DSBM 101: A lesson in “Sad”

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And Euronymous spoke:

“It is cold, I am angry, grrr.”

But some of his followers defected by saying:

“It is cold. I am sad.”

And thus, Depressive Suicidal Black Metal was born.

It started with the band Shining, who sought a different edge; something to make one not stand in rage, but to quake in self loathing. Their debut album Within Deep Dark Chambers, a fairly standard Black Metal album, contained the beginnings of a new genre: Depressive Suicidal Black Metal.

Over the years, DSBM has been a touchy subject among black metal fans, mostly because some people don’t like a theme where people are depressed rather than angry about the whole thing. How would I characterise DSBM? Melancholic riffs, synth, monotonous drum beats, and vocals like a banshee raping a cat. Today, we’ll be having a stroll down “this is bleak” alley, and go over some of my favourites of the DSBM genre. Here are my top 5 DSBM picks.

 

5. Leviathan

Jef Whitehed is a creepy arse motherfucker and his music is raw, filthy, and more aggressive than most DSBM. He’s an angry man and brilliant at creating bleak atmosphere; although if some issues with the law are true, he’s more than a bit unstable. Though Howl Mockery At The Cross is a demo compilation, I feel it contains some of his best works.

 

4. Silencer

We all knew it would be here. This isn’t for the bullshit “KVLT” story, this is because I feel Death Pierce Me genuinely captures a love of death and a tiredness of life here. By the gods of flush, it sounds silly the first time; but the more it grows on you, the more it instills primordial fear. On that I’ll say no more.

 

3. Shining

Shining, mostly responsible for DSBM as we know it, have always turned the melancholy of Black Metal up to 11. Their dark imagery is the sort of thing you’d expect to find by searching “#suicide”. V- Halmstad is perhaps their strongest work, and a lesson in pain.

 

2. Woods of Desolation

It’s pretty, it’s depressing, it’s shiny, and it feels more accessible to your average TROO KVLT than Sunbather (The pink lemonade of Black Metal). Their new album, As The Stars, is powerful and moving. I am a firm believer that lofi production can add a lot to a recording, and I would cite this as an example.

 

1. Xasthur

Overrated? Yes. Good? Absolutely. Here I go for the obvious choice, “Prison of Mirrors” from the wonderful Subliminal Genocide, perhaps one of the most captivating songs of DSBM and wider Black Metal genre. Although some criticise our man Scott for his repetitive riffs, and in some cases his lyrics (which are not trve kvlt enough because there is no hellbeasts!), I feel that this is a deserved spot. He makes music for the sake of making music; it’s absorbing, dark, dismal, and sometimes downright crushing. He lives the isolation he screams about, and seems like he genuinely hates everybody. It would explain much.

 

So now I’ve rambled on, let the toilet tell me how wrong my opinions are!

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  • Lol’d at the beginning of this post. 0/10 flushes. I listen to a lot of Shining and The Tenth Sub-Level of Suicide is one of my favorite DSBM records. Here’s another good one.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_j7AYqn5JI

    • crazytaco_12

      Dude, I have been trying to remember the name of this band for so long, thank you!

    • mouseporn

      goddamn this band is so good

    • The Satan ov Hell

      Nyktalgia was going to be there originally, but I didn’t want to go ahead with 10 bands, lest the article became a yawn fest.

      • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

        anyone ever done this ? I went on youtube and watched one of those hypnotism spirals while listening to some good music, its a real freak out, and i wasn’t smoking any shit either. Fun stuff.

        • The Satan ov Hell

          Yeah I did that once listening to some ambient stuff, freaked me out a little.

  • Paris Hilton

    Check out my new ride, guys! It’s so fucking METAL!!! m/ m/

    • Ann Coulter’s Flaccid Penis

      Canada is decidedly NOT metal.

      • Paris Hilton

        My license plate is a homage to zzzzzz (6 Zs), and nn. With their favorite number. I live in every country.

