a very well defined genre. I've heard some "Meshuggah" in my day , but even that does not qualify it seems (I think that is more "death metal"). Porcupine Tree, one of my more recent favs, they would be considered more progressive metal I think...they tend to operate in multiple gears from the highly melodic and psychodelic, aka early Floyd, to near death metal at times, particularly in their more recent work. I find the ultra metal stuff to be more effective and interesting when juxtaposed against more melodic themes within a single composition. I'm very much into the philosophy of ying and yang and like the prog metal groups like Porcupine Tree who know how to mix it up.

I would agree that revealing speakers like Thiel would probably work very well for metal in general.
'Axis of perdition' is not that radical. John Cage is radical. This is b level horror film soundtrack.
Who's never seen Metal: A Headbanger's Journey? Good documentary with a funny section on Black Metal.
I used to say that I appreciated all genres of music. That was before RAP. Now, after hearing "black metal" I know of two genres of music that I prefer opera over....
Thanks for recommending Metsatöll, I'll check them out. I liked how they were reviewed on metal-archives.com

I will try to find Maceo Parker Roots and Grooves Live and listen to them.

When you wrote "listening into the depths of what are usually highly compressed recordings of that genre", you rubbed salt into my wounded ears, because you cannot imagine my frustration over the fact that more and more metal bands fall victims to Loudness Wars. Some metal albums are plain unlistenable on hi-fi rigs. It's even more grievous that most metal fans simply do not understand you when you start complaining about the narrow dynamic range of metal releases. Here's an example: www.panzerbattalion.se/showthread.php?t=1133 I started that thread to voice my dissatisfation with the sound recording quality of otherwise great band - Sabaton. And just look what happened...

I didn't say that "Axis of perdition" was not *radical*. They might be radical, for sure they are, but will you agree that this band can hardly be called a *typical* representative of BM?

I wonder what my neighbors think when I listen first to Insomnium "2002 - In The Halls Of Awaiting" followed by Eva Cassidy "1998 - Songbird"? But what can I do? I like all emotions in music, as long as they are expressed in a talented and sincere manner...
you will be truly loved on Audiogon if you start quoting all the figures below, as you did on the panzerbattalion site.

'Ok, let's take 3 tracks. According to SoundForge:
02 - Ghost Division.wav Peak value = 0 dB, RMS = -4.2 dB.
03 - The Art of War.wav Peak value = 0 dB, RMS = -5.6 dB.
05 - Unbreakable.wav Peak value = 0 dB, RMS = -6.0 dB.

Now, if the peak (maximum) value is 0 db and RMS value is -4,2 dB, it means that the dynamic range is 8.4 dB. The other tracks, accordingly, are 11.2 dB and 12 dB.

Well, if you like to listen to 8.4 - 12 dB dynamic range, then good luck to you... As for me, I treat such sound production as crappy, highly unprofessional and lacking respect to me as a listener...

Bye, my non-audiophilic friend... '

A response from a member with regard to your post on panzerbattalion to you;

'I have had no such problems with The Art of War. So either your speakers/ears are broken, or you might have been fucked over while buying it'.

What equipment do you use that causes you such angst?

I do not think it was a contest as to who is the most 'radical'.I have to admit that Mr Cage certainly takes the biscuit by composing a piece of music 4.33 where there is not a note being played, only silence for 4.33sec.I wonder how long it took him to compose. Must look out for the manuscript.
For those unfamiliar with it for your delight and entertainment here is the link.


I have the following equipment:
DAC: April Music Stello DA100
Pre-amp: April Music Stello HP100
Amp: NAD C320BEE (I use the power section only)
Speakers: Acoustic Energy Aegis Evo Three

I understand that it's far from being super hi-end, but I do not belong to the category of "New Russians" (nouveau riche). I live 6000 kms away from Moscow in the place where - ok, where it's hard to be an audiophile.

You ask me what caused my angst. Well, don't you find it exasperating when you get an album by one of your favorite bands only to find it to be just another totally unlistenable victim of Loudness Wars, you log in to the band's forum hoping that other fans of this band share your indignation at how your favorite music was mutilated by sound producers. But instead of the collective support you find either the absolute incomprehension, or attempts to defend the squashed dynamics.

