There are those who vehemently state that black metal died. The year they give varies, be it '94, '95, or '96. While some argue that the death of black metal was largely of an ideological sort, others will say that black metal came to a musical demise at this time. I have always doubted this musical demise, feeling that the importance and quality of some early releases was greatly exaggerated out of a sense of nostalgia and elitism while newer releases have been overlooked. I don't really want to discuss ideologies here. I want to look at the quality of albums produced in given years, starting in 1990 or so. Some will argue that ideology largely determines the quality of black metal, which I agree with to an extent, but when I hear high quality metal coming from ideologically empty bands like Velvet Cacoon, it casts doubt upon the necessity of a true ideological foundation. People who especially identify with the ANUS point of view--I'm interested in what you have to say, but I don't want to see the thread denigrate into the types of arguments that usually occur with ANUS people. Now the reason this isn't something I'm just doing on my own time is because my knowledge of black metal is far from complete. I need all of your input in filling in what the most significant black metal releases have been. I'm looking for the releases you would categorize as being "very good" or better. Albums that would score at least 8/10 in most people's minds. If the lists start to get out of hand, I'd trim out the more borderline choices. I'd also include albums that have been important or influential in spite of mixed opinions on the quality (ex; Mayhem's Grand Declaration of War, or Emperor's IX Equilibrium; albums by critical bands that mark large changes). That being said, there's no need to list every Darkthrone album Total Death through The Cult is Alive, or all the experimental Ulver albums. I'm just going to start by posting a few no-brainers and then I'll open the thread so people can start suggesting. Remember that I'm interested in looking at things year by year, so give the year of the albums you think represent the best black metal has to offer. There seems to be enough of a mix of old school and new school black metal fans to get a good balance. 1988 Bathory - Blood Fire Death 1989 1990 Bathory - Hammerheart Master's Hammer - Ritual Root - Zjevení / The Revelation 1991 Beherit - The Oath of Black Blood Root - Hell Symphony Samael - Worship Him 1992 Burzum - s/t Darkthrone - A Blaze in the Northern Sky Immortal - Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism Sabbat - Evoke Samael - Blood Ritual 1993 Beherit - Drawing Down the Moon Burzum - Det Som Engang Var Darkthrone - Under a Funeral Moon Dissection - The Somberlain Immortal - Pure Holocaust Necromantia - Crossing the Fiery Path Rotting Christ - Thy Mighty Contract Satyricon - Dark Medieval Times Varathron - His Majesty at the Swamp 1994 Abigor - Verwüstung / Invoke the Dark Age Bethlehem - Dark Metal Burzum - Hvis Lyset Tar Oss Darkthrone - Transilvanian Hunger Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse Enslaved - Vikingligr Veldi Gorgoroth - Pentagram Graveland - Carpathian Wolves Mayhem - De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas 1995 Darkthrone - Panzerfaust Fullmoon - United Aryan Evil Graveland - Thousand Swords Ildjarn - Ildjarn, Det Frysende Nordariket Immortal - Battles in the North Kvist - For Kunsten Maa Vi Evig Vike Mütiilation - Vampires of Black Imperial Blood Necromantia - Scarlet Evil Witching Black Vlad Tepes/Belketre - March to the Black Holocaust 1996 Blut aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta I - Fathers Of The Icy Age Burzum - Filosofem Gorgoroth - Antichrist Ildjarn - Forest Poetry Ildjarn - Strength and Anger Sacramentum - Far Away From The Sun Sort Vokter - Folkloric Necro Metal Summoning - Dol Guldur 1997 Aeternus - Beyond the Wandering Moon Emperor - Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk Graveland - Following the Voice of Blood Hades - The Dawn of the Dying Sun Moonblood - Blut & Krieg Nagelfar - Hünengrab im Herbst Nokturnal Mortum - Goat Horns 1998 1999 Mutiilation - Remains of a Ruined, Dead, Cursed Soul 2000 2001 Averse Sefira - Battle's Clarion 2002 2003 Drudkh - Forgotten Legends Blut Aus Nord - The Work Which Transforms God 2004 Deathspell Omega - Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice Dark Tribe - In Jeraspunta - Die Rueckkehr Der Tollwuetigen Bestie Drudkh - Autumn Aurora Velvet Cacoon - Genevieve 2005 Deathspell Omega - Kenose 2006 Drudkh - Blood in Our Wells I know that's not many yet. I'll be working on it. Please be selective in your recommendations, otherwise the list will be too large to be useful. And nitpicking over one choice or another too much isn't productive either.