      • *gets the hell out of the room before @dario_argento:disqus sees this…

        • Paris Hilton

          I would actually get this advanced sticker design solely for the hilarious reaction from metal nerds.

      • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

        you’re breaking my heart here, I guess i can’t talk to you anymore. I’ll tell joe you are making this a site that is not canadian friendly 🙁

    • Gurp

      666trvekvlt

    • mouseporn

      does that sticker say “if youre gonna ride my ass, you might as well pull my hair!”?

      • Paris Hilton

        You bet it does!

    • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

      never figured you for a bon jovi fan 😉 (yes the dreaded wink, seemed appropriate !). Without sambora they are nothing. Interesting factoid for a canadian tie in.
      + 20 points
      Sambora’s replacement is none other than canada’s own PHIL X. he who replaced RIK EMMETT and played on the horrendous 1993 TRIUMPH album Edge of Excess. YUCK !!!!!! And i really like triumph.

  • Tyree

    Prison Of Mirrors is so good! I’ll leave this here.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6BWGxsGZQ4

    • I love this album, Tyree.

    • Howard Dean

      Nortt. What an oft-overlooked monstrosity. Melding that black metal with funeral doom before all the cool kids were doing it. Good call.
      Also: Byaaaah!

    • Xan

      I used to have a Nortt CD. It seems to have vanished. I’m pretty sure it was Galgenfrist.

  • UnamusedMusician

    Shining is one of my favs as well. On the newcomer’s list: Thantifaxath released some pretty dark and depressing sounding shit this year.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    “The pink lemonade of Black Metal”

  • Xan

    There was a pretty decent documentary done about one man black metal bands that included Xasthur and two other dudes I’ve never heard of before. It was one of those documentaries which made me feel uneasy after watching it. I’ll link it for your viewing displeasure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQl6PzXU4cQ

    • Howard Dean

      The part where the Striborg guy is in full regalia and caterwauling in that cave made me cringe a bit, but I did enjoy getting to listen to Jef Whitehead and Scott Conner. Wrest the pro skateboarder and Malefic the cat lover! Hah!

      • Keegan Lavern Still

        Those two guys broke my heart a little bit. From Whitehead’s girlfriend having cancer and committing suicide to Conner alluding to some of the shit that’s happened to him added another perspective to the music for me.

        • Howard Dean

          Indeed. Scott Conner’s life is/was seriously bleak, and you really get the impression that he’s not putting that on. That’s a guy who is very believably an almost complete isolationist. It would be interesting to know what he actually does for money. He alluded to having/losing jobs in the past. I wonder if he lives off of social services, or does random small jobs for people. He’s definitely an interesting dude.
          I think the authenticity under which those two (Whitehead and Conner) appear to live lends credibility to their art. I don’t get the impression that they are faking anything.

        • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

          The pentagram doc. was a real downer too. Liebling was so messed up , its a miracle he is still able to stand up at this point. I was hoping that it would have helped penatagram like anvils documentary helped them. No such luck. It’s probably because the Anvil story was more like a comedy, it comes off as more of a FUBAR rip off.

    • mouseporn

      i love this documentary

    • The Satan ov Hell

      Loved this documentary

  • This is all pretty new to me. I really dug the Woods of Desolation track. And apparently I like pink lemonade.

    • find one person who doesn’t [like pink lemonade]

      • Paris Hilton

        Especially with vodka. (Fuck the haters, I drink delicious drinks that get me wrecked rather than pretending to like straight scotch or some shit).

        • Sponge Of Mystery

          i prefer just pink lemonade. But then again i don’t drink…well i’m only in high school, i’ll give it time

          • W.

            No need to start yet. You have plenty of years to live before you start that downward spiral.

          • Sponge Of Mystery

            i’ve drank before, i find it boring, pot brownies are ma fav so far. Never before has Lady Gaga sounded so amazing in my entire life lol

          • Negrodamus

            Being sober now, I find my downward spiral consisting of listening to raw black metal and noise records. Akitsa for the win! Lol.