When I listen to some heavy metal albums (BM included), which have fallen prey to Loudness Wars, I feel robbed of something very important which the musicians tried to bring to me, but it never made its way to me, because of the interference of studio men. They stole it. Threw it away. It wasn't considered important by them. Arghhh!!! I almost visualize the strangled sine waveforms, which, as they oscillate in a ridiculously narrow range left to them, choke and strive for BREATHING, throbbing against the zero dB ceiling. Like a fish dying under the ice of the lack of oxygen...
Couldn't agree with you more. I honestly tried to listen to that estonian band linked here, as well, as many examples of the genre, that my nephew and his friend tried to feed me with- it all sounds utterly the same, low quality of musicianship, lack of musical ideas. Attempt to remain within the boundaries (which are pretty narrow to begin with) of the genre, really hurts the creativity process.
It all sounds forced, artificial and anti- intellectual to me.
The other aspect is the growling of the lead vocalist- is that suppose to convey angst or other strong emotions?
If that's the case, the genre totally failed to employ more subtle and musical ques to do the same, another evidence of the low quality. If your arsenal is growling, high speed guitar playing and lack of any resemblance to melody and rythm, then you're preaching to a very specific type of listener. Being at a few rock shows, I can easily picture the type- majority couln't have care less about the music, it is all about release of emotions in very negative and violent way.
Even my nephew, who listens to nothing else, but metal, said "that's it for me", after attending "Iced Earth" show.
To me, the whole genre has a strong flavor of immaturity, unprofessionalism and lack of musical virtues.
At a risk of making overgeneralized statement, the same goes for rap, as well.
And, BTW, I'm absolutely with Shadorne on AC/DC- recordings and life show- one of the best, I ever attended, minus the crowds.
i am in no way into black metal much more, but as regards musicianship in metsatöll, the key figure behind it is highly qualified musician and a multi-instrumentalist - a student of Veljo Tormis and by his own words a probable successor of his job (you are right about vocal qualities i guess though, but metal bands hardly have huge vocal talents in front). i also hope they will improve with Sony now, but won´t lose their distinctive sound. but i guess it is also a matter of taste and you seem to be in a bit wrong thread. some people hardly thought anything of jazz back in the days. i happen to like hiphop as well (also linked to youth), quite possibly because of some of it´s energy not necessarily because of musicianship.
I've made a very general statement, and I'm sure, there are an exceptions. I can't claim I've heard everything out there, but there is a saying to that effect:" One doesn't need to drink the whole ocean to understand it's salty".
Also, there are some good voices in the hard rock/metal- Bruce Dickinson, Dio, James Hetfield come to mind immediately.
Growling- no, thank you very much sir, I'll pass.
Ironmine: I don't heard black metal at all in Axis of Perdition. Sounds like dark ambient to me, more like 'Null', which I like. However I would not put it up there with Schoenberg or Berio! Now that's radical.
03-15-09: Maril555,
I disagree with most of what you say in your thread.
What has the hell has intellect got to do with creating music?

Sheer balderdash.
I agree re AC/DC. I don't own any of their music and would never buy it, but when it comes on the radio I have to CRANK IT! Back in Black came out when I was in high school, so I guess there's a bit of nostalgia involved.
There is some nicely recorded AC/DC stuff.

I disagree with most of what you say in your thread.
What has the hell has intellect got to do with creating music?
Sheer balderdash.
I always felt, that a connection was quite clear.
"balderdash"- that's a new one, never heard it before
Mapman- good to see you on this thread.

For myself, I have a hard time with Black Metal. I want to like it, but most of it that I've heard is pretty bad.

Map- Porcupine Tree flirts with metal as much as they do with Pink Floyd and King Crimson. If you like Steven Wilson and Porcupine Tree, then check out the Opeth albums "Blackwater Park" and "Deliverance" Wilson produced both, and plays on them a bit.

Death to False Metal (just kidding)

I listen to all kinds of Heavy Metal from Accept to Zoetrope on my high-end system, but not black or death metal
I very recently stumbled across (your mother would not like it) Canadian metal band called 'The Agonist' their album 'Only Once Imagined', I think its really good, the male singer sings all the gruffly vocal stuff, but they also have a female singer who sounds similar to the singer In Evanescence, an interesting vocal combination.
I also don't like crowds which attend rock shows. Even though I like rock music, I would like to distance myself from people who typically visit such events. Rock is all about girls, beer, having fun, love, etc. But Black Metal is different. Guys who play black metal for non-commercial reasons are also different. BM is more than music. Listen to the best examples of BM has to offer: for example, Immortal "Sons of Northern Darkness" (2002) or Darkthrone "A Blaze In The Northern Sky" (1992) or Satyricon "Nemesis Divina" (1996) or Emperor "In the Nightside Eclipse" (1994). If something does not click in your soul, then I give up on you :)
I'll give it a try. Not keeping my hopes high, though.
Michael Jackson must be brainier than Einstein then because his music has sold 750 million albums.
Then again, did he not dangle his young infant sibling over the balcony on the 2nd floor of a hotel once?
Intelligence and music? Poppycock!

