DSBM 101: A lesson in “Sad”


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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