Melodic black metal

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Melodic black metal is a black metal subgenre that became popular in underground circles through bands such as Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon, Dark Fortress, Dissection, Old Man's Child. [1]



Unlike traditional black metal, melodic black metal usually revolves around deep structure and accessibility. A song typically consists of harmonic minor scales, often modulating violently between minor chords by thirds (e.g., F♯m-Am-Cm, etc.) Many of the songs incorporate heavy guitar power chords. The songs usually begin with a melodic introduction, be it clean guitar or keyboards and usually move on to a more aggressive and distorted sound as the piece advances. Unlike typical black metal songs, melodic black metal compositions have, on the most part, very clearly defined bridges. Songs generally go from introduction to verse to a prechorus to chorus to verse to prechorus to chorus and then to a bridge. In a bridge the music can turn quite mellow, unlike black metal. The bridge, however, turns back into the verse or the black metal sound with a very swift and unexpected turn (usually a loud death grunt).[2]

Heavy drumming and highly structured guitar riffs (usually played with what some call reverse, or inverted, power chords and tremolo picking) are the most prominent feature of the genre, entailing melodic structure deep within the composition and sound.

The lyrical themes are mainly based around medieval, ancient, dark themes but somethimes around satanism or anti-religion.

The physical appearance of melodic black metal musicians has remained very close to that of traditional black metal bands. Band members use corpse paint for live performances, spikes, and black clothing. They generally use pseudonyms or stage names and choose to remain unknown in mainstream circles.[3]


Dissection and Sacramentum are considered as one of pioneers of this genre. They have influented on many others notable bands like Dark Fortress and Ancient. Other very influentable band in this genre is Dimmu Borgir. With their firs album For All Tid they have influented on many other new bands that were formed from 1994 onwards. Melodic black metal in early 2000s fall into some kind of oblivion due to style changes od the major influentable bands, and by the 2010s the number of Melodic black metal bands is drastically reduced.

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