          • Keegan Lavern Still

            Save yourself the time, money, and embarrassing late-night slurred confessionals from both dysfunctional friends and strangers. Totally not worth it.

          • Paris Hilton

            I don’t drink nearly as often as I used to, with the exception of X-mas, in which I black out. If you start, start slow. Don’t get sucked into that ‘If you don’t have another drink you’re a pussy” bullshit. That’s all that attitude is, bullshit.

        • NDNOvHell

          One time a buddy of mine got that pink lemonade UV. It tasted like dish soap, srs!! Pink lemonade is good tho.

        • W.

          I love Scotch, but when I was on my honeymoon in Mexico, you better believe I was drinking girly frozen drinks on the beach.

          • Tyree

            I usually stick with beer but I’m a sucker for Bahama Mamas.

          • W.

            I didn’t know you could get Amaretto sours frozen until then.

          • Paris Hilton

            I usually go for beer too, especially with either Clam or Sprite. During the Christmas holidays I go for rum n’ egg nog or cream sodas (Cherry whiskey, banana liqueur, and Sprite. Try it, it is fucking unreal!)

          • W.

            That sounds tasty. You’ll often find me with coffee or egg nog spiked with kahlua during the holidays.

          • Tyree

            White Russians dude.

          • W.

            I love white russians. And black russians. And Colorado bulldogs.

          • Tyree

            I’ve never had a Colorado bulldog. Sounds good though!

          • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

            white russians , now you’re speaking Cimmerian. I drink gallons at christmas usually. Also the classic egg nog and rum. Plus who can forget paul stanley on alive ” i hear that some of you out there like vodka with orange juice” (in his distinctive lisp) I dig the V/OJ too. I once drank 2 bottles of rum on christmas night because my cousins fought and ruined christmas for me.

          • Paris Hilton

            Coffee + Kahlua = my daily morning drink during the holidays (srs)

          • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

            kahlua + urine even tastes good. Don’t ask how i know that ! I’m a little fuzzy on the details myself.

          • Steve Smithwick

            My respect for you was actually pretty damned high already, ex-President that I only know on the internet, but it just skyrocketed another 10-15% through this line.

        • LAMENTATIONS OF THE WOMEN

          that Paul Newman Pink Lemonade with Anejo tequila turns me into Tony Patrony.

        • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

          I once ordered a long island ice tea wearing my full metal vest and studded wristband regalia and no one said shit. If the king drinks it , it ain’t gay anymore ! We should have a TOILETOVHELL patch or sticker. That would be fucking hilarious.

  • W.

    Would Lifelover be included in this list?

  • Negrodamus

    I don’t think Jef Whitehead was convicted!

    • In trying to fact check this piece (journalism lol) I found that many of his charges were dropped but he was still sentenced to 2 years probation. It seemed murky so I left the copy intentionally vague.

      • Negrodamus

        He was accused of a pretty horrendous crime (not to stir up muck though)

        • Gurp

          F’real. Learning about what he allegedly did made listening to his music much more uncomfortable than even Burzum.

      • Pagliacci is Kvlt

        Blake Judd testified in his defense, and if you can’t trust Blake Judd, who can you trust?

        • Negrodamus

          You can’t trust anyone!

      • Keegan Lavern Still

        From what I remember, all of the charges (including bigamy and the sincerely fucked-sounding rape accusation) were dropped. Apparently he was dating a women who had a history of domestic abuse and accusing her boyfriends of fucked-up shit.

        • Negrodamus

          Sexual assault with a tattoo gun was what I heard / read online, yeesh. I read the same thing though too, that she made up a lot of stories. One of his close friends said, look, dude is nuts, but not that kind of nuts.

          • The whole thing seems kinda like a clusterfuck so I feel like it would be wrong for me to speculate about any of it.

