Best Black Metal Albums of 2023
Undertaking the task of ranking the best black metal albums of 2023 is truly exciting. In the midst of a multitude of album releases, this year has proven to be groundbreaking for the genre, captivating not just an interested audience, but one that remains passionately engaged.
As we approach the end of 2023, it becomes evident that some of the most exceptional albums, spanning all genres, belong to the realm of black metal. This serves as a testament to the enduring power and influence of the genre, with emerging bands seizing the spotlight and crafting true masterpieces that extend far beyond the boundaries of conventional recognition.
It’s fascinating to witness the evolution of the black metal genre, once considered niche, into a dynamic and diverse force. Bands that were once in obscurity now take the lead, challenging the status quo and creating musical tapestries that rival those of more mainstream acts. These under-the-radar artists have emerged as trailblazers, enriching the black metal landscape with innovation and creativity.
What adds a particular intrigue to the current black metal scene is its openness to diverse influences. The genre has become a melting pot, absorbing elements from other musical realms and, in turn, inspiring artists from various corners of the metal world. This cross-pollination has given rise to a kaleidoscopic array of sounds, showcasing that black metal is not just a genre; it’s a dynamic force shaping the musical landscape.
Black Metal Albums Tier List 2023
In the spirit of discovery and celebration, we will be categorizing the best black metal albums of 2023 in our own way, indicating that the ones featured in this post were the most listened to by me. I have not thoroughly listened to some albums, and I don’t believe it’s fair to evaluate them alongside others that I have paid more attention to.
I arranged the albums in the form of a tier list: the higher the rating, the further to the left within a row.. Let’s dive in the 2023 black metal albums tier list.
Black Metal Albums of 2023 Ranked:
Vertebra Atlantis | A Dialogue with the Eeriest Sublime review:
The truth is that this album passed a bit unnoticed in my ears when I listened to it. Some interesting moments exist, but I feel disconnected from the album due to a lack of dynamism, overshadowing those moments. I believe the album is decent, but considering the concept and other factors, they could have brought more shine to the final result. This is particularly true if the album had focused on the folk aspect, as demonstrated in the album’s namesake song, instead of imposing the harsh vocals.
Night Crowned | Tales review:
Tales is a well-crafted album, strong as a whole and impactful. This album isn’t my style, and that’s why I placed it in this ranking position. I can’t find points to take a break from the constant onslaughts that the album launches, and that hinders my enjoyment. What is undeniable is its ability to twist traditional black metal, adding greater epicness.
Sühnopfer | Nous Sommes d’Hier review:
Here we find ourselves in front of a project that is quite curious and interesting: “baroque” style metal. By the way, I love the album art: the more crude and grungy, the better. Jokes aside, the musical display throughout the entire album, alternating classical scales with the purest black metal elements, is sublime. I feel like I encounter the same issue as with Tales by Night Crowned: too much power. It becomes abrasive at times.
Dødheimsgard | Black Medium Currents review:
I hesitated about including Black Medium Currents in another top that will come soon… But I think this decision is the right one. This group offers us a unique combination of elements and atmospheres, alternating between English and Norwegian. As often, I don’t understand what they say in Norwegian, and with the exaggerated sobs and strange voices, it even amuses me. I felt like dancing with the synthesizer at the end of “Et smelter.” Then there were moments when the landscape changed to a sadder one. In this album, I’m also looking for the best songs because listening to the entire album in one go becomes challenging.
Mephorash | Krystl-Ah review:
What a mix we have here: choirs, male and female voices, unsettling sound effects like the crying of a baby in “Gnosis”… All the ingredients to create a unique atmosphere that I love so much: the kind that takes you away from reality and immerses you in the artist’s creativity. The album becomes lengthy at times, but the epic moments outweigh the less epic ones. I will keep a close eye on Mephorash.
