Ambient black metal
|Ambient black metal|
|Stylistic origins||Ambient music, dark ambient, black metal|
|Cultural origins||Mid 1990s, United States, Norway, Sweden, Australia|
|Typical instruments||Synthesizers, field recordings, drums, electric guitar, bass guitar|
Ambient black metal (often referred to as atmospheric black metal) is a fusion genre that came into creation in the mid to late 1990s. Originally pioneered by Varg Vikernes of Burzum in an intent to create a greater emphasis on mood, particularly on the album Filosofem.
Ambient black metal is a fusion genre of either dark ambient or normal ambient music and black metal. Chicago Reader described the genre as combining "ethereal washes of synthesizer with guttural shrieking." It often incorporates ambient based riffs through synthesizers, guitars, and bass, either blast beats or simple minimalist drumming, and faded, often unintelligible shrieked vocals. Artists within the genre often release full length ambient pieces, and are known to partake in split releases. Artists are known to work alone, although a few duos and full bands have appeared.
Although Varg Vikerenes is credited for pioneering the genre, the scene didn't emerge until the late 1990s in America, particularly California and the Pacific Northwest. Notable artists from these areas include Xasthur, Leviathan, Velvet Cacoon, and Wolves in the Throne Room. Later a scene emerged from Europe and Australia, particularly the Nordic countries, these bands include Striborg, Lustre, Lunar Aurora, Darkspace, Paysage d'Hiver and Austere.
Ambient black metal bands are not known for playing live. Although Malefic of Xasthur and Wrest of Leviathan have toured with Sunn O))) neither of them have performed as their normal acts live. Sin Nanna of Striborg has played live a few occasions by himself, and Wolves in the Throne Room often play live as a full band.