    • Between The Buried & Smee

      Do we know if Nattramn actually went to a mental institution?. Its obvious all the stuff about him is bs, but I heard that he made all that shit up as an excuse for him going to a institution.

      • Negrodamus

        … I dunno but going to a mental institution seems like it would be solid cred in the world of black metal. Longer the better!

  • Sponge Of Mystery

    diggin that Shining track a lot

  • NDNOvHell

    I had a brief DSBM phase. Wedard from Germany is probably my favorite.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VhfqAbpIfU

  • Sponge Of Mystery

    so far i’m discovered WAY more good music on this site than i ever could have at MS

    • Negrodamus

      #BYAH

    • Christian Molenaar

      Yeah, back on the other site I probably left a grand total of about 3 comments actually about music. Here (and in the Facebook group0, I constantly dump piles of band names that no one will ever listen to. It’s great!

    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T1l7pe5PFs

      Dark & crazy shit featuring Niklas Kvarforth & ex-Mayhem vocalist Maniac!

      • Sponge Of Mystery

        this article reminded me of how much i love black metal

  • Keegan Lavern Still

    I’d argue that the Eerie Cold is Shining’s strongest album, although Halmstad is a close second. Also, that cover art unsettled my jimmies when I first discovered it along with Besvikelsens Dystra Monotoni.

    • NDNOvHell

      I agree. Hellhammer is a beast on that album.

  • Gurp

    Is Silencer really worth it? I listened to Death Pierce Me once and could not shake the feeling that they recorded a small child throwing a tantrum for the vocal tracks.

    • Christian Molenaar

      Yes! Listen to that album and let the sad wash over you.

  • The Tenth Sub Level of Suicide is a masterpiece. Really looking forward to the new record!

    • Howard Dean

      Agreed. Can’t wait to hear what the next record sounds like. If it’s anything like Sub Level or Howl Mockery, we’re in for a great record. Wrest’s music is usually top notch. Lyrics have definitely never been Wrest’s strong point, though. Some Leviathan/Lurker song titles make me wince (I’m looking at you “He Whom Shadows Move Towards” and “Spectre as Valkerie Is”

      • Ha. I don’t pay much attention to the lyrics in any black metal really. Some of his song titles are gold though: ‘Requiem for a Turd World’, ‘Mouth Orifice Bizarre’, ‘The Idiot Sun’, and the classic ‘Fucking Your Ghost in Chains of Ice’!

  • Mother Shabubu III

    Speaking of BDSM…wait I mean DSBM, whatever happened to Bergraven? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXbMg8F4J1I

  • Howard Dean

    Total non-sequitur, but:
    Seriously, where is bob (lower case b)? Has any one contacted him yet and told him about the ToH?
    Where is that perpetual Axl-hater Bob (upper case)? I can’t believe he hasn’t stopped by yet.
    And where is David Draiman? ToH needs some caps locks and Vengeance Falls.
    Byyyyyaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

    • Christian Molenaar

      Someone exposed bob’s real name and he left, no idea on the other dudes though.

      • Quarter Ounce Harrell

        Who even was lower case bob anyway he seemed like he knew alot of people out there.

  • RuIN?

    The amount of sub-genres and bands that I have heard of on this site thus far is unreal. I’m gonna wear out granny’s basement dial-up minutes getting caught up on all this shit. Woop Woop!!

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENf34jSz4hQ

    The only Shining recognized by UN protocol

  • Further Down the Metal Hole

    I wasn’t even aware the sub-genre existed and Satan knows so many bands he can put together a top 5 list. Shit is bananas!

  • Beunhaas

    I found this on Shinings spotify page.

  • mouseporn

    great post

  • The Satan ov Hell
  • That new Woods of Desolation is tits. Im also enjoying this shithole. Fuck MS.

  • SleepingStars

    Thanks for writing this! I’ve just discovered yet more great music from this site because of this.

    Hail Satan ov Hell!

  • Elizabeth Short

    Bethlehem counts, right? Because those guys are real, real frowny about shit.