Panopticon | The Rime of Memory review:
I usually like albums like The Rime of Memory: with a clear idea, immersive… They make good use of alternations between the harsh and the quieter moments. The album’s drawback is the length of the songs, coupled with parts lacking dynamism that desperately call for a change, as can be observed in “Winter’s Ghost.” The album improves significantly with the last two songs. If this formula had been followed throughout the rest of the album, The Rime of Memory would be higher in the ranking. Panopticon has maintained its quality in terms of albums, but the bar is set very high in this ranking.
Uada | Crepuscule Natura Review:
Uada’s albums tend to be very consistent among themselves, but they say that what works shouldn’t be changed or tampered with too much. They know this well. The rhythms of Crepuscule Natura differ significantly from the last two albums we’ve evaluated in the ranking and are more akin to Tales, for example. However, in Uada’s case, they manage to meter out the power and energy without losing an ounce. Their characteristic dissonant riffs and intermittent howls, a trademark of the band, make listening to Uada entertaining in any of their albums. Crepuscule Natura doesn’t score higher for not taking a bit more risk with its proposal, although, as I mentioned above, their style continues to work well. Additionally, the last song, “Through the Wax and Through the Wane,” is not the best ending for the album, unnecessarily prolonging the song’s duration and falling into monotony.
Blackbraid | Blackbraid II Review:
We’re talking again about the Indian American metal project, one of the most interesting in the current scene. Every time I listen to it, I like it more. The sections that portray the folk of the Adidonrack Mountains are extremely catchy, with those slow and heavy rhythms, accompanied by poetic lyrics. I almost prefer the acoustic folk parts to the rest. We’ve also discussed Blackbraid here. Blackbraid II is a fantastic piece of work.
Wayfarer | American Gothic Review:
This year, conceptual albums have shone within the Black Metal scene. The way Wayfarer has executed American Gothic is sublime, avoiding typical clichés, which is relatively easy given that the theme revolves around the end of the wild west, with its characteristic tumbleweeds and harmonica sounds. The latter instrument doesn’t make an appearance on the album, but the out-of-tune saloon pianos and banjo-style guitars do, as we can notice in “False Constellation”. American Gothic addresses themes such as the loss of national identity and the lack of purpose, precisely the opposite of what this album presents. A brilliant and original proposal which became one of my favourites recently.
Valdrin | Throne of the Lunar Soul Review:
I’ll make it clear: the skill and mastery of music that Valdrin has demonstrated in Throne of the Lunar Soul are astonishing. Rhythm changes that go unnoticed, a perfectly crafted atmosphere around the medieval era, a meticulously developed narrative, tremendous riffs… But what has truly won me over is how they manage to make me feel somewhat overwhelmed and, suddenly, get me dancing, especially with the ending of “Paladins of Ausadjur” with that incredibly catchy accordion. Spontaneous additions of synthesizer and keyboard make the album highly entertaining and, at the same time, serious, which always earns extra points because what we want is to immerse ourselves in what the musicians are trying to convey. The album is abundant in epicness, and it is perfectly captured in the self titled track.
Which is the best Black Metal album of 2023?
In conclusion, Throne of the Lunar Soul is a true mastpierce and is crowned, closely followed by American Gothic, as the best Black Metal album of 2023. Furthermore, it also secures a spot in my top albums ever.
Final Ranking of the Best of Black Metal 2023:
Here is a summary of all black metal albums we have seen in this post:
- Vertebra Atlantis – A Dialogue with the Eeriest Sublime | 10º
- Night Crowned – Tales | 9º
- Sühnopfer – Nous Sommes d’Hier | 8º
- Dødheimsgard – Black Medium Currents | 7º
- Mephorash – Krystl-Ah | 6º
- Panopticon – The Rime of Memory | 5º
- Uada – Crepuscule Natura | 4º
- Blackbraid – Blackbraid II | 3º
- Wayfarer- American Gothic | 2º
- Valdrin – Throne of the Lunar Soul | 1º