I think those that do not like crowds at rock gigs are showing their ages. Pipe and slippers for you lot then! lol.
Just honestly did- it's official, you should give up on me.
Do you drink blood for breakfast? Are you 14 y/o?
Are you serious??? For real, for real?
another great one- Poppycock.
And who again mentioned sales? I lost you there.
I'm happy for you, that Black Metal is all you need to satisfy your intellectual needs. Really.
BTW, age has nothing to do with it, and I'm just 15 y/o.
Have no idea what to recommend - but I love the idea of a high end system for Black Metal!
The function of music is not to satisfy intellectual needs. It is a form of Art, its purpose is to appeal to your senses or emotions. Transcend the Reality. The meaning of Art is aesthetic, not intellectual. Black Metal does it. It's the music of the North. When I listen to it, I think of its grim gray landscapes covered with ice and snow, dark silent woods and immense cold spaces undisturbed by man, people who lived there in the past, the Norse mythology they believed, the dramatic life they led, the code of life they followed. The beauty of it all takes my breath away.
Ironmine- what you described in your last post is a perfect description of the band Agolloch. If you have not heard them, you owe it to yourself to do so.

By the way- without the intellect, there can be no aesthetic appreciation. They are not contradictory things, but synergistic. Leave to a Black Metal thread to evolve into a philospohical discussion- but one that has been covered very nicely by Aristotle, Kant and well...just about every philosopher since we first made marks on caves.

I have Agalloch albums. It's great.
I agree with you on the function of music, but the means of evoking the emotions are different for different people, and that's where listeners intellect comes into play, or it doesn't. It's just a conduit to our emotions.
I couldn't have said it better, than Parasound63
I don't think you would argue, that experiencing positive emotions from listening to Britney Spears vs. Mozart involves very different types of personality, hence intellect.
I'm happy, that Black metal helps you to have your emotional experiences. I cannot possibly claim the same- I experience nothing, but a repulsion. You sound like a very reasonable and well educated individual, and your affection with the genre double puzzles me.
As a side note- I respect complexity, talent and musicianship of Yes, and I've been to their concert (with Rick Wakeman), but I could never connect emotionally to their music neither.
Black Metal, though is a whole different story... But let me stop here.
" I respect complexity, talent and musicianship of Yes, and I've been to their concert (with Rick Wakeman), but I could never connect emotionally to their music neither."

Yeah, Yes' lyrics are not the most accessible and easy to relate to in general, though their musicianship is outstanding. And you'll see very few chicks at a Yes concert these days.

"Gates of Delirium" from Relayer is one exception to this for me though, especially at the transition to the "Soon" final segment. That transition from musical chaos and tribal warfare mode to the spiritual calm after the storm in Jon Anderson's voice here is powerful enough to instinctively register with many apparently from what I have read of listener reaction to it. One of the "classic" and most instinctivly accessible moments in all of progressive rock IMHO, at least for guys.

Towards the more modern metal camp, Porcupine Tree and Stephen Wilson in particular is a group/artist that in particular knows how to regularly run the gamut from metal extremes to the soothing calm afterwards. That's much of what I like about PT.

I don't find perpetual ongoing anger and chaos to be appealing, personally, but that's just me. I love it though when an artist knows how to run the gamut though. Its a ying and yang, dark and light, kind of thing that just registers with me personally.
I like everything from classical Mahler to things like Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Tankard etc., Also some industrial like Strapping Young Lad, Ministry and things like that. My system doesn't care whether it plays a symphony orchestra or heavily distorted guitars: it just gets up and goes.

I would like to continue probing the depth of your repulsion of heavy music :)

Do you like Savatage? It's progressive rock, heavy but complex and very dynamic. Lyrics are not stupid, either.
It's not heavy music, that is repulsive to me. I listen
to everything: Metallica, Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson, Gov't Mule, Tool, Led Zeppelin, etc., among others.
It's this particular genre, that I can't relate to.
No, I didn't hear Savatage.
Black Metal on Audiogon forum(What is the world coming to?)..For anyone remotely interested, check Arcturus "La masquerade InfernAle", Kovenant" Nexus Polaris"...just short example of what Black Metal musicians are capable of..