10 Greatest Black Metal Albums Of The 21st Century
2. Agalloch – The Mantle (2002)
There seems to be debate as to whether or not the sophomore
album from American maestros Agalloch, The
Mantle, can be considered a “true” black metal experience. However, the
record is one driven by an ominous yet naturalistic aura, heavy and dissonant
guitars, unusual instruments, harsh roars and atypical song structures, so, for
this list, it ticks all the necessary boxes.
Mixing blackened doom with progressive rock and European
folk, The Mantle introduced many
extreme metal traits that were so influential that, in the late 2010s, they’re
now considered common within the subgenre. Such innovations as the
quarter-of-an-hour, Gothic extravaganza “In the Shadow of Our Pale Communion”
and the album’s four full-length instrumental tracks blew black metal’s potential
for post-modern experimentation wide open. Lengthy songs and an emphasis on
sublime atmosphere gave The Mantle an
epic, cinematic atmosphere, influenced by musicians from Death in June to
Godspeed You! Black Emperor, as well as filmmakers like Ingmar Bergman.
As a result, Agalloch’s second album is not only the band’s
best, but also one of the most era-defining black metal albums of this century.
Every extreme metal fan owes it to themselves to explore this juggernaut of