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Black Metal Bassists

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by HeavyAxe, Apr 8, 2015.

  1. HeavyAxe


    Jul 16, 2013
    Alberta, Canada
    Hello! I've been wanting to try and connect with some bassists who play black metal for awhile now. I feel the genre is somewhat ignorant to us when compared to our 6 string counterparts. While I don't currently play in a black metal band, I jam on stuff by myself and attempt to write a song or two. I'd really like to hear from guys who are active in the genre. It would be tremendous to learn some new techniques to get a more genuinely black metal sound. Obviously much of black metal basslines are just quarter notes and simple stuff, I'd like to learn about the more serious and technical aspects involved. Maybe not technical, but just the stuff you've learned which has helped you along the way.
    Thanks and I guess I may as well list some of my fave bands!

    Dissection (Blackened death but whatever)
    ...many others

    NOTE* I do realize a thread of the same name exists, though its been inactive for a long while and didn't really deal with actual playing.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015
  2. I'm a big fan of Black Metal myself, but it isn't exactly a bass-friendly genre.

    I've found that the best way to get a good Black Metal tone is to turn all the knobs on your amp to ten. Make sure you've got a good distortion pedal and dime that, too. Unplug your bass. At this point your tone should resemble a room full of half-broken air-conditioners.

    Once the drummer and the guitarist kick in with all of their church-burning glory, your tone will be a nearly inaudible hum beneath the guitarist's (who will have his amp adjusted to sound like a swarm of bees trapped inside a tin can) and the drummer (who will sound as if his kit is made of cardboard boxes). Once your vo-kill-ist screams out a few "Hail Satans" over the top of this unholy feast for the ears, you'll be off and running!
    lucas303, El-Bob and Luke19Boarder like this.
  3. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    The best bass tone I've heard in a black metal (ish) context was on Ulver's debut record, Bergtatt. That said, Bergtatt is very different from most black metal.

    Mayhem's bassist Necrobutcher also has a notable bass tone. Heavy, heavy, heavy distortion on that.

    In both cases you have very clear pick attack. Necrobutcher uses a Les Paul Bass as well as an ESP, and appears to use Ampeg amplifiers. Skoll (Ulver) is probably using a P or J with fresh strings. It's a pretty basic pickstyle tone there; wouldn't be entirely out of place in a punk band, I think.
    lucas303 likes this.
  4. AdamR


    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    Tremolo picking and blast beats. Start working on finger speed or get the pick ready.
  5. anavar


    Oct 10, 2013
    my bass tone can beat up your dad's bass tone.
    Immortals bass player just has a fairly smooth tone. not to gritty, not to gnarly. plenty of low end.

  6. VinnyIuspa


    Nov 12, 2013
    North Jersey
    I actually just played with a black metal band the other day. the guitar parts were basic enough where there was actually quite a bit of room to improvise and add fills. Of course, alot of the time what sounded best was just hitting the root notes at right times. The speed kept it very entertaining too, just want to specify that I use fingers. its not really a genre that lends itself to standout bass playing, but I honestly think that would be really cool to see in a band. Like a black metal band where the bass is kind of leading the band and playing a very integral role in the overall sound. Unfortunately, as much as I love metal, there is this terrible trend in the genre of completely killing the bass and having it to the point where its almost inaudible in the mix. I think there's probably a lot of cool bass parts that we miss out of hearing in black metal and even other kinds of metal.
  7. Seidermann from 1349 is a great bass player. He seems to really understand and appreciate the instrument much beyond black metal. But on several occasions I've heard him stress the importance of subtlety with Black Metal bass. Its a genre thats all about high end. No place for groove. I think at best the kind of "bass guitar" approach of someone like Lemmy is the best way to go. A very hot sound with a great distorted buzz that sits just under the extremely shrill guitars. But theres so much opportunity in that to have a lot of fun and add so much bombast and chaos to the mix.
  8. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    I liked some of the slightly more polished releases that popped up in the late 90s and early 2000s from bands like Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Marduk, Immortal and some weird "pagan folk" black metal like Black Messiah. A lot of the bands that are being called Black Metal today are confusing to me, and manage to sound as bad or worse than their early counterparts from 20 years ago.
    Most of the metal sub-genres get a bad rap when it comes to the bass for a verity of reasons. Black Metal doesn't do its self a lot of favors because of the purposefully poor recordings and crap mixing on the bass, even if the bassists isn't just third-guitaring it up behind the thin, reedy guitars.
    Marduk has had some good bass players, Vortex did pretty good with Dimmu, though his tone got lost a lot, as does Orion's (depending if you consider Behemoth BM or not.)
  9. ReiPsaeg


    Dec 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    I'm pretty sure the most notable thing a black metal bass player ever did was to kill Euronymous.

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