Glorious decade for Black Metal, 1997-2007, if you’re open to experimenting and good production. 1997 spawned both raw and downright ear piercing masterpiece Ulver’s ‘Nattens Madrigal’, and symphonic production jewels such as Solefald’s ‘The Linear Scaffold’ but already 5 years had passed since a bunch of pubescent teens took the world of metal by surprise and a few hundreds of releases later, some of the leading labels (Avantgarde, Century Media, Nuclear Blast…) were in a quest to make Black Metal the next big thing in underground music and they thoroughly succeeded by enlisting the best producers and studios. It was hard times for death metal (and nu-metal was just around the corner…) as Black Metal became the next big fad.
Darkthrone and Burzum had produced their magnum opus by now (and arguably the genre’s best ever) in both the unapologetic raw/harsh and folk/atmospheric kinds. It wasn’t my intention but save for Abigor and Dornenreich (Austrian) every band featured in this mix is Norwegian. This would be a dominant characteristic well until around 2007, but it would soon change with the arrival of the French (ok, and US) hordes, and what a change that meant to the